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‘Record-low’: SWS survey shows poverty rate hits record low 42%

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Some 9.4 million Filipinos considered themselves poor in the third quarter of 2016, a new survey conducted Sept. 24 to 27 by Social Weather Stations showed.

The SWS said this translates to 42 percent families considering themselves poor, breaking the previous record of 43 percent in March 2010 and March 1987.

On the other hand, 6.7 million or 30 percent of families consider themselves food-poor, with the 30-percent rate lower than the 31 percent (6.9 million) in April and June.

It said this could be a good start for the Duterte administration’s efforts to bring down the poverty rate to 16 to 17 percent by mid-2022, from 26.3 percent as of the first half of 2015.

According to the SWS, self-rated poverty had been steady or declining for eight consecutive quarters from 52 percent in December 2014 to 51 percent in March 2015 and June 2015.

Self-rated poverty fell further to 50 percent in September 2015 and December 2015, 46 percent in April 2016, 45 percent in June 2016 and 42 percent in September 2016.

Meanwhile, self-rated food poverty was steady or declining from 35 percent in September 2015, to 33 percent in December 2015, 31 percent in April 2016 and June 2016, and 30 percent in September 2016.

Meanwhile, the survey showed the median self-rated poverty threshold, the lowest monthly budget for home expenses needed by the poorer half of poor households not to consider themselves as such, steadied from June at P15,000 in Balance Luzon.

It steadied at P10,000 each in Visayas and in Mindanao, and fell to P16,000 in Metro Manila from P20,000 in June.

SWS noted the self-rated poverty thresholds in Balance Luzon and Mindanao are the highest levels ever reached in those areas.

The results were posted Thursday on SWS’ media partner BusinessWorld.

The survey used face-to-face interviews with 1,200 adults nationwide.

It had sampling error margins of ±3 points for national percentages and ±6 points each for Metro Manila, Balance Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.