Survey Shows 33% of Filipinos’ Quality of Life “Improved” Despite Inflation and Joblessness

By: Andrea Eleanor Cabaron
October 12, 2023

A graph showing change in personal quality of life over the past months from April 1983 to June 2023. Illustration courtesy of SWS Philippines.

The recent Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey states only 33% (net gainers) of Filipinos said their quality of life improved.

The survey, which was conducted from June 28 to July 1 and released on Tuesday evening, also stated 45% of Filipinos identified their quality of life stayed the same, while 22% said it grew worse.

From 29% in a comparable survey conducted in March of last year, a little increase in respondents who claimed their quality of life had improved in the previous year. However, it is still lower than the 39% found in the study performed in December 2019 prior to the epidemic.

The percentage of those who said their quality of life had somewhat declined decreased from 25% in March, while the percentage who said it had remained about the same increased from 46%.

According to the SWS, the net gainer score had historically been negative until 2015. It saw a period of consistent positive scores from 2015 until the COVID-19 pandemic, when the net gainer scores began to drop once again.

The net gainers score, which is determined by subtracting the percentage of "losers" (those who reported a loss in quality of life) from the percentage of "gainers" (those who reported an improvement), is used by SWS to classify results.

Contrary to the SWS results, several recurring factors rooting from price hikes and joblessness have contributed to the lacking improvement among the lives of Filipinos especially those within the marginalized communities.  


Unemployment Rate

2.3 million jobless Filipinos were determined by the Philippine Statistics Authority on Wednesday, August 9, making the unemployment rate inch up to 4.5 % in June. 

Meanwhile, the underemployment rate stood at 12% equivalent to 5.87 million employed Filipinos who expressed the desire for additional hours of work. In June 2022, the underemployment rate was estimated at 12.6%, while it was 11.7% in May 2023.


Price Hikes

On Tuesday, October 10, gasoline prices have once again dropped subsequent to the Monday announcement by Seaoil, Petro Gazz, and Cleanfuel with the reduction of P2.45 per liter for diesel and P3.05 for gasoline in separate advisories. Seaoil also announced a P3 per liter reduction for kerosene.

Consumers would gain greatly from the sharp drop in oil prices, but data from the Department of Energy revealed a double-digit net increase in petroleum products year to date. 

Since the beginning of the year, the cost of gasoline has climbed by P15.30 per liter, that of diesel by P13.80, and that of kerosene by P8.94.

The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board recently approved a P1 tariff increase amid rising costs. The rise will raise the minimum fares for both traditional and modern jeepneys from P12 to P13 and P14 to P15, respectively.



The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), citing rising prices for fuel, electricity, and important agricultural commodities as well as a depreciating peso, originally predicted that inflation for September would range between 5.3% and 6.1%.

The central bank has raised its forecast for inflation for 2023 as well; it is now expecting average inflation for the year to be 5.8% rather than the earlier figure of 5.6%.