SWS poll: Nearly half of Filipino families consider themselves poor

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 14) — A national survey on self-rated poverty showed 48% of Filipino families, or around 12 million, rated themselves as 'poor', a six-point decline from the previous 54% recorded in December last year.

The Social Weather Stations, which conducted the survey in November, said a family considers itself as poor, if its budget for home expenses falls below the threshold set for a particular area.

In Metro Manila and Visayas, the threshold is set at a ₱15,000 monthly budget, according to SWS. The threshold is lower in Balance Luzon (or areas in Luzon outside Metro Manila) and in Mindanao at ₱10,000. These also bring the national median threshold to ₱12,000.

The SWS poll also showed the number of families in the country who consider themselves as 'borderline poor' grew by 13 points to 36%.

The percentage of those who rated themselves as 'not poor' also dropped by seven points to 16%. The SWS saw declines in this category in Balance Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.

Of the self-rated poor families, around two million are 'newly poor', the SWS said. This means they rated themselves as non-poor a year or four years ago.

When it comes to food poverty, 31% of families rated themselves as food-poor, while 47% as borderline food-poor. The SWS noted that the percentage of those who don't feel food-poor fell "in all areas" nationwide to 22%.

By SWS standards, a family in Metro Manila or Visayas has to have a monthly food budget of at least ₱8,000 to be out of the 'poor' classification. The food poverty threshold meanwhile is set at ₱7,000 in Balance Luzon and ₱5,000 in Mindanao. These bring the national median threshold for food poverty to ₱7,000.

The survey was conducted through face-to-face interviews of 1,500 adults nationwide, with questions "directed to household heads," according to the SWS.