The Social Weather Stations (SWS) said hunger eased during the second quarter of the year, but still above pre-pandemic levels
By Social Weather Stations
The national Social Weather Survey of June 23-26, 2021 found that 13.6% or an estimated 3.4 million families experienced involuntary hunger – hunger due to lack of food to eat – at least once in the past three months.
The June 2021 Hunger rate is 3.2 points below the 16.8% (estimated 4.2 million families) in May 2021. It is 7.5 points below the 2020 annual average of 21.1% but still above the December 2019 pre-pandemic level of 8.8% (est. 2.1 million families) [Charts 1 and 2, Table 1].
Hunger eases in all areas, especially in the Visayas
The 3.2-point decline in Overall Hunger is due to decreases in all areas, especially in the Visayas.
Compared to May 2021, the incidence of Hunger fell by 8.0 points in the Visayas, from 16.3% (est. 776,000 families) to 8.3% (est. 396,000 families). This is the lowest Hunger rate in this area since the 6.0% in September 2018 [Charts 3-7, Tables 2-6].
It fell by 5.7 points in Mindanao, from 20.7% (est. 1.2 million families) to 15.0% (est. 863,000 families).
It fell by 0.7 points in Balance Luzon, from 15.7% (est. 1.8 million families) to 15.0% (est. 1.7 million families).
It also fell by 0.7 points in Metro Manila, from 14.7% (est. 496,000 families) to 14.0% (est. 473,000 families).
Moderate Hunger 11.5% and Severe Hunger 2.1%
The 13.6% Hunger rate in June 2021 is the sum of 11.5% (est. 2.9 million families) who experienced Moderate Hunger and 2.1% (est. 524,000 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 last three months.
In May 2021, Moderate Hunger was 14.1% (est. 3.6 million families), and Severe Hunger was 2.7% (est. 674,000 families).
In Metro Manila, Moderate Hunger and Severe Hunger are 9.3% and 4.7%, respectively, in June 2021 compared to 12.0% and 2.7% in May 2021.
In Balance Luzon, Moderate Hunger and Severe Hunger are 13.0% and 2.0%, respectively, in June 2021 compared to 12.3% and 3.3% in May 2021.
In the Visayas, Moderate Hunger and Severe Hunger are 7.0% and 1.3%, respectively, in June 2021 compared to 14.0% and 2.3% in May 2021. The latest Moderate Hunger rate is the lowest in this area since the 6.7% in September 2019, while the latest Severe Hunger rate is the lowest since the 0.3% in December 2019.
In Mindanao, Moderate Hunger and Severe Hunger are 13.7% and 1.3%, respectively, in June 2021 compared to 19.0% and 1.7% in May 2021.
Hunger declines among the Poor
The June 2021 survey found 48% of families rating themselves as Poor, 23% feeling Not Poor, and 29% feeling Borderline Poor. It also found 32% of families rating themselves as Food-Poor, 29% feeling Not Food-Poor, and 38% feeling Borderline Food-Poor (“Second Quarter 2021 Social Weather Survey: 48% of Filipino families feel Poor; 23% feel Not Poor, 29% feel Borderline Poor,” 25 July 2021, www.sws.org.ph).
From May 2021 to June 2021, the rate of Overall Hunger (i.e., Moderate plus Severe) fell among the Self-Rated Poor, from 23.5% to 15.7%. It remained essentially the same among the Non-Poor (Not Poor plus Borderline Poor) over the same period, at 10.3% in May and 11.7% in June[Chart 8].
The rate of Overall Hunger also fell among the Self-Rated Food-Poor, from 32.9% in May 2021 to 20.7% in June 2021. It hardly changed among the Non-Food-Poor (Not Food-Poor plus Borderline Food-Poor), barely moving from 9.3% to 10.2% [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.
The Second Quarter 2021 Social Weather Survey was conducted from June 23 to 26, 2021, 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. The sampling error margins are ±3% for national percentages and ±6% for Metro Manila, Balance Luzon, the Visayas, and Mindanao.
The area estimates were weighted by the Philippine Statistics Authority medium-population projections for 2021 to obtain the national estimates.
The SWS survey questions on the family’s experience of hunger are directed to household heads. These items are non-commissioned and are included on SWS’s initiative and released as a public service.
The survey question on Hunger is as follows: “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)”].
Those who experienced Hunger were further asked: “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.
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 Asherel Joy D. Zaide.
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