Gainers have led since 2015 | Inquirer Opinion
Social Climate

Gainers have led since 2015

/ 05:28 AM December 16, 2017

To me, a necessary indicator of national progress is a simple head count that more people have gotten better than have gotten worse, in their quality of life, over time. A head count is democratic; unlike the Gross National Product, it never allows the gains of a few to offset the losses of the many.

Given that gainers outnumber losers, it is also important to review the fairness of the gaining and losing. Have the poor and disadvantaged also gained? This will be taken up in the second part of the column.


The good news in the September 2017 Social Weather Survey is that, for the 11th consecutive quarter, gainers outnumber losers. SWS reported this week (12/13/17) that a record high 39 percent of adults had gained, while only 19 percent of them had lost, in their quality of life (uri ng pamumuhay) in the past 12 months. The implied point-surplus of gainers over losers is +19 (correctly rounded), which is called the net gainers score.

In the last 11 SWS surveys since March 2015, gainers always outnumbered losers. This is something very rare. It happened only twice before in the entire SWS history of 135 national surveys since 1983: in May 1986 (+2 net score) and March 1987 (+11), to be specific.


In three surveys in Marcos’ time, the net scores were all negative. It fell to -47 in July 1985, which was the record low until a -50 happened in June 2008. The 13 surveys of Cory Aquino’s time had 11 negative scores, ranging from -9 to -38.

The scores were negative in all 36 rounds under Ramos (from -2 to -33), in all 10 rounds under Estrada (from -17 to -44), and in all 42 rounds under Arroyo (from -6 to -50). Under Noynoy Aquino, the scores were initially negative (from -2 to -14, or relatively mild), in 18 rounds from 2010 to 2014.

But in the next six surveys under Noynoy, from 2015 onward, the scores went consistently positive (from +3 to +9). Now, in the first five surveys under Duterte, the scores have been even stronger (+16 to +19).

On average, for the turnaround period of 11 quarters since March 2015, gainers have been 33 percent, losers have been 22 percent, and the net gainers score has been +11.

The sharing of the gaining is widespread, but not quite equal. The +19 net gainers score for the nation in September 2017 is the average of +31 in Mindanao, +20 in the Balance of Luzon, +17 in the National Capital Region (NCR), and +7 in Visayas. Fortunately, it is positive not just in the nation but also in the four areas of the Social Weather Survey.

For the period since March 2015, the average net gainers score has been +12 in NCR, +12 in the Balance of Luzon, +6 in Visayas, and +11 in Mindanao. The area-sharing is much more equal in the whole period than in the last quarter alone.

The poor, however, have barely gained. In September 2017, adults from Self-Rated Poor families were 31 percent Gainers and 24 percent Losers, or net +5 (correctly rounded) only. This contrasts with the Non-Poor’s 46 percent Gainers and 14 percent Losers, or net +32, classified as Excellent by SWS.


And the hungry have not (yet?) gained. In September 2017, adults from Hungry families were 29 percent Gainers and 33 percent Losers, or net -4. The net gainers score consists of -2 among the Moderately Hungry and -12 among the Severely Hungry. It contrasts with the Non-Hungry’s 40 percent Gainers and 18 percent Losers, or net +22, also considered Excellent.

For the first time in many decades, most Filipinos are getting better off. But the gains are not (yet?) being shared with the worst off.

Contact [email protected] Special computations for this column are thanks to Joanne Evangelista and Beatrice Lee of SWS.

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TAGS: Gross National Product, quality of life
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