MANILA—Fewer Filipinos experienced involuntary hunger in the last quarter of 2018, a Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey revealed Wednesday.
The December 16 to 19 poll found 10.5 percent, or an estimated 2.4 million households, "experienced involuntary hunger at least once" between October and December.
The figure is 2.8 percentage points lower than the 13.3 percent, or 3.1 million families, in September.
This brings the average hunger rate in 2018 to 10.8 percent, the lowest annual average rate since 7 percent in 2003, SWS said.
The survey showed that quarterly hunger rate fell by 10 points in Mindanao (8.3 percent or 443,000 families) and 3 points in Balance Luzon (9.7 percent or 1 million families).
It rose by 3 points in the Visayas at 9.2 percent (411,000 families) and by 1 point in Metro Manila at 18.3 percent (581,000 families.)
Meanwhile, ratings for "moderate hunger" and "severe hunger" decreased by 1.7 and 1.3 points, respectively, from the previous quarter, SWS said.
The pollster defined "moderate hunger" as experiencing hunger "only once" or "a few times" in the last 3 months, while "severe hunger" refers to experiencing it "often" or "always."
"The few who did not state their frequency of hunger were classified under moderate hunger," SWS said.
Hunger fell among the self-rated poor and the self-rated non-poor to 14.9 percent from 18.5 percent and 6.1 percent from 7.6 percent, respectively.
Hunger also dropped among the self-rated food poor and self-rated not food-poor to 17.5 percent from 22.3 percent and 6.9 percent from 8.2 percent, respectively.
The fourth quarter poll had had 1,440 respondents. It has a margin of error of ±2.6 percent for national figures.