Hunger stays high at 16.8% of families in May 2021 – SWS

The national Social Weather Survey of April 28-May 2, 2021 found that 16.8% or an estimated 4.2 million families experienced involuntary hunger – hunger due to lack of to eat – at least once in the past three months.

The May 2021 Hunger rate is 0.8 points above the 16.0% (estimated 4.0 families) in November 2020. It is 4.3 points below the 2020 annual average of 21.1% but still double the December 2019 pre- level of 8.8% (est. 2.1 million families).

Hunger is 20.7% in Mindanao, 16.3% in the Visayas, 15.7% in Balance Luzon, and 14.7% in Metro Manila

Mindanao now has the highest incidence of Hunger at 20.7% (est. 1.2 million families), followed by the at 16.3% (est. 776,000 families), Balance Luzon at 15.7% (est. 1.8 million families), and Metro Manila in 14.7% (est. 496,000 families) [Charts 3-7Tables 2-6].

In November 2020, Hunger was at 23.3% (est. 780,000 families) in Metro Manila, 16.0% (est. 909,000 families) in Mindanao, 14.4% (est. 1.6 million families) in Balance Luzon, and 14.3% (est. 674,000 families) in the Visayas.

Moderate Hunger 14.1% and Severe Hunger 2.7%

The 16.8% Hunger rate in May 2021 is the sum of 14.1% (est. 3.6 million families) who experienced Moderate Hunger and 2.7% (est. 674,000 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 November 2020, Moderate Hunger was 12.6% (est. 3.1 million families), and Severe Hunger was 3.4% (est. 838,000 families).

In Metro Manila, Moderate Hunger and Severe Hunger are 12.0% and 2.7%, respectively, in May 2021 compared to 16.7% and 6.7% in November 2020.

Hunger stays high at 16.8% of families in May 2021 –

In Balance Luzon, Moderate Hunger and Severe Hunger are 12.3% and 3.3%, respectively, in May 2021 compared to 11.6% and 2.8% in November 2020.

In the Visayas, Moderate Hunger and Severe Hunger are 14.0% and 2.3%, respectively, in May 2021 compared to 10.0% and 4.3% in November 2020.

In Mindanao, Moderate Hunger and Severe Hunger are 19.0% and 1.7%, respectively, in May 2021 compared to 14.3% and 1.7% in November 2020.

Hunger rises among the Poor

The May 2021 survey found 49% of families rating themselves as Poor, 33% feeling Borderline Poor, and only 17% feeling Not Poor.  It also found 32% of families rating themselves as Food-Poor, 45% feeling Borderline Food-Poor, and 23% feeling Not Food-Poor (“First Quarter 2021 Social Weather Survey: Only 17% of Filipino families feel Not Poor; 49% feel Poor, 33% feel Borderline Poor,” 9 July 2021,

From November 2020 to May 2021, Overall Hunger (i.e., Moderate plus Severe) rose among the Self-Rated Poor, from 21.7% to 23.5%. It hardly changed among the Non-Poor (Not Poor plus Borderline Poor) over the same period, moving from 10.6% to 10.3% [Chart 8].

Overall Hunger also rose among the Self-Rated Food-Poor, up from 28.1% in November 2020 to 32.9% in May 2021. It declined by 1.2 points among the Non-Food-Poor [Not Food-Poor plus Borderline Food-Poor], from 10.5% to 9.3%.

Hunger among the Self-Rated Food-Poor is always higher than Hunger among the Self-Rated Poor at any one point in time.