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Poverty in the Philippines: Poorest Provinces

Poverty in the Philippines: Poorest Provinces

Jan 25, 2012

Poverty in the Philippines: Poorest Provinces

(Note: This piece is a segment from a larger article “Poverty in the Philippines: A Profile”, showcased in Focus-Philippines’ upcoming Poverty Policy Review)

Top Fifteen Poorest Provinces, by Household Incidence

2003 2006


Province Incidence (%) Province Incidence (%) Province Incidence (%)
Zamboanga del Norte 59.5 Zamboanga del Norte 54.1 Zamboanga del Norte 52.9
Masbate 50.2 Tawi-Tawi 49.1 Agusan del Sur 51.2
Agusan del Sur 48.5 Agusan del Sur 45.5 Surigao del Norte 47.9
Siquijor 45.5 Maguindanao 44.9 Eastern Samar 45.8
Negros Oriental 43.6 Negros Oriental 44.4 Maguindanao 44.6
Zamboanga Sibugay 43.3 Bohol 43.7 Zamboanga Sibugay 43.2
Surigao del Norte 42.3 Northern Samar 43.3 Romblon 43.0
Maguindanao 41.9 Masbate 42.9 Masbate 42.5
Camarines Norte 40.7 Surigao del Norte 41.6 Davao Oriental 42.5
Bohol 40.2 Mindoro Occiental / Romblon 40.6 Northern Samar 41.7
Camarines Sur 38.3 Davao Oriental 39.0 Bohol 41.0
Northern Samar 37.4 Sultan Kudarat 38.7 Saranggani 40.7
Sultan Kudarat 37.3 Misamis Oriental 38.2 Sulu 39.3
Misamis Oriental 37.0 Eastern Samar 37.6 Lanao del Norte 39.0
Saranggani 36.7 Sulu 36.7 Camarines Sur 38.7

Source: National Statistical Coordination Board, (FIES 2009)

The proliferation of poverty across geographical regions is never even, and an often observed dynamic is a growth in poverty incidence levels in provinces geographically and infrastructurally disjointed from more highly-capitalized metropoles. Scanning the Philippine provinces where the reality of poverty seems to be most acute, this pattern once more seems to hold water: most of the archipelago’s poorest provinces seem to be those which are conspicuously distanced from urban centres by land, mountain range or sea. Generally, they are also those where existing transport and logistics infrastructures are known to be defective.

The provinces which constantly rank among the poorest from 2003-2009, averaged in terms of their poverty incidence throughout those years, are Zamboanga del Norte (55.5%), Agusan del Sur (48.4%), Masbate (45.2%), Surigao del Norte (43.9%), Maguindanao (43.8%), Bohol (42.6%), and Northern Samar (40.8%). While this list is hardly exhaustive, these are likely provinces where poverty over the years is not only pronounced, but also chronic in its manifestations.

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