Hunger falls in Visayas, Balance Luzon, but rises in Metro Manila, Mindanao

THE national Social Weather Survey of September 28-October 1, 2023, found that 9.8% of Filipino families experienced involuntary hunger – being hungry and not having anything to eat – at least once in the past three months.

The September 2023 Hunger figure was lower than the 10.4% in June 2023 and the same as the 9.8% in March 2023 .

As of September 2023, the experience of hunger was highest in Metro Manila at 17.3%, followed by Balance Luzon (or Luzon outside Metro Manila) at 10.3%, the Visayas at 6.7%, and Mindanao at 6.7% of families .

The 0.6-point decline in Overall Hunger between June 2023 and September 2023 was due to declines in the Visayas and Balance Luzon, combined with a rise in Metro Manila and a steady score in Mindanao.

Compared to June 2023, the incidence of hunger fell by 2.6 points in the Visayas, from 9.3% to 6.7%.

It fell by 1.0 points in Balance Luzon, from 11.3% to 10.3%. However, it rose by 1.6 points in Metro Manila, from 15.7% to 17.3%. It hardly changed in Mindanao, moving from 6.3% to 6.7%.

Moderate Hunger 8.4%, Severe Hunger 1.3%

The 9.8% Hunger rate in September 2023 was the sum of 8.4% who experienced Moderate Hunger and 1.3% 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 previous three months.

Compared to June 2023, Moderate Hunger hardly moved from 8.3%, while Severe Hunger fell slightly from 2.1%.

In Metro Manila, Moderate Hunger rose by 1.3 points from 12.0% in June 2023 to 13.3% in September 2023, while Severe Hunger hardly changed from 3.7% to 4.0% .

In Balance Luzon, Moderate Hunger rose by 0.7 points from 8.3% to 9.0%, while Severe Hunger fell by 1.7 points from 3.0% to 1.3% .

In the Visayas, Moderate Hunger fell by 2.6 points from 8.3% to 5.7%, while Severe Hunger stayed at 1.0% .

In Mindanao, Moderate Hunger rose by 0.7 points from 6.0% to 6.%, while Severe Hunger moved from 0.3% to 0%.

Hunger falls among the Self-Rated Poor and Self-Rated Food Poor

The September 2023 survey found 48% of Filipino families rating themselves as Mahirap or Poor, 27% rating themselves as Borderline (by placing themselves on a horizontal line dividing Poor and Not Poor), and 25% rated themselves as Hindi Mahirap or Not Poor (“SOCIAL WEATHER REPORT | 48% of Filipino families feel Poor, up from 45% in June; 27% feel Borderline, and 25% feel Not Poor,” October 31, 2023,

On the other hand, based on the type of food eaten by their families, the September 2023 survey found 34% of families rating themselves as Food-Poor, 35% rating themselves as Food Borderline (by placing themselves on the horizontal line dividing Food-Poor and Not Food-Poor), and 31% rating themselves Not Food-Poor.

The rate of Overall Hunger (i.e., Moderate plus Severe) fell among the Self-Rated Poor, from 10.8% in June 2023 to 7.7% in September 2023, while it barely moved among the Non-Poor (Not Poor plus Borderline Poor) from 10.3% to 10.4% .

The rate of Overall Hunger also fell among the Self-Rated Food-Poor, from 9.4% to 7.0%, while it hardly changed among the Non-Food-Poor (Not Food-Poor plus Borderline Food-Poor) from 10.8% to 11.0% .

Survey background

The Third Quarter 2023 Social Weather Survey was conducted from September 28-October 1, 2023, using face-to-face interviews of 1,200 adults (18 years old and above) nationwide: 300 each in Metro Manila, Balance Luzon (or Luzon outside Metro Manila), the Visayas, and Mindanao. Face-to-face is the standard interviewing method for Social Weather Stations; the only exceptions were early in the pandemic when movement restrictions made face-to-face impossible and mobile phone interviews were conducted. Normal face-to-face field operations resumed in November 2020. The sampling error margins are ±2.8% for national percentages, and ±5.7% each for Metro Manila, Balance Luzon, the Visayas, and Mindanao.

The area estimates were weighted by the Philippine Statistics Authority medium-population projections for 2023 to obtain the national estimates.

The SWS survey questions on the family’s experience of Hunger, Self-Rated Poverty, and Self-Rated Food Poverty are directed to household heads. These items are non-commissioned and are included on SWS’s initiative and released as a public service.