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The number of Filipino families that consider themselves poor have fallen, even though they "lowered their living standards," results of a nationwide survey said.
An estimated 9.5 million Filipino families consider themselves poverty-stricken, the Social Weather Stations (SWS) said on Monday, citing results of a poll undertaken from August 24 to 27 this year.
The number corresponds to an estimated 47 percent of the respondents, lower than the 51 percent--or equivalent to 10.3 million families--reported last May.
This is the first time that self-rated poverty fell below 50 percent since December last year when 45 percent of families surveyed admitted to being poor. The record low is 43% recorded last March 1987 and again in March 2010, the SWS said.
Results of the SWS survey, made exclusive to BusinessWorld, also found that fewer families claimed to be food-poor, which recorded a four-point drop to 35 percent or an estimated 7.2 million families compared to the 39 percent or 7.9 million numbers three months earlier.
The latest food poverty rate is the lowest recorded since March 2010's record low of 31 percent.
Self-rated poverty scores improved in Mindanao (57 percent from 65 percent), Metro Manila (35 percent from 41 percent) and Balance Luzon (38 percent from 43 percent), but increased in the Visayas (63 percent from 57 percent), the BusinessWorld report said.
Meanwhile, self-rated food poverty also improved in Mindanao (45 percent), Balance Luzon (29 percent) and Metro Manila (24 percent), and picked up slightly in the Visayas (47 percent).
The median poverty threshold is at P15,000 in Metro Manila, P10,000 in the Visayas, P8,000 in Balance Luzon and P7,000 in Mindanao.
Meanwhile, the median food poverty thresholds rose to P7,500 in Metro Manila and fell to P4,500 in the Visayas, P4,000 in Balance of Luzon and P3,000 in Mindanao.
The SWS said Filipino families continued to tighten their belts with the self-rated poverty threshold remaining "sluggish despite considerable inflation."
"This indicates that poor families have been lowering their living standards, i.e., belt-tightening," it said.
The latest SWS survey involved utilized face-to-face interviews of 1,200 adults nationwide. Error margins used were ±3% for national and ±6% for area percentages.