Hunger falls to 10.0% of families in September 2021 – SWS

The national Social Weather Survey of September 12-16, 2021, found that 10.0% of family, or an estimated 2.5 million, experienced involuntary hunger – hunger due to lack of to eat – at least once in the past three months.

The September 2021 Hunger rate is 3.6 points below the 13.6% (estimated 3.4 million families) in June 2021. It is 11.1 points below the 2020 annual average of 21.1%, but 0.7 points above the 2019 annual average of 9.3%.

The resulting 13.5% average for the first three quarters of 2021 is less than for last year but has not fully recovered to pre-pandemic levels.

Hunger declines in all areas except in Metro Manila

The experience of hunger is highest in Metro Manila at 14.0% of families, followed by Balance Luzon and Mindanao, both at 10.3%, and the at 6.0%. Hunger has been worst in Metro Manila in 21 out of 95 surveys since July 1998.

The 3.6-point decline in Overall Hunger between June 2021 and September 2021 is due to decreases in all areas except in Metro Manila.

Compared to June 2021, the incidence of Hunger fell by 4.7 points in Balance Luzon, from 15.0% (est. 1.7 million families) to 10.3% (est. 1.2 million families). This is the lowest Hunger rate in this area since the 6.3% in December 2019.

It fell by 4.7 points in Mindanao, from 15.0% (est. 863,000 families) to 10.3% (est. 595,000 families). This is the lowest since the 9.0% in June 2019.

It fell by 2.3 points in the Visayas, from 8.3% (est. 396,000 families) to 6.0% (est. 285,000 families). This is the lowest Hunger rate in this area since the 6.0% in September 2018.

However, it stayed at 14.0% (est. 473,000 families) in Metro Manila from June 2021 to September 2021.

Moderate Hunger 7.9%, Severe Hunger 2.1%

The 10.0% Hunger rate in September 2021 is the sum of 7.9% (est. 2.0 million families) who experienced Moderate Hunger and 2.1% (est. 534,000 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 June 2021, Moderate Hunger was 11.5% (est. 2.9 million families), and Severe Hunger was 2.1% (est. 524,000 families).

In Metro Manila, Moderate Hunger and Severe Hunger are 9.7% and 4.3%, respectively, in September 2021, compared to 9.3% and 4.7% in June 2021.

In Balance Luzon, Moderate Hunger and Severe Hunger are 8.0% and 2.3%, respectively, in September 2021, compared to 13.0% and 2.0% in June 2021. The latest Moderate Hunger rate is the lowest in this area since the 5.0% in December 2019.

In the Visayas, Moderate Hunger and Severe Hunger are 5.0% and 1.0%, respectively, in September 2021, compared to 7.0% and 1.3% in June 2021. The latest Moderate Hunger rate is the lowest in this area since the 3.7% in September 2003, while the latest Severe Hunger rate is the lowest since the 0.3% in December 2019.

In Mindanao, Moderate Hunger and Severe Hunger are 9.0% and 1.3%, respectively, in September 2021, compared to 13.7% and 1.3% in June 2021. The latest Moderate Hunger rate is the lowest in this area since the 7.0% in June 2019.

Hunger declines among both the Poor and the Non-Poor

The September 2021 survey found 45% of families rating themselves as Mahirap or Poor, 34% rating themselves as Borderline Poor (by placing themselves on the horizontal line dividing Poor and Not Poor), and 21% rating themselves as Hindi Mahirap or Not Poor. It also found 30% of families rating themselves as Food-Poor, 44% rating themselves as Borderline Food-Poor (by placing themselves on the horizontal line dividing Food-Poor and Not Food-Poor), and 26% rating themselves Not Food-Poor (“Third Quarter 2021 Social Weather Survey: 45% of families feel Poor; 34% feel Borderline Poor, 21% feel Not Poor,” 27 November 2021, www.sws.org.ph).

From June 2021 to September 2021, the rate of Overall Hunger (i.e., Moderate plus Severe) fell among the Self-Rated Poor, from 15.7% to 14.3%. It also fell among the Non-Poor (Not Poor plus Borderline Poor) over the same period, from 11.7% to 6.5% [Chart 8].

The rate of Overall Hunger also fell among the Self-Rated Food-Poor, from 20.7% in June 2021 to 15.5% in September 2021. It also fell among the Non-Food-Poor (Not Food-Poor plus Borderline Food-Poor) from 10.2% to 7.7%.

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.

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