More Filipinos Became Poorer in 2021, PSA Says


The Philippines' pandemic-driven woes continue, trickling down to our national poverty incidence rate. In the 2021 Full Year Official Poverty Statistics of the Philippines report released by the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) on Monday August 15, the number of poor Filipinos in the country only grew.

“This translates to around 19.99 million Filipinos who lived below the poverty threshold of about P12,030 per month for a family of five,” the PSA said.

The poverty incidence among the population can be defined as "the proportion of the Filipinos whose per capita income cannot sufficiently meet their individual basic food and non-food needs." Our national rate climbed from 16.7 percent in 2018 to what is now 18.1-percent. In 2018, the number of poor Filipinos was at 17.67 million.

The National Capital Region recorded the lowest poverty incidence among the population, with the highest being the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao with a share of 37.2 percent.



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Around 3.5 million families were considered poor in 2021. This is also higher compared to the recorded 840,000 back in 2018. Moreover, 6.55 million Filipinos were food-poor, too, jumping from 5.54 million three years ago. It is estimated that a family of five would need P8,379 for their basic food requirements.

“The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, including income and employment losses, caused the poverty incidence to rise. Restrictions on mobility and low earning capacity of poor households due to limited access to regular and productive jobs made the lives of Filipinos difficult,” said National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Secretary Arsenio Balisacan in a statement.

Despite employment gains the country had after reopening the economy back in June, the Philippines' jobless rate was still at about six percent, which is second-worst in emerging Asia. To put things into perspective, China's jobless rate was at 5.6 percent back in March while Indonesia's was at 5.8 percent in February.

“The unemployment rate in the Philippines remains one of the highest among major Asian economies, though much lower than that of India (7.8 percenty in June),” NEDA added.

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