How Has The Filipino ‘Quality Of Life’ Improved In The Last 33 Years?

Projections about the Philippine economy remain positive amid all the political hullabaloo. International think tanks like the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the Asian Development Bank all agree that the country’s economy is looking positive in the coming years.

But all these projections and positive outlook on the country’s future are for naught if not felt by the average Juan who’s trying to get by in his day-to-day life, especially with the peso dipping at P50 vs a dollar, its lowest in more than a decade.


For years, research company Social Weather Stations has studied trends in the Quality of Life (QOL), and whether or not the outlook of Filipinos is improving with the changes in their environment. So how satisfied are Filipinos with their lives right now? The answer may surprise you.

Better days

For eight straight quarters now—two years in total—majority of Filipinos have said they are more than satisfied with the quality of their lives, with 48 percent of 1,500 Filipino adults saying they expect their lives to improve in the next 12 months.

SWS president Mahar Mangahas, in his Philippine Daily Inquirer column, says the two-year streak has been the longest period of improvement since 1983.

To measure the said trend, SWS asked the respondents in December 3 to 6 of 2016 if their QOL over the last 12 months took a turn for the better, worse, or stayed the same.

“SWS surveyed the QOL trend three times in the Marcos years (1983-85), 13 times in the Cory Aquino years (1986-92), 26 times in the Ramos years (1992-98), 12 times in the Estrada years (1992-00), 42 times in the Arroyo years (2001-10), 24 times in the P-Noy years (2010-16), and twice so far during President Rodrigo Duterte’s young administration. This is the longest time-series of any of the SWS survey indicators,” Mangahas wrote.

While Filipinos are more positive about the quality of their lives, gainers (those who got better off) never exceeded the losers (those who got worse off) until 2014.

The only two times the opposite happened were in May 1986, during the aftermath of the People Power Revolution, and in March 1987, when the 1987 Constitution was ratified. However, 2015 started to see the takeover of gainers over losers.

Just last week, Mangahas reported that the SWS arrived at a +16 net score on QOL by getting 37 percent of adults saying they were gainers and 27 percent of them claiming the opposite.

In addition, the National Capital Region and the rest of Luzon has been dominated by gainers, while outlook in Visayas has been more positive last year; and Mindanao in six out of eight quarters.

Meanwhile, the SWS head honcho revealed that satisfaction in the quality of life has become a reality now not just to the well off. In 2014, the D class got a net score of +17 and the E class at +10 points.