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SOCIAL WEATHER REPORT | 48% of Adult Filipinos Say Their Quality of Life Will Improve in the Next 12 Months


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SOCIAL WEATHER REPORT | 48% of Adult Filipinos Say Their Quality of Life Will Improve in the Next 12 Months
by  Social Weather Stations
  • 40% say it will stay the same, and 6% say it will worsen; 7% did not give an answer
  • Net Personal Optimism of + 42 is Excellent, similar to June 2023

The national Social Weather Survey of September 28-October 1, 2023, the most recent quarterly national survey finalized by SWS, found 48% of adult Filipinos saying their quality of life will improve (termed by SWS as “Optimists”), 40% saying it will stay the same (“No Change”), and 6% saying it will worsen (“Pessimists”), in the next 12 months. The remaining 7% did not give an answer [Chart 1].

The resulting Net Personal Optimism score is +42 (% Optimists minus % Pessimists), classified by SWS as excellent (+40 and up) [Chart 2, Table 1].

The September 2023 Net Personal Optimism score was similar to the excellent +41 in June 2023.

The survey question on the respondents’ prediction of their quality of life change over the next 12 months has been fielded 150 times since April 1984. Out of the 150 surveys, the Net Personal Optimism score 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 Balance Luzon and Mindanao, Very High in Metro Manila and the Visayas

The 1-point increase in the national Net Personal Optimism score between June 2023 and September 2023 was due to increases in Balance Luzon (or Luzon outside of Metro Manila) and Mindanao, combined with decreases in Metro Manila and the Visayas [Chart 3, Table 2].

Compared to June 2023, Net Personal Optimism stayed excellent in Balance Luzon, up by 6 points from +44 to +50.

It rose from very high to excellent in Mindanao, up by 7 points from +36 to +43.

However, it fell from excellent to very high in Metro Manila, down by 11 points from +41 to +30.

It stayed very high in the Visayas, although down by 9 points from +39 to +30.

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

Compared to June 2023, Net Personal Optimism stayed excellent among those who either graduated from college or took post-graduate studies, although down by 4 points from +50 to +46 [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 +47 to +46.

It stayed very high among those who either finished elementary or had some high school education, up by 6 points from +32 to +38.

It rose from high to very high among those who either had no formal education or some elementary education, although barely moving from +29 to +30.

Higher Net Personal Optimism among Gainers than Losers

The September 2023 survey found 28% of adult Filipinos saying their quality of life was better than twelve months before ( “Gainers”), 30% saying it got worse (“Losers”), and 41% saying it was the same (“Unchanged”), compared to a year ago (“SOCIAL WEATHER REPORT | Gainers minus Losers falls to -2 in September from +11 in June,” November 25, 2023, www.sws.org.ph).

Net Personal Optimism (% Optimists minus % Pessimists) is higher among Gainers (excellent +62) than among the Unchanged (excellent +41) and Losers (high +24) [Chart 5].

Compared to June 2023, Net Personal Optimism fell by 3 points from +65 among Gainers. However, it rose by 6 points from +35 among the Unchanged and by 6 points from +18 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. 

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

The September 2023 survey also found 48% of Filipino families rated themselves as Mahirap or Poor, 27% rating themselves as Borderline (by placing themselves on a horizontal line dividing Poor and Not Poor), and 25% rated themselves as Hindi Mahirap or Not Poor. (“SOCIAL WEATHER REPORT | 48% of Filipino families feel Poor, up from 45% in June; 27% feel Borderline, and 25% feel Not Poor,” October 31, 2023, www.sws.org.ph).

Net Personal Optimism was at excellent levels of +46 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 very high +39 among those who belong to families who consider themselves Poor [Chart 6].

Compared to June 2023, Net Personal Optimism fell by 8 points from +54 among those from Not Poor families and by 3 points from +46 among those from Borderline families. However, it rose by 8 points from +31 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: 

Socio-demographic characteristics of respondents

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

Forty-nine percent are from urban areas, and 51% are from rural areas.

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

By age group, 10% are youth (18-24), 17% are intermediate youth (25-34), 20% are middle-aged (35-44), 18% are 45 to 54 years old, and 36% are 55 years old and above.

By education, 11% had at most some elementary education, 28% either finished elementary or had some high school education, 31% either finished junior high school or completed vocational school, 19% attended some college, and 10% either graduated from college or took post-graduate studies.

Survey background

The Third Quarter 2023 Social Weather Survey was conducted from September 28 to October 1, 2023, using face-to-face interviews of 1,200 adults (18 years old and above) nationwide: 300 each in Metro Manila, Balance Luzon (or Luzon outside 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 ±2.8% for national percentages, and ±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 2023 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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