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SWS: Fewer Pinoy families rate themselves poor, hungry

Fewer Filipinos consider themselves poor and hungry compared to three months ago, according to a new survey by pollster Social Weather Stations. The SWS poll from May 24 to 27 showed 51 percent of respondents or 10.3 million households rated themselves as “mahirap” (poor), and 39 percent or 7.9 million families claimed to be hungry. SWS, which published the results Thursday on its media partner BusinessWorld, said the 51-percent (10.3 million families) household figure for poverty was down four points from 55 percent (11.1 million families) in March. It added the 39-percent (7.9 million families) figure for hunger was six points down from the 45 percent (9.1 million) in the March survey. However, the SWS said that despite the improvements that saw self-rated poverty and food poverty improvements in all areas, the survey showed families continued to tighten their belts. By geography In Mindanao, self-rated poverty dropped seven points to 65 percent, five points to 41 percent in Metro Manila, by four to 57 percent in the Visayas and by two to 43 percent in Balance Luzon (Luzon excluding Metro Manila). A five-point decline to 61 percent was recorded in rural areas, while urban areas saw a two-point increase to 42 percent. Self-rated food poverty dropped by 11 points to 53 percent in Mindanao. It fell in Balance Luzon and Metro Manila, six points to 32 percent and five points to 25 percent respectively. The score was barely changed at 46 percent from 47 percent in the Visayas. Belt-tightening SWS noted continued belt-tightening by Filipino households, saying self-rated poverty thresholds – the monthly budgets poor households need for home expenses so as not to consider themselves poor in general – remained sluggish despite higher inflation. Compared to the previous quarter, the median poverty threshold for poor households rose to P15,000 in Metro Manila and P10,000 in the Visayas and Mindanao but declined to P9,000 in Balance Luzon. Median food-poverty thresholds rose to P7,000 in Metro Manila and P5,000 in Mindanao and the Visayas, but fell to P4,500 in Balance Luzon. The self-rated poverty and self-rated food poverty thresholds as of May 2012 have already been surpassed in the past for all areas, the SWS said. The May 24-27 SWS survey used face-to-face interviews of 1,200 adults nationwide. Sampling error margins of ±3% for national and ±6% for area percentages applied to the survey. — LBG, GMA News