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Fisherfolks and Farmers Remain to Have the Highest Poverty Incidences Among the Basic Sectors in 2021

Release Date:
Reference Number: 2023-119

This Press Release presents the preliminary estimates of the 2021 poverty statistics for 9 of the 14 basic sectors  identified in Republic Act No. 8425 or the Social Reform and Poverty Alleviation Act. It also includes poverty statistics for individuals residing in rural areas, and self-employed and unpaid family workers, which is used as proxy indicator for workers in the informal sector.

Figure 1. Poverty Incidence Among the Basic Serctors

a Basic sectors are not mutually exclusive which means that there are overlaps in the sectors.  For example, women may also be counted as senior citizens, farmers, etc.

Fisherfolks, farmers, children, and individuals residing in rural areas remained the poorest sectors in terms of poverty incidence in 2021 (Figure 1). These sectors had the highest proportion of individuals belonging to families with income below the official poverty thresholds compared to the other basic sectors. The poverty incidences of these basic sectors in 2021 were as follows:

a) Fisherfolks, 30.6 percent;
b) Farmers, 30.0 percent;
c) Children, 26.4 percent; and
d) Individuals residing in rural areas, 25.7 percent.

These sectors also registered the highest poverty incidences in 2015 and 2018.

Meanwhile, individuals residing in urban areas (11.6%), senior citizens (10.3%), and migrant and formal sector workers (10.2%) had the lowest poverty incidences among the basic sectors in 2021. In 2018, these sectors recorded lower poverty incidences of 9.3 percent, 9.1 percent, and 8.8 percent, respectively.

Comparing 2018 and 2021, significant increases in the poverty incidence were recorded in most of the basic sectors with fisherfolks having the largest increase of  4.4 percentage points. This was followed by children (2.5 percentage points), persons aged 15 years and above with disability (2.5 percentage points), and individuals residing in urban areas (2.3 percentage points).

On the other hand, the only basic sector which indicated improvement from 2018 to 2021 was farmers with a significant reduction in its poverty incidence of -1.6 percentage points.

Figure 2. Magnitude of Poor among the Basic Sectors

In terms of magnitude of poor population, the top three basic sectors with the highest number of poor population in 2021 were the following:

a) Individuals residing in rural areas (13.67 million);
b) Children (10.46 million); and
c) Women (9.99 million).

On the other hand, the top three basic sectors with the least number of poor population in 2021 were as follows:

a) Persons aged 15 years and above with disability (271 thousand);
b) Fisherfolks (348 thousand); and
c) Senior citizens (1.02 million).


1/ Poverty is a characteristic of the family. The total family income is divided by the family size to get the per capita income and this is compared with the poverty threshold to determine if the family is poor or not. Thus, if a family has been classified as poor, then all members of the family will be counted as poor. In other words, a family cannot have poor and non-poor members; either all members are poor or all members are non-poor. To illustrate, if a family has three members, one fisherman, one government employee and one kid. Their total family income will be divided by three and this will be compared to the poverty threshold. If it is below the poverty threshold, the family is considered as poor. Hence, all members are poor.


National Statistician and Civil Registrar General