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SOCIAL WEATHER REPORT | 44% of Adult Filipinos Say Their Quality of Life Will Improve in the Next 12 Months


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SOCIAL WEATHER REPORT | 44% of Adult Filipinos Say Their Quality of Life Will Improve in the Next 12 Months
By Social Weather Station
  • 44% say it will stay the same, and 7% say it will worsen; 6% did not give an answer
  • Net Personal Optimism a Very high +37, similar to the Very high +39 in December 2023

The national Social Weather Survey of March 21-25, 2024, the most recent quarterly survey finalized by SWS, found 44% of adult Filipinos saying their quality of life will improve (termed by SWS as “Optimists”), 44% saying it will stay the same (“No Change”), and 7% saying it will worsen (“Pessimists”), in the next 12 months. The remaining 6% did not give an answer [Chart 1].

The resulting Net Personal Optimism score is +37 (% Optimists minus % Pessimists), classified by SWS as very high (+30 to +39) [Chart 2, Table 1].

The March 2024 Net Personal Optimism score was similar to the very high +39 in December 2023.

The survey question on the respondents’ prediction of their quality of life change over the next 12 months has been fielded 152 times since April 1984. Out of the 152 surveys, Net Personal Optimism was negative only 11 times, reaching a historic low of -19 in May 2020 amid the Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns. It has since trended back upwards to pre-pandemic levels.

Excellent in Metro Manila and Balance Luzon, Very high in Mindanao, High in the Visayas

The 2-point decline in the national Net Personal Optimism score between December 2023 and March 2024 was due to a decline in Mindanao and slight decreases in Metro Manila and the Visayas, combined with a slight increase in Balance Luzon (or Luzon outside of Metro Manila) [Chart 3, Table 2]

Compared to December 2023, Net Personal Optimism fell from excellent to very high in Mindanao, down by 11 points from +43 to +32.

It stayed excellent in Metro Manila, although down by 5 points from +47 to +42.

It stayed high in the Visayas, although down by 3 points from +27 to +24.

It stayed excellent in Balance Luzon, up by 4 points from +40 to +44.

Excellent among college graduates and junior high school graduates, Very high among elementary graduates, and Fair among non-elementary graduates

Compared to December 2023, Net Personal Optimism rose from very high to excellent among those who either graduated from college or took post-graduate studies, up by 6 points from +38 to +44 [Chart 4, Table 3].

It also stayed excellent among those who finished junior high school, had some vocational schooling, had some senior high school, finished senior high school, completed vocational school, or attended college, hardly moving from +45 to +43.

It stayed very high among those who either finished elementary or had some high school education, although down by 4 points from +36 to +32.

It fell from high to fair among those who either had no formal education or some elementary education, down by 5 points from +24 to +19.

Net Personal Optimism is higher among Gainers than Losers

The March 2024 survey found 30% of adult Filipinos saying their quality-of-life was better than twelve months before (termed by SWS as “Gainers”), 25% saying it got worse (“Losers”), and 45% saying it was the same (“Unchanged”), compared to a year ago (“SOCIAL WEATHER REPORT | Gainers minus Losers stays at +5 from December 2023 to March 2024,” June 14, 2024, www.sws.org.ph).

Net Personal Optimism (% Optimists minus % Pessimists) is higher among Gainers (excellent +68) than among the Unchanged (very high +31) and Losers (fair +11) [Chart 5].

Compared to December 2023, Net Personal Optimism rose by 6 points from +62 among Gainers. However, it fell by 2 points from +33 among the Unchanged and by 12 points from +23 among Losers.

In all surveys from 2019 to 2023, Net Personal Optimism has been higher among Gainers than among Losers and Unchanged.

On the other hand, the scores among the Unchanged have been slightly higher than among the Losers except in May, July, and September 2020, when the gap widened.

Higher Net Personal Optimism among the Self-Rated Not Poor and Borderline than the Poor

The March 2024 survey also found 46% of Filipino families rating themselves as Mahirap or Poor, 30% rating themselves as Borderline (by placing themselves on a horizontal line dividing Poor and Not Poor), and 23% rated themselves as Hindi Mahirap or Not Poor (“SOCIAL WEATHER REPORT | 46% of Filipino families feel Poor, similar to 47% in December 2023; 30% feel Borderline, and 23% feel Not Poor,” April 25, 2024, www.sws.org.ph).

Net Personal Optimism was at excellent levels of +49 among adults who belong to families who consider themselves Not Poor and +43 among those who belong to families who consider themselves Borderline, compared to the high +28 among those who belong to families who consider themselves Poor [Chart 6].

Compared to December 2023, Net Personal Optimism rose slightly from +47 among those from Not Poor families, while it hardly moved from +44 among those from Borderline families. However, it fell by 5 points from +33 among those from Poor families.

SWS classifications

The grade “Excellent” is applied to Net Personal Optimism scores at +40 or more; “Very High” to scores between +30 and +39; “High” to scores between +20 and +29; “Fair” to scores between +10 and +19; “Mediocre” to scores between +1 to +9; “Low” to scores between –9 and net zero; and “Very Low” to scores at –10 and below.

The grade “Fair” is assigned to the range +10 to +19.

The historical distribution of Net Optimism scores by grade is summarized in the table below: 

Net Optimism

Range

Classification

Number of surveys

% of surveys

+40 up

Excellent

20

13

+30 to +39

Very high

26

17

+20 to +29

High

38

25

+10 to +19

Fair

34

22

+ 1 to + 9

Mediocre

21

14

–9 to zero

Low

8

5

–10 down

Very Low

5

3

Total from

Apr 1984 – Mar 2024

152

100%

 

Socio-demographic characteristics of respondents

Applying census weights and correctly rounded, 13% of the respondents are from Metro Manila, 45% from Balance Luzon (or Luzon outside Metro Manila), 19% from the Visayas, and 23% from Mindanao [Table 4].

Fifty-two percent are from urban areas, and 48% are from rural areas.

Male and female respondents have a 1-to-1 ratio and, thus, are alternately sampled.

By age group, 12% are youth (18-24), 16% are intermediate youth (25-34), 22% are middle-aged (35-44), 17% are 45 to 54 years old, and 33% are 55 years old and above.

By education, 12% had at most some elementary education, 25% either finished elementary or had some junior high school education, 28% either finished junior high school or had some vocational schooling, 21% either completed vocational school or attended some college, and 10% either graduated from college or took post-graduate studies.

Survey background

The First Quarter 2024 Social Weather Survey was conducted from March 21-25, 2024, using face-to-face interviews of 1,500 adults (18 years old and above) nationwide: 600 in Balance Luzon (or Luzon outside Metro Manila), and 300 each in Metro Manila, 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, ±4.0% for Balance Luzon, and ±5.7% each for Metro Manila, the Visayas, and Mindanao.

The area estimates were weighted by the Philippine Statistics Authority medium-population projections for 2024 to obtain the national estimates.

The SWS survey questions on expected change in personal quality-of-life in the next 12 months and change in personal quality-of-life from last year ago to the present are directed to the probability respondent. On the other hand, the SWS survey questions on the family’s experience of Hunger and Self-Rated Poverty are directed to household heads. These items are non-commissioned and are included on SWS’s initiative and released as a public service.

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

On Expected Change in Personal Quality-of-life in the next 12 months: “Sa inyong opinyon, ano ang magiging uri ng inyong pamumuhay sa darating na 12 buwan?  Masasabi ba ninyo na ang uri ng inyong pamumuhay ay BUBUTI, KAPAREHO LANG, o SASAMA? [In your opinion, what will be the quality of your life in the coming 12 months?  Would you say that your quality of life WILL BE BETTER, SAME, or WILL BE WORSE?]

On Change in Personal Quality-of-life from a year ago to the present: “Kung ikukumpara ang uri ng inyong kasalukuyang pamumuhay sa nakaraang 12 buwan, masasabi ba ninyo na ang uri ng inyong pamumuhay ay MAS MABUTI KAYSA NOON, KAPAREHO NG DATI, o MAS MASAMA KAYSA NOON? [Comparing your quality of life these days to how it was 12 months ago, would you say that your quality of life is BETTER NOW THAN BEFORE, SAME AS BEFORE, or WORSE NOW THAN BEFORE?]”

On Self-Rated Poverty: “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) (Figure 1)” 

Figure 1. Self-Rated Poverty Showcard

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.


Chart 1

Chart 2

Chart 3

Chart 4

Chart 5

Chart 6

Table 1

Table 2

Table 3

Table 4


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