Record-high 43% of Filipinos expect their lives to worsen over next year — survey

Franco Luna - Philstar.com
Record-high 43% of Filipinos expect their lives to worsen over next year â survey
File photo shows the Ortigas Business district dwarfing a slum area in Pasig Floodway on May 25, 2020.
The STAR / Michael Varcas

MANILA, Philippines — Despite earlier administration claims that the country is winning the war against the coronavirus pandemic, new survey data found that a record-high 43% of Filipinos anticipate that their lives will worsen in the next 12 months. 

According to a Social Weather Stations mobile survey released Tuesday, only 24% of Filipinos expect their lives to get better, while another 24% expects things to stay the same over the next 12-month period. 

Coined "optimists" and "pessimists" respectively, the previous record of Filipinos expecting worse life circumstances was 34% in March 2005—the same year as the Camp Bagong Diwa Siege, Hello Garci Scandal, and Valentine's Day bombings—while the 24% "optimists" in May 2020 is but a small improvement over the record-low 20% in both October 2000 and March 2005.

As it stands, only 39% of Filipinos felt that their lives got better towards the end of 2019, a separate SWS survey found. 

"The May 2020 Net Optimism score of—18 (Optimists minus Pessimists, correctly rounded) is the worst in survey history, breaking the previous record—13 in October 2000 and March 2005. The score plummeted from +44 in December 2019," SWS said in its report.

The poll was held from May 4 to 10 when Metro Manila and other high-risk areas were under enhanced community quarantine. The survey was conducted using mobile phone and computer-assisted telephone interviewing of 4,010 Filipinos aged 15 years old and above. Sampling error margin is at ±2% for national percentages, ±6% for Metro Manila, ±2 for Balance Luzon, ±3% Visayas, and ±3% in Mindanao.

Outlook related to education and work opportunities 

The SWS survey also found the following:

  • Net optimism was lower among those with less education
  • Net optimism lower among those whose pay was cut and those who lost their jobs
  • Net optimism in the Visayas and Mindanao regions was also at a record-low

Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority found that 52.7% of Small and medium-sized enterprises, which make up the vast majority of registered businesses in the country, were forced to close up shop due to the coronavirus pandemic.

PSA also recorded that 7.5 million Filipinos were left jobless and another 6.4 million underemployed.

Almost a week before the survey results came out, a 19-year-old junior high school student died by suicide in Albay, reportedly over anxiety on where to find the money to pay for his internet connection for school ahead of the Department of Education's "blended learning" program. 

READ: Peasant group slams DepEd blended learning amid reports of suicide among rural youth

The education department has been careful to point out that a majority of respondents in an online survey said they were capable of accessing the internet.

Filipinos already feel their lives got worse

The new findings are consistent with an earlier survey that found 83% of Filipinos saying they felt their lives got worse off in the past 12 months, marking what SWS called "the worst trend in survey history."

Another survey also found that most Filipinos—87% of respondents—were generally more afraid of getting and transmitting COVID-19 compared to any other pathogen in the past. SWS also recently found that most Filipinos had to live on government aid, spending their savings, or taking out loans because of the work suspensions in quarantined areas.

RELATED: Palace on quality of life survey: All of us are having a hard time | Coronavirus response depletes government cash

As it stands, the government response to the global pandemic has for the most part seen stories of delayed action, double standards in law enforcement, and incursions on dissent and free speech as some of the country’s most vulnerable strata continue to lag behind, dispirited sans government support.

Despite this, the Duterte administration's satisfaction rating rose to 'excellent' in a March 2020 survey also by SWS. The Palace welcomed the survey results, claiming that it shows how the chief executive is "performing an exceptional job."

If you believe you have come into possible contact with infected patients, you may be directed to the proper office of the Department of Health for advice through the following lines: (632) 8651-7800 local 1149/1150 or (632) 165-364.



As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: December 23, 2020 - 2:02pm

Fifty-nine percent of Pinoys choose their career over love life, according to the latest Social Weather Stations poll.

Full story here: Love life or career? More Filipinos choose the latter

December 23, 2020 - 2:02pm

Despite the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, 55% of Filipino adults say there will be no difference in how their families will celebrate the Christmas season this year, according to the latest Pulse Asia survey.

The same poll shows that 91% of Filipino adults have a positive attitude for the year ahead.

The survey was conducted from November 23 to December 2 using face-to-face interviews among 2,400 respondents aged 18 years old and above. It has an error margin of ± 2% at the 95% confidence level.

November 6, 2020 - 7:24pm

A new Social Weather Stations survey shows that Filipinos have mixed expectations on their quality of life as cases of the coronavirus disease continue to climb.

Out of the 1,249 adults surveyed from Sept. 17 to 20, 33% said they expected their life quality to stay the same, 32% said it would improve and 30% said it could worsen in the next 12 months. Meanwhile, the remaining 6% said they do not know. 

June 18, 2020 - 9:32am

About 83% of Filipinos said their quality of life got worse ("losers") in the past year, according to a Social Weather Stations mobile survey released Thursday.

The poll found that 10% said their quality of life was the same ("unchanged") while only 6% said it got better ("gainers") compared to a year ago.

The mobile survey was conducted from May 4-10, 2020 using mobile phone interviews among 4,010 working-age Filipinos (15+ year-old) nationwide. 

March 17, 2019 - 11:57am

The happiness and satisfaction with life scores of Filipinos in Q4 of 2018 fell to their lowest levels since 2014, the Social Weather Stations says Sunday as it released its latest poll.

The survey, conducted from December 16-19, 2018, found 87 percent of respondents assessing their life in general as "very/fairly happy." This is a seven-point decline from the record-high 94 percent in December 2017.

This is also the lowest score in four years, since the 85 percent in December 2014.

Meanwhile, the survey also found 82 percent of Filipinos "very/fairly satisfied" with the lives they lead, the lowest since the 79 percent in September 2014.

The survey used face-to-face interviews of 1,440 adults (18 years old and above) nationwide: 360 each in Balance Luzon, Metro Manila, the Visayas, and Mindanao. It has a sampling error margins of ±2.6 percent for national percentages, and ±5 percent each for Balance Luzon, Metro Manila, the Visayas, and Mindanao.

October 26, 2018 - 8:50am

A new Social Weather Stations survey released Thursday finds that 75 percent of Filipinos say the country is in the right direction as opposed to the 22 percent who thinks otherwise.

The September 2018 proportion of those who believe the country is in the right direction is five points above the 70 percent in June 2018.

The SWS poll adds that the belief that the country is in the right direction rose in all areas and was highest in Mindanao at 89 percent. It is followed by Balance Luzon at 73 percent, the Visayas at 69 percent and Metro Manila at 65 percent.

The survey was conducted from September 15-23, 2018 using face-to-face interviews of 1,500 adults nationwide.

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