Hope for 2023 | Inquirer Opinion
Social Climate

Hope for 2023

/ 05:03 AM December 31, 2022

As the calendar year closes, oldies like me simply feel grateful for having survived the past 365 days, from which we must brace up for another 365.

However, for Filipino adults as a whole, normally—but not always—at least nine out of 10 say they will greet the coming year with hope, rather than fear. That has been the finding in 18 out of 23 final-quarter surveys of Social Weather Stations, ever since 2000.


The hopeful percentage was in the 80s in five years, namely 2000, 2001, 2004 (the all-time low 81), 2005, and 2009. All these surveys were done in December, except those of 2001, 2002, 2003, 2006, and 2010, which were in November.

This “hope versus fear” survey item is borrowed from the Allensbach Institute, the pioneer European polling organization founded in 1947 by Elisabeth Noelle-Neumann—her famous book, “Spiral of Silence,” is on why many people keep quiet when their views deviate from what seems popular—and her husband, Erich Peter Neumann.


Allensbach polls the item annually and puts the time chart into its Christmas card. Its surveys reveal that Germans are generally much less hopeful about a coming year than we Filipinos are. Could some of this be due to us Filipinos being comparatively younger than Germans?

The new Philippine hopeful-for-the-new-year percentage is 95, as of Dec. 10-14, 2022, or almost back at the 96 of pre-pandemic 2019. It had fallen significantly to 91 in 2020, and recovered partially to 93 in 2021. Details are in a new report this week.

The Christmas mood has improved since 2021. This year’s Christmas mood—as reported last week in “Fourth Quarter 2022 Social Weather Survey: 73% of adult Filipinos expect a Happy Christmas, up from 65% in 2021,” www.sws.org.ph, 12/23/2022—is likewise better than last year, but still six points short of the pre-pandemic 79 percent. The people’s moods for Christmas and the new year go hand in hand.

This year’s expectation of a happy Christmas is highest in the Visayas area, at 78 percent, up 10 points from last year’s 68. Next is Mindanao at 75 percent, up strongly by 15 points from last year’s 60. Metro Manila and Balance Luzon are both at 71 percent, with the former up by 10 points, and the latter up by 4 points. The error margin for area-level figures is plus/minus 6 points, by the way.

This year, a majority of 61 percent say they will be gathering in-person with family and friends for the holidays (described in the survey as magtitipon ng personal kasama ang inyong mga kaibigan at/o pamilya na hindi nakatira sa inyong bahay). That’s a sizable improvement from last year when only 46 percent, or less than half, said they would.

Getting together in person matters very much. The expectation of a happy Christmas is 80 percent among those who expect to get together, versus only 63 percent among those who don’t expect to be able to do it.

The chance to meet for the holidays depends strongly on the means of doing so, of course. The survey’s best indicator of personal means is educational attainment: those expecting to get together for the holidays are: 49 percent among elementary dropouts (up from 38 percent in 2021), 57 percent among elementary graduates (up from 46 percent before), 64 percent among junior high school grads (up from 48 percent before), and 72 percent among college grads (up from 46 percent). So it ranges from half among the least-favored to three-fourths among the most-favored.


Meeting one’s relatives and friends also depends on how far one can move around, given the availability of transportation. This year, only 15 percent said they would be traveling to visit family and friends, which is no better than last year when only 13 percent said they would do so. The survey used the word maglalakbay to refer to traveling; that’s not precise, but means no less than a day trip away from home.

I think the survey covered the basic elements of happy Filipino holidays. I don’t remember if SWS ever looked into serving ham and cheese at “noche buena”; for sure, we’ve never asked about onions.

Happy New Year to all!


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