Who are identified rich, poor? Gov't shows income class brackets in PH

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 17 2020 04:09 PM

People wear masks inside a supermarket in Quezon City on March 12, 2020 as reports of a lockdown in response to the COVID-19 outbreak circulated on social media have people rushing to buy supply. Fernando G. Sepe Jr., ABS-CBN News/file

MANILA - The Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS) on Thursday showed income class brackets in the country, which government uses to categorize families into social classes. 

Families in the Philippines are identified as rich or poor depending on their pooled monthly income, PIDS president Celia Reyes said during a Senate budget hearing.

As of 2018, the PIDS identified social classes according to the following income brackets: 

  • Poor: Below P10,957 monthly income 
  • Low-income but not poor: P10,957 to P21,914 monthly income 
  • Lower middle: P21,914 to P43,828 monthly income
  • Middle: P43,828 to P76,66 monthly income
  • Upper middle: P76,669 to P131,484 monthly income
  • Upper middle but not rich: P131,483 to P219,140 monthly income
  • Rich: P219,140 and above monthly income

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Karl Chua said the government needs to improve the definitions and the terms to identify social classes in the Philippines after senators noted that the labels used were confusing.

"I would discuss all these with the board to see if we can come up with something official," Chua told senators.

"We will come back with a more formal [definition]... once we have discussed in the board," he said.

Senate Committee on Finance chair Sonny Angara said the socioeconomic team may also have to come up with a more unified way of identifying social classes as some agencies compute it based on "families" while others assess it using "households."

The income class system needs to be simplified because "it is relevant" in identifying beneficiaries of various government programs, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, Angara said.

Data from the PIDS showed that as of 2018, there were 8.4 million low-income families in the country, and 7.5 million lower middle-income families in the country.

Some 4.3 million families belong to the middle and the upper middle class, the upper but not rich account for 358,000 families, while some 143,000 families are classified as rich in the Philippines, the PIDS said.