PH has highest income inequality in SE Asia, says local research firm

By Ted P. Torres, The Philippine Star

Posted at Jul 22 2011 07:17 AM | Updated as of Jul 22 2011 06:54 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines has the highest income inequality in the Southeast Asian region, with roughly 10% of the country’s population accounting for a third of total income, according to a study conducted by Stratbase Research Institute.

The study said the Philippines has a higher index rating than other major Southeast Asian nations. “This means that there is greater rate of inequality in the Philippines compared to its neighbors,” it noted.

Citing a global ranking of countries in terms of inequality prepared by international group Vision of Humanity, the Philippines had a rating of 44% in 2010. This was higher than the 42.5% in Thailand, 39.4% in Indonesia, 37.9% in Malaysia, and 37.8% in Vietnam.

Stratbase said the high level of income inequality in the Philippines is also evident in separate studies made by the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and even the government’s National Statistics Office (NSO) and National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB).

An ADB study pointed to persistent levels of inequality in the Philippines that are apparent in the areas of income, land distribution, and welfare and human development.

It said that the richest 10% of Filipino families are raking in more than a third of the country’s total income. In 2006, about 36% of the total family income of P3 trillion was earned by the richest families in the country.

Meanwhile, a World Bank report found that the richest 20% of the Philippine population outspend the poorest 20% by more than eight times.