Income Distribution in the Philippines: Rich vs. Poor and Social Class Structure

James Ryan Jonas

Let’s have this short quiz. Look at the picture below and answer the following questions.
Question #1: Which Type, among the five types below, you think best describes the current income structure in the Philippines?
Question #2: Which Type, for you, should be the ideal income class distribution in the country?

Again, from the five diagrams above (Type 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5), choose the one (1) that you think exemplifies the current structure of rich and poor in the Philippines; and (2) which is the ideal scenario of rich and poor people in the country.
Got your answers? Then continue reading below.

Income Inequality and Inequity in the Philippines

First, here are explanations of the five choices.
Type 1: “A small number of elite or rich people at the top, very few in the middle, and the great mass of people at the bottom.”
Type 2: “A society like a pyramid, with a small elite at the top, more people in the middle, and most at the bottom.”
Type 3: “A pyramid except that just a few people are at the bottom.”
Type 4: “A society with most people in the middle.”
Type 5: “Many people near the top, and only a few near the bottom.”

Survey Results

We ask these questions after the Social Weather Stations (SWS), a survey polling firm, posted the survey results regarding the Filipinos’ perception of income distribution in the country.
The survey asked Filipinos what they think the current rich-poor structure is in Philippine society and what the ideal socioeconomic class (SEC) structure should be.
SWS results shows that most Filipinos believe Type 2 (“A society like a pyramid, with a small elite at the top, more people in the middle, and most at the bottom.”) best describes the current state of Philippine society. Did you have the same answer?
As for the the ideal state of the country’s income class structure, most Filipinos say it should be Type 4: “A society with most people in the middle.”
Do you agree?
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James Ryan Jonas teaches business management, investments, and entrepreneurship at the University of the Philippines (UP). He is also the Executive Director of UP Provident Fund Inc., managing and investing P3.2 Billion ($56.4 Million) worth of retirement funds on behalf of thousands of UP employees.