Spatial Disparities and Poverty: The Case of Three Provinces in the Philippines
ASOG WORKING PAPER 16-003
27 Pages Posted: 5 Sep 2016
Date Written: September 5, 2016
The Philippines is home to about 4 million Filipino families who live below the poverty line, and to about 17 million families who live above it. Nearly half of all poor families do not meet their food needs. Despite the Philippines’ fast economic growth in recent years — growing over six percent on average since 2011 — the growth has not translated into significant social impact as the country’s poverty situation has remained virtually unchanged. The lack of inclusiveness in the Philippines’ economic growth has to do, to a large extent, with the wide spatial disparities in economic opportunities across areas in the country. Spatial economic disparities could also lead to spatial disparities in welfare, as the areas in the Philippines that are “spatially” disconnected tend to have worse human development outcomes. Geography is expected to determine the initial conditions of the region, including climatic conditions and natural resources, and as such, also determines migration patterns, wealth accumulation, and formation of informal and formal institutions. In the Philippines, the National Capital Region (NCR or Metro Manila) remains the wealthiest region, accounting for 36 percent of GDP with 13 percent of the country’s population; while the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) is the poorest, accounting for only 1.3 percent of GDP but with a population of one-third of that of Metro Manila. This study attempts to better understand the constraints that the poor families face to get themselves out of poverty by looking more closely at three of the provinces in the Philippines that have unique spatial characteristics. These provinces are Pangasinan, Eastern Samar, and Maguindanao. They are characterized by large magnitude (Pangasinan) and high incidences (Easter Samar and Maguindanao) of poverty. The analysis was based on the results of national household surveys on family income and on labor market status, as well as on the findings from scoping missions to these provinces and on focused group discussions.
Keywords: spatial disparities, poverty, inequality
JEL Classification: I3, O1
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation