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Third Quarter 2022 Social Weather Survey: 45% of Adult Filipinos Say their Quality of Life Will Improve in the Next 12 Months


  •   9 min reads
Third Quarter 2022 Social Weather Survey: 45% of Adult Filipinos Say their Quality of Life Will Improve in the Next 12 Months
by  Social Weather Stations
  • 39% say it will stay the same, and 4% say it will worsen; 12% did not give an answer
  • Optimists minus Pessimists falls slightly from +42 to +40

The national Social Weather Survey of September 29-October 2, 2022 found 45% of adult Filipinos saying their quality of life will improve (termed by SWS “Optimists”), 39% saying it will stay the same (“No Change”), and 4% saying it will worsen (“Pessimists”), in the next 12 months. The remaining 12% did not give an answer [Chart 1].

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

The October 2022 Net Personal Optimism score is 2 points below the excellent +42 in June 2022, and similar to the very high +39 in April 2022. It is also 2 points below the excellent +42 in December 2021, and 4 points below the pre-pandemic level of excellent +44 in December 2019.

The survey question on the respondents’ prediction of their quality-of-life change over the next 12 months has been fielded 146 times since April 1984. Out of the 146 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 but is still slightly below pre-pandemic levels.

Net Personal Optimism falls in Balance Luzon and Mindanao but rises in the Visayas and Metro Manila

The 2-point decline in the national Net Personal Optimism score between June 2022 to October 2022 was due to the decreases in Balance Luzon (or Luzon outside Metro Manila) and Mindanao, combined with the increases in the Visayas and Metro Manila [Chart 3, Table 2].

Compared to June 2022, Net Personal Optimism stayed excellent in Balance Luzon, although down by 8 points from +50 to +42.

It stayed very high in Mindanao, although down by 5 points from +39 to +34.

However, it rose from high to very high in the Visayas, up by 9 points from +27 to +36.

It stayed excellent in Metro Manila, up by 7 points from +43 to +50.

Net Personal Optimism Excellent among college graduates and junior high school graduates, very high among elementary graduates and non-elementary graduates

Compared to June 2022, Net Personal Optimism stayed excellent among those who either graduated from college or took post-graduate studies, up by 11 points from +46 to +57 [Chart 4, Table 3].

It also stayed excellent among those who either finished junior high school, had some vocational schooling, had some senior high school, finished senior high school, completed vocational school, or attended some college, although down slightly from +46 to +44.

It stayed very high among those who either finished elementary or had some high school education, although down by 6 points from +39 to +33.

It rose from high to very high among those who either had no formal education or some elementary education, up by 2 points from +28 to +30.

Higher Net Personal Optimism among Gainers than Losers

The October 2022 survey found 30% of adult Filipinos saying their quality-of-life was better than twelve months before (termed by SWS as “Gainers”), 29% saying it got worse (“Losers”), and 41% saying it was the same (“Unchanged”), compared to a year ago (“Third Quarter 2022 Social Weather Survey: Gainers minus Losers at Net Zero,” December 3, 2022, www.sws.org.ph).

Net Personal Optimism (% Optimists minus % Pessimists) is higher among Gainers (excellent +59) than among the Unchanged (very high +37) and Losers (high +28) [Chart 5].

Compared to June 2022, Net Personal Optimism fell from +62 among Gainers. It hardly moved from +38 among the Unchanged while it stayed at +28 among Losers.

In all surveys from 2019 to 2022, Net Personal Optimism has been higher among Gainers than among Losers and the 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 falls among Severely Hungry families

The October 2022 survey found that 11.3% of Filipino families, or an estimated 2.9 million, experienced involuntary hunger – being hungry and not having anything to eat – at least once in the past three months (“Third Quarter 2022 Social Weather Survey: Hunger hardly moves from 11.6% to 11.3%,” October 29, 2022, www.sws.org.ph).

Net Personal Optimism was at excellent levels of +41 among adults who belong to families that did not experience hunger in the past three months, +40 among those who belong to families that experienced hunger in general, and +43 (excellent) among those who belong to families who experienced Moderate Hunger, compared to the high +26 those who belong to families who experienced Severe Hunger [Chart 6].

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.

Compared to June 2022, Net Personal Optimism fell slightly from +43 among those from Non-Hungry families.

It fell sharply from +40 among those from Severely Hungry families.

However, it rose from +35 among those from families that experienced hunger in general and +34 among those from Moderately Hungry families.

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

The October 2022 survey also found 49% of Filipino families rating themselves as Mahirap or Poor, 29% rating themselves as Borderline (by placing themselves on a horizontal line dividing Poor and Not Poor), and 21% rating themselves as Hindi Mahirap or Not Poor (“Third Quarter 2022 Social Weather Survey: 49% of Filipino families feel Poor; 29% feel Borderline, 21% feel Not Poor,” October 20, 2022, www.sws.org.ph).

Net Personal Optimism was at excellent levels of +47 among adults who belong to families who consider themselves Not Poor and +44 among those who belong to families who consider themselves Borderline Poor, compared to the very high +35 among those who belong to families who consider themselves Poor [Chart 7].

Compared to June 2022, Net Personal Optimism fell from +53 among those from Not Poor families and +47 among those from Borderline Poor families. It hardly moved from +34 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, 14% 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].

Forty-four percent are from urban areas, and 56% 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), 19% are intermediate youth (25-34), 21% are middle-aged (35-44), 18% are 45 to 54 years old, and 32% are 55 years old and above.

By education, 13% had at most some elementary education, 29% either finished elementary or had some high school education, 30% either finished junior high school or had some vocational schooling, 19% either had some senior high school, finished senior high school, completed vocational school, or attended some college, and 10% either graduated from college or took post-graduate studies.

Survey background

The Third Quarter 2022 Social Weather Survey was conducted from September 29–October 2, 2022, using face-to-face interviews of 1,500 adults (18 years old and above) nationwide: 300 each in Metro Manila, the Visayas, and Mindanao, and 600 in Balance Luzon. 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, the Visayas, and Mindanao, and ±4.0% for Balance Luzon.

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 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 Hunger: “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.

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 and Marvin R. Ipac.

Chart 1

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Chart 3

Chart 4

Chart 5

Chart 6

Chart 7

Table 1

Table 2

Table 3

Table 4


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