How a survey zooms in | Inquirer Opinion
Social Climate

How a survey zooms in

/ 04:04 AM December 21, 2019

The special feature of the most recent Social Weather Survey is that it gives the Bangsamoro people statistical visibility, equal to the people in the National Capital Region (NCR), the Balance of Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao (“Third Quarter 2019 Social Weather Survey Special Sample for the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM),”, 12/17/19).

By separating Mindanao into BARMM and non-BARMM, each with a sample of 300 respondents, the 2019Q3 SWS survey set an error margin of plus/minus 6 percentage points for each of the two areas. This makes the BARMM survey findings, by design, just as accurate as those of other areas. The cost of the special sample was absorbed by SWS, pro bono.


The accuracy of a survey depends only on the absolute size of its sample; the size of the population from which the sample is drawn is immaterial. The usual Social Weather Survey joins together four area-surveys, each of size 300, into a national survey of 1,200 respondents. The aggregation is weighted by census proportions: NCR 13.8 percent, Balance Luzon 44.7 percent, Visayas 19.1 percent, and Mindanao 22.5 percent.

In the 2019Q3 SWS report, Mindanao’s 22.5 percent was an aggregation of non-BARMM 19.0 percent, and BARMM 3.5 percent. The special sample enables one to examine the social weather in BARMM just as thoroughly as in the other study areas. Here are some initial findings:


1. There is significantly more Self-Rated Poverty in BARMM (59 percent of households) than in non-BARMM (52 percent). In Mindanao as a whole, 53 percent of households consider themselves poor.

2. The percentages of adults that gained versus lost in their personal quality of life (QOL) from 12 months ago are net +16 for BARMM and net +15 for non-BARMM. The percentages optimistic versus pessimistic about their QOL in the coming 12 months are net +46 for both BARMM and non-BARMM.

3. Within BARMM, 39 percent are very hopeful and 44 percent are somewhat hopeful, that the areas damaged by the armed conflict in Marawi City can fully recover. This is less confident than in non-BARMM, where 56 percent are very hopeful and 35 percent are somewhat hopeful.

4. The hopefulness in BARMM about the recovery of Marawi varies very much by ethnic group. Those very hopeful about it are 55 percent of Maguindanaos, 39 percent of Tausugs, and 33 percent of Others (non-Muslims), but only 22 percent of Maranaos. This is very significant, since it is the Maranaos, of course, who have the greatest stake in the future of Marawi.

The September 2019 survey has all the usual SWS probes into various economic conditions, such as hunger, joblessness, food-poverty, and the people’s poverty thresholds and transitions into and out of poverty. It checks into the victimization of the Bangsamoro people by crime, and the security of their homes and neighborhood streets. It asks Bangsamoro people for their ratings of governance, including the state of reconciliation with both Muslim and Communist rebel groups. It gets their opinions about police conduct in the war on illegal drugs. It delves into Bangsamoro sentiments toward the United States, China and other foreign nations. The special BARMM survey put its people on the same statistical footing as Metro Manilans, Luzonians, Visayans and common Mindanaoans. We will repeat it, as able.

Merry Christmas to all!


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TAGS: BARMM, Mahar Mangahas, Social Climate, SWS survey
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