, February 08, 2023

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3 Million Filipinos Experience ‘Involuntary Hunger’ in Last Quarter of 2022


  •   7 min reads
3 Million Filipinos Experience ‘Involuntary Hunger’ in Last Quarter of 2022
by  Social Weather Stations
  • Moderate Hunger 9.5%, Severe Hunger 2.3%

The national Social Weather Survey of December 10-14, 2022, found that 11.8% of Filipino families, or an estimated 3.0 million, experienced involuntary hunger – being hungry and not having anything to eat – at least once in the past three months.

The December 2022 Hunger figure is slightly above the 11.3% (estimated 2.89 million families) in October 2022 and 11.6% (estimated 2.95 million families) in June 2022. However, it is slightly below the 12.2% (estimated 3.1 million families) in April 2022 [Charts 1 and 2, Table 1].

Hunger rises in the Visayas and Balance Luzon but falls in Metro Manila and Mindanao

The experience of hunger is highest in Mindanao at 12.7% of families, followed by the Visayas at 12.0%, Metro Manila at 11.7%, and Balance Luzon (or Luzon outside Metro Manila) at 11.3%. It has been highest in Mindanao in 38 out of 100 surveys since July 1998 [Chart 3, Table 2].

The 0.5-point increase in Overall Hunger between October 2022 and December 2022 was due to increases in the Visayas and Balance Luzon, combined with decreases in Metro Manila and Mindanao.

Compared to October 2022, the incidence of hunger rose by 5.0 points in the Visayas, from 7.0% (est. 336,000 families) to 12.0% (est. 576,000 families).

It rose by 1.7 points in Balance Luzon, from 9.6% (est. 1.1 million families) to 11.3% (est. 1.3 million families).

However, it fell by 4.6 points in Metro Manila, from 16.3% (est. 558,000 families) to 11.7% (est. 399,000 families).

It fell by 2.6 points in Mindanao, from 15.3% (est. 893,000 families) to 12.7% (est. 738,000 families).

Moderate Hunger 9.5%, Severe Hunger 2.3%

The 11.8% Hunger rate in December 2022 is the sum of 9.5% (est. 2.4 million families) who experienced Moderate Hunger and 2.3% (est. 599,000 families) who experienced Severe Hunger.

Moderate Hunger refers to those who experienced hunger “Only Once” or “A Few Times” in the last three months. Meanwhile, Severe Hunger refers to those who experienced it “Often” or “Always” in the previous three months.

In October 2022, Moderate Hunger was 9.1% (est. 2.3 million families), and Severe Hunger was 2.2% (est. 573,000 families).

In Metro Manila, Moderate Hunger fell by 1.4 points from 10.7% in October 2022 to 9.3% in December 2022, while Severe Hunger fell by 3.4 points from 5.7% to 2.3% [Chart 4, Table 3].

In Balance Luzon, Moderate Hunger rose by 1.2 points from 8.1% in October 2022 to 9.3% in December 2022, while Severe Hunger rose by 0.5 points from 1.5% to 2.0% [Chart 5, Table 4].

In the Visayas, Moderate Hunger rose by 3.7 points from 6.3% in October 2022 to 10.0% in December 2022, while Severe Hunger rose by 1.3 points from 0.7% to 2.0% [Chart 6, Table 5].

In Mindanao, Moderate Hunger fell by 3.0 points from 12.3% in October 2022 to 9.3% in December 2022. However, Severe Hunger rose slightly by 0.3 points from 3.0% to 3.3% [Chart 7, Table 6].

Hunger rises among the Self-Rated Non-Poor, but falls slightly among the Self-Rated Poor

The December 2022 survey found 51% of Filipino families rated themselves as Mahirap or Poor, 31% rating themselves as Borderline (by placing themselves on a horizontal line dividing Poor and Not Poor), and 19% rated themselves as Hindi Mahirap or Not Poor (“Fourth Quarter 2022 Social Weather Survey: 51% of Filipino families feel Poor; 31% feel Borderline, 19% feel Not Poor,” January 12, 2023, www.sws.org.ph).

On the other hand, based on the type of food eaten by their families, the December 2022 survey found 34% of families rating themselves as Food-Poor, 38% rating themselves as Food Borderline (by placing themselves on the horizontal line dividing Food-Poor and Not Food-Poor), and 28% rating themselves Not Food-Poor.

The rate of Overall Hunger (i.e., Moderate plus Severe) rose among the Non-Poor (Not Poor plus Borderline Poor) from 6.7% in October 2022 to 7.8% in December 2022. However, it fell slightly among the Self-Rated Poor, from 16.0% to 15.7% [Chart 8].

At the same time, the rate of Overall Hunger rose sharply among the Non-Food-Poor (Not Food-Poor plus Borderline Food-Poor), from 7.4% in October 2022 to 11.8% in December 2022. However, it fell slightly among the Self-Rated Food-Poor, from 18.9% to 17.7% [Chart 9].

Rates of hunger among the Self-Rated Food-Poor are always higher than rates of hunger among the Self-Rated Poor at any point in time.

Survey background

The Fourth Quarter 2022 Social Weather Survey was conducted from December 10-14, 2022, using face-to-face interviews of 1,200 adults (18 years old and above) nationwide: 300 each in Metro Manila, Balance Luzon, the Visayas, and Mindanao. Face-to-face is the standard interviewing method for Social Weather Stations; the only exceptions were early in the pandemic when movement restrictions made face-to-face impossible and mobile phone interviews were conducted. Normal face-to-face field operations resumed in November 2020. The sampling error margins are ±2.5% for national percentages, ±5.7% each for Metro Manila, Balance Luzon, the Visayas, and Mindanao.

The area estimates were weighted by the Philippine Statistics Authority medium-population projections for 2022 to obtain the national estimates.

The SWS survey questions on the family’s experience of Hunger, Self-Rated Poverty, and Self-Rated Food Poverty are directed to household heads. These items are non-commissioned and are included on SWS’s initiative and released as a public service.

Hunger. The exact phrasing of the survey questions (the source language is Filipino; English translation included) on Hunger was:

Nitong nakaraang tatlong buwan, nangyari po ba kahit minsan na ang inyong pamilya ay nakaranas ng gutom at wala kayong makain? (OO, HINDI) [In the last three months, did it happen even once that your family experienced hunger and not have anything to eat? (YES, NO)].

IF EXPERIENCED HUNGER: Nangyari po ba ‘yan ng MINSAN LAMANG, MGA ILANG BESES, MADALAS, o PALAGI? [Did it happen ONLY ONCE, A FEW TIMES, OFTEN, or ALWAYS?]”

Moderate Hunger refers to those who experienced hunger “Only Once” or “A Few Times” in the last three months, while Severe Hunger refers to those who experienced it “Often” or “Always” in the last three months.

Self-Rated Poverty and Self-Rated Food Poverty. In 2020, Self-Rated Poverty and Self-Rated Food Poverty were fielded only once because only in November 2020 was SWS able to resume face-to-face interviewing since the Covid-19 pandemic struck. Face-to-face interviewing is necessary for these questions since they require showing the respondents a card with the words MAHIRAP and HINDI MAHIRAP, separated by a LINE, written on it [Figure 1]. The three SWS Mobile Phone Surveys earlier that year implemented purely oral survey questions.

The exact phrasing of the survey questions for Self-Rated Poverty and Self-Rated Food Poverty was:

Saan po ninyo ilalagay ang inyong pamilya sa kard na ito? [Where would you place your family in this card?] (SHOW CARD - DO NOT READ)

Tungkol naman sa klase ng pagkain ng pamilya ninyo, saan po ninyo ilalagay ang inyong pamilya sa kard na ito? [Based on the type of food eaten by your family, where would you place your family on this card?] (SHOW CARD - DO NOT READ)”

Figure 1

Half of the respondents are shown a card with the choices HINDI MAHIRAP (Not poor) and MAHIRAP (Poor), separated by a horizontal line (recorded as ‘Borderline Poor’), while the other half are shown a card containing the reverse order (negative showcard), to lessen response bias.

SWS employs its own staff for questionnaire design, sampling, fieldwork, data processing, and analysis, and does not outsource any of its survey operations. This report was prepared by Leo S. Laroza and Marvin R. Ipac.


Chart 1

Chart 2

Chart 3

Chart 4

Chart 5

Chart 6

Chart 7

Chart 8

Chart 9

Table 1

Table 2

Table 3

Table 4

Table 5

Table 6


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