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Social Weather Report | Hunger Rises from 9.8% in March 2023 to 10.4% in June 2023


  •   7 min reads
Social Weather Report | Hunger Rises from 9.8% in March 2023 to 10.4% in June 2023
By Social Weather Stations
  • Moderate Hunger 8.3%, Severe Hunger 2.1%
  • Hunger rises among the Self-Rated Non-Poor, but falls among the Self-Rated Poor

The national Social Weather Survey of June 28-July 1, 2023, found that 10.4% of Filipino families experienced involuntary hunger – being hungry and not having anything to eat – at least once in the past three months.

The June 2023 Hunger figure was higher than the 9.8% in March 2023. However, it was lower than the 11.8% in December 2022 [Charts 1 and 2, Table 1].

Hunger rises in Metro Manila and Balance Luzon, but falls in Mindanao

As of June 2023, the experience of hunger was highest in Metro Manila at 15.7%, followed by Balance Luzon (or Luzon outside Metro Manila) at 11.3%, the Visayas at 9.3%, and Mindanao at 6.3% of families [Chart 3, Table 2].

The 0.6-point rise in Overall Hunger between March 2023 and June 2023 was due to increases in Metro Manila and Balance Luzon, combined with a steady percentage in the Visayas and a sharp decline in Mindanao.

Compared to March 2023, the incidence of hunger rose by 5.0 points in Metro Manila, from 10.7% to 15.7%.

It rose by 2.6 points in Balance Luzon, from 8.7% to 11.3%.

However, it hardly changed in the Visayas, moving from 9.7% and 9.3%.

It fell by 5.4 points in Mindanao, from 11.7% to 6.3%.

Moderate Hunger 8.3%, Severe Hunger 2.1%

The 10.4% Hunger rate in June 2023 was the sum of 8.3% who experienced Moderate Hunger and 2.1% 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.

Compared to March 2023, Moderate Hunger hardly moved from 8.6%, while Severe Hunger rose slightly from 1.2%.

In Metro Manila, Moderate Hunger rose by 2.3 points from 9.7% in March 2023 to 12.0% in June 2023, while Severe Hunger rose by 2.7 points from 1.0% to 3.7% [Chart 4, Table 3].

In Balance Luzon, Moderate Hunger rose by 0.6 points from 7.7% to 8.3%, while Severe Hunger rose by 2.0 points from 1.0% to 3.0% [Chart 5, Table 4].

In the Visayas, Moderate Hunger fell by 0.7 points from 9.0% to 8.3%, while Severe Hunger hardly moved from 0.7% to 1.0% [Chart 6, Table 5].

In Mindanao, Moderate Hunger rose by 3.3 points from 9.3% to 6.0%, while Severe Hunger fell by 2.0 points from 2.3% to 0.3% [Chart 7, Table 6].

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

The June 2023 survey found 45% of Filipino families rating themselves as Mahirap or Poor, 33% rating themselves as Borderline (by placing themselves on a horizontal line dividing Poor and Not Poor), and 22% rated themselves as Hindi Mahirap or Not Poor (“SOCIAL WEATHER REPORT | 45% of Filipino families feel Poor, down from 51% in March; 33% feel Borderline, and 22% feel Not Poor,” July 23, 2023, www.sws.org.ph).

On the other hand, based on the quality of food eaten by their families, the June 2023 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 29% rating themselves Not Food-Poor.

The rate of Overall Hunger (i.e., Moderate plus Severe) rose sharply among the Non-Poor (Not Poor plus Borderline Poor) from 3.9% in March 2023 to 10.3% in June 2023. However, it fell among the Self-Rated Poor, from 15.4% to 10.8% [Chart 8].

The rate of Overall Hunger also rose among the Non-Food-Poor (Not Food-Poor plus Borderline Food-Poor) from 4.3% in March 2023 to 10.8% in June 2023. However, it fell significantly among the Self-Rated Food-Poor, from 18.5% to 9.4% [Chart 9].

Survey background

The Second Quarter 2023 Social Weather Survey was conducted from June 28-July 1, 2023, using face-to-face interviews of 1,500 adults (18 years old and above) nationwide: 600 in Balance Luzon, 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% in 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 2023 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.

To arrive at the estimated numbers of Self-Rated Poor and Self-Rated Food-Poor families, the percentage of respondent households rating themselves as poor was applied to the Philippine Statistics Authority medium-population projections for 2023.

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

Chart 7

Chart 8

Chart 9

Table 1

Table 2

Table 3

Table 4

Table 5

Table 6



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