Nearly half of Pinoys still consider themselves poor — SWS

Nearly half of Filipinos still consider themselves poor while a third rate themselves as borderline, results of a nationwide survey conducted by the Social Weather Stations (SWS) in early December 2023 showed.

Asked where Filipinos would rate their family, 47% of the respondents in December said they were poor, reflecting an estimated 13.0 million self-rated poor families. This is slightly lower than the 48% or 13.2 million families in September, and down from 51% in December 2022.

The slight decline was attributed to the decrease in Mindanao where self-rated poverty decreased to 61% from 71% in September, but this was partly offset by the increase in balance Luzon to 39% from 35%.

Self-rated poverty in Metro Manila slightly dropped to 37% from 38%, and in the Visayas region to 58% from 59%.

Out of the 13-million self-rated poor families, 2.2 million said they were “newly poor” or they were not poor in the past four years, while 1.6 million said they were “usually poor,” and 9.2 million were “always poor.”

This brought the annual average of self-rated poor families to 48% in 2023, unchanged from the previous year and three percentage points higher than the pre-pandemic average of 45% recorded in 2019.

The same survey showed that 33% of the respondents rated themselves on the borderline dividing poor and not poor, up from the 27% recorded in the previous survey.

Most of the regions saw an increase in the percentage of Filipino families who rated themselves borderline — balance Luzon to 34% from 25%, Mindanao to 32% from 25%, and the Visayas to 35% from 32%. Metro Manila remained at 29%.

Meanwhile, 20% of the respondents considered themselves as not poor, reflecting a decline from the 25% recorded in September 2023 mainly due to the decline in balance Luzon to 27% from 40%.

The percentage of respondents who rated themselves as not poor increased in Metro Manila to 35% from 33%, in Mindanao to 6% from 4%, and declined in the Visayas to 7% from 8%.


The same survey found that 32% of the respondents considered themselves food-poor based on the type of food eaten by their families, down from 34% the previous quarter. Meanwhile, 41% rated themselves as food borderline, and 26% said they were not food-poor.

The annual average of food-poor families increased to 35% in 2023, equivalent to an estimated 8.9 million families, and higher than the 33% in the previous year.

Broken down geographically, two areas in the country saw a decrease in the percentage of Filipinos who rated themselves food-poor — Mindanao to 43% from 51%, and Metro Manila to 24% from 29%.

This increased, however, in balance Luzon to 27% from 24%, and saw a slight decline in the Visayas to 38% from 39%.

The latest poll was conducted using face-to-face interviews of 1,200 adults from December 8 to 11, 2023 — 300 each in Metro Manila, balance Luzon, the Visayas, and Mindanao. The sampling error margins are ±2.8% for national percentages, and ±5.7% each for Metro Manila, balance Luzon, the Visayas, and Mindanao. (GMA Integrated News)