President Benigno S. Aquino III delivers his speech during the inauguration of CEMEX Philippines at the Cement Mills-3 area of the APO Cement Plant in Barangay Tina-an, City of Naga, Cebu on Friday (May 01). The expansion project had for its theme: “Building a Better Future.” (MNS photo)

President Benigno S. Aquino III delivers his speech during the inauguration of CEMEX Philippines at the Cement Mills-3 area of the APO Cement Plant in Barangay Tina-an, City of Naga, Cebu on Friday (May 01). The expansion project had for its theme: “Building a Better Future.” (MNS photo)

MANILA, May 5 (Mabuhay) — Some 11.4 million families, or 51 percent of respondents, rated themselves poor in the first quarter of 2015, according to a new survey taken by pollster Social Weather Stations.

According to the SWS, the the first quarter’s 51 percent was “unchanged” from the 52 percent that rated themselves poor in the fourth quarter of 2014.

Also, the 51 percent was just three points below the 54-percent average for the four quarters of 2014. The 2014 self-rated poverty average was the worst during the Aquino administration, matching the average in 2006.

Meanwhile, there was a 12-point decline in self-rated poverty in Metro Manila, from 43 to 31 percent. The 31-percent figure is the lowest since June 2004.

But in the Visayas, self-rated poverty rose five points to 70 percent from 65 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014.

There was also a two-point increase in Mindanao to 62 percent from 60 percent.

In Balance Luzon, self-rated poverty slipped to 44 percent from 45 percent in December.

Food poverty, food-poverty thresholds

The SWS poll found a slight improvement among those who rated themselves food-poor, with a five-point decrease to 36 percent (about 7.9 million families) in the first quarter of 2015 from the previous quarter’s 41 percent (about 9.1 million families).

Along geographic areas, first quarter self-rated food poverty improved by:

nine points in Balance Luzon to a record-low 28 percent,
four points in Metro Manila to 20 percent, the lowest since 19 percent in March 2001, and
six points in the Visayas to 45 percent, the lowest since the 44 percent the second quarter of 2013.

The food poverty in Mindanao has been steady at 52 percent since the third quarter of 2014.

Also, the poll found that the median self-rated poverty threshold, or the lowest monthly home expense budget needed by the poorer half of poor households not to consider themselves as such, was at P15,000 in Metro Manila from P20,000 the previous quarter.

It was also P15,000 in Balance Luzon from P8,000; P10,000 in the Visayas from P12,000; and unchanged in Mindanao.

Median food poverty threshold, or the lowest monthly food budget needed by the poorer half of “food-poor” families not to consider themselves as such, was:

P9,000 in Metro Manila,
P6,000 in Balance Luzon,
P4,750 in the Visayas, and
P5,000 in Mindanao.

The SWS pointed out that these amounts were at record-high levels, except for the Visayas.

The SWS was taken from March 20 to 23 among 1,200 adults nationwide. Sampling error margins of ±3 points for national percentages and ±6 points each for Metro Manila, Balance Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao applied to the survey.

The poll results were posted on the BusinessWorld website. (MNS)