Hunger hits record high–SWS

Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 05:07:00 12/23/2008

Filed Under: Opinion surveys

MANILA, Philippines—An estimated 4.3 million households experienced involuntary hunger at least once in the past three months as hunger hit a new record-high at 23.7 percent, according to the latest survey by the private polling firm Social Weather Stations.

“The latest hunger record is 11 points above the 10-year average of 12.6 percent,” SWS said in a statement released Monday.

The latest figure has surpassed the previous record-high of 21.5 percent registered in September 2007, it added.

Hunger has been in double-digits for over four years. The hunger average for 2008 is 18.5 percent, higher than the 2007 average of 17.9 percent, SWS noted.

The Fourth Quarter 2008 Social Weather Survey also found that an estimated 3.3 million families (18.5 percent) experienced “moderate hunger” or those who experienced hunger “only once” or “a few times” over the last three months—another record-high and up from 15.2 percent (2.7 million families) in September.

Severe hunger, on the other hand, defined as experiencing hunger “often” or “always,” was at 5.2 percent (940,000 families), up from 3.2 percent (580,000 families) in September. The current rate is two points above the 10-year average severe hunger rate of 3.3 percent, SWS said.

Severe hunger

The survey asked respondents specifically about involuntary hunger, or hunger due to lack of anything to eat.

Across areas, Mindanao now has the highest proportion of households experiencing hunger at 33.7 percent, (1.4 million families) a new record-high for the area. Overall hunger rose by 15 points in the area, from 18.3 percent in September to 33.7 percent in December.

Moderate hunger in Mindanao was at 27.7 percent, up by nearly 12 percentage points from 16 percent in September, while severe hunger in the area was at 6 percent, up by about 4 percentage points from 2.3 percent in September.

Meanwhile, overall hunger rates were at a record-high in Metro Manila (23.3 percent or 570,000 families), Visayas (20.7 percent or 750,000 families) and in Luzon outside Metro Manila (20 percent or 1.6 million families).

Moderate hunger also rose in other areas—by 7 points in the Visayas (from 11.3 percent to 18 percent) and by 3 points in Metro Manila (15 percent to 18.3 percent). On the other hand, it declined by 2 points in the Balance of Luzon (from 16.5 percent to 14 percent).

“In all areas, the latest moderate hunger rates remain higher than their 10-year averages,” SWS said. In Metro Manila, the 10-year average for moderate hunger is 8.5 percent; in the Balance of Luzon, 9.1 percent; in Visayas, 8.9 percent; and in Mindanao, 10.2 percent.

Meanwhile, severe hunger rose by about 3 points in the Balance of Luzon (from 3.5 percent to 6 percent, also a new record-high), and by 2 points in the Visayas (from 0.3 percent to 2.7 percent). However, it declined in Metro Manila by 3 percentage points (from 8 percent to 5 percent). Kate Pedroso, Inquirer Research

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