Poverty incidence among Filipinos registered at 24.9%, as of first semester of 2013- PSA

Reference No.: 201404-SS2-09
Release Date: 29 April 2014

The Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) releases its latest report today on the country’s  official poverty statistics for the first semester of 2013.  The PSA report provides the estimates of poverty incidence using, for the first time, income data from the Annual Poverty Indicators Survey (APIS). Previous reports were based on the Family Income and Expenditure Survey (FIES) conducted triennially. 

Poverty incidence among Filipinos1 in the first semester of 2013 was estimated at 24.9 percent based on the 2013 APIS conducted in July 2013.  During the same period in 2012, poverty incidence among Filipinos was recorded at 27.9 percent generated from the 2012 Family Income and Expenditure Survey (FIES).
On the other hand, subsistence incidence among Filipinos, or the proportion of Filipinos whose income is below the food threshold, was estimated at 10.7 percent in the first semester of 2013. This is lower than the 13.4 percent estimate in the first half of 2012.  Subsistence incidence among Filipinos is often referred to as the proportion of Filipinos in extreme or subsistence poverty.
Poverty among Filipino families
PSA also releases statistics on poverty among families – a crucial social indicator that guides policy makers in their efforts to alleviate poverty.
Food threshold is the minimum income required to meet basic food needs and satisfy the nutritional requirements set by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) to ensure that one remains economically and socially productive. It is used to measure extreme or subsistence poverty. Poverty threshold is a similar concept, expanded to include basic non-food needs such as clothing, housing, transportation, health, and education expenses.
During the first semester of 2013, a family of five needed at least PhP5,590 on the average every month to meet the family’s basic food needs and at least PhP8,022 on the average every month to meet both basic food and non-food needs. These amounts represent the monthly food threshold and monthly poverty threshold, respectively. They indicate increases of about 2.4 percent in food threshold and 2.6 percent in poverty threshold from the first semester of 2012 to the first semester of 20132.
The poverty incidence among Filipino families based on the 2013 APIS was estimated at 19.1 percent during the first semester of 2013. This is lower than the first semester estimate of 22.3 percent in 2012, based on the 2012 Family Income and Expenditure Survey (FIES).
The subsistence incidence among Filipino families, or the proportion of Filipino families in extreme poverty, was estimated at 7.7 percent during the first semester of 2013. In the same period in 2012, the proportion of families in extreme poverty was recorded at 10.0 percent.
Income Gap
In addition to the thresholds and incidences, the PSA also releases other poverty-related statistics in the report such as the income gap. The income gap measures the income required by the poor in order to get out of poverty, expressed relative to the poverty threshold.
In the first semester of 2013, on the average, incomes of poor families were short by 27.4 percent of the poverty threshold. This means that a poor family with five members needed a monthly additional income of PhP 2,198 on the average to move out of poverty in the first semester of 2013.
On the release of the 2013 First Semester Poverty Statistics based on the APIS
Official poverty statistics released by the former National Statistical Coordination Board3 (NSCB) has always been based on the income data generated in the FIES, which is 
conducted in two visits by the former National Statistics Office3 (NSO), every three years.  However, recognizing the clamor for more frequent release of official poverty statistics, the PSA, through the recommendation of the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) Director General Arsenio M. Balisacan, used the 2013 APIS as a tool for collecting income information similar to the FIES.  The APIS, which is conducted in July in between FIES years by the former NSO, is a nationwide survey originally designed to provide non-income indicators related to poverty at the national and regional levels. 
The following are some important notes on the 2013 APIS and its corresponding poverty estimates:
  • This is the first time that the 2013 APIS used more detailed questions on income by adopting the income module of the FIES, with some modifications in the section containing the list of wage and salary workers in the family;
  • Similar to the FIES, the 2013 APIS is a rider to the July Labor Force Survey; hence, it has the same reference period with the first visit of the FIES covering January to June of the year;
  • To allow the generation of first semester poverty estimates at the national level, the 2013 APIS covered one replicate4 of the Master Sample or approximately one-fourth of the sample households of the FIES or 10,864 responding households in the 2013 APIS as compared with the four replicates or 42,618 and 40,954 samples in the 2012 and 2009 FIES, respectively. Hence, the 2013 first semester poverty estimates released by the PSA are available at the national level only; and
  • The 2013 APIS questionnaire is composed of 32 pages (6 pages on expenditure and 19 pages on income) while the 2012 FIES questionnaire has 78 pages (47 pages for expenditure and 24 pages on income).  Expenditure items come before the income questions.
National Statistician
1 Poverty incidence among Filipinos is the proportion of people below the poverty line to the total population.
2 Consumer Price Index (CPI) for Food increased by 2.57% between first semesters of 2012 and 2013.
3 Now part of the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA)
4 The Master Sample (MS) refers to a sample from which subsamples can be selected to serve the needs of more than one survey or survey rounds.  The full MS has been designed as a combination of four replicates, with each replicate being a national sample design.  Smaller surveys can thus be confined to one, two or three of the replicate samples as desired. – The Development of the 2003 Master Sample for Philippine Households by M. Barcenas

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