Top 10 Philippine Cities: Per Capita Income, Tax Revenues

James Ryan Jonas

The cities of Makati, Tagaytay, and Pasig are the top three cities in the Philippines in terms of per capita income in 2009, while the cities of Bayawan (Negros Oriental), San Fernando (Pampanga), and San Jose Del Monte (Bulacan) are the bottom-dwellers. This is according to a May 2012 report by the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB).

Per capita income refers to the total income earned divided by the city’s total population. In a sense, the figures show how effective and efficient the local government unit (LGU) is in producing income.

True, LGUs are not in the business of making money, but the data show how efficient (or inefficient) they are in using their Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) — or budget allocated to them by the national government — and how productive their initiatives are in generating economic activity in their city.

The top 10 Philippine cities with the highest per capita income are as follows. The average per capita income of the Philippines, considering all cities, is only P3,951.

Top 10 Cities in the Philippines with Highest Per Capita Income


As expected, Makati City, as the primary business district in the country, registered the highest per capita income with P16,535 — almost four times the national average.

Popular tourist destination Tagaytay City is second, with per capita income of P10,061.

Pasig City, location of the Ortigas Business District, is third with P8,816 per capita income.

Other Metro Manila cities with their own business districts, such as Quezon City, Manila, and Taguig, are conspicuously absent from the Top 10 per capita income list but are still money-makers overall.

Quezon City, for example, is actually the No.1 city in terms of total income, posting a huge P10.3 billion income in 2009. Manila is No. 3 while Taguig City (location of The Fort Global City) is No. 10 in the total income list. Despite huge total incomes, these cities have low per capita income because of the large number of their population.

Top 10 Cities in the Philippines with Highest Total Income


Taxes, such as local government taxes, business registration, real property taxes, and others, remain to be the cities’ primary source of revenue. In the case of Quezon City, taxes comprise 64% of the city’s total income. Makati City gets 84% of its total income from taxes, while the share of taxes in Manila City’s total income is 46%.

The Top 10 Philippine cities with highest tax revenues are as follows.

Top 10 Cities in the Philippines with Highest Tax Revenues


While most Metro Manila cities enjoy high incomes, those from the Visayas and Mindanao suffer from poor incomes and low tax collection.

Bottom 10 Cities in the Philippines in Terms of Per Capita Income


Bottom 10 Cities in the Philippines in Terms of Total Income


Bottom 10 Cities in the Philippines in Terms of Tax Revenues


The NSCB report puts forward several recommendations that can help bridge the gap between best-performing and worst-performing cities in the country. According to the NSCB:

  1. Some cities should share their savings (either in the form of loans or grants) to other “poorer” cities.
  2. LGUs should learn from the best practices of the better-performing cities in terms of tax collection, income generation, and economic initiatives.
  3. Economic activities in “richer” cities should be taxed higher than those in “poorer” cities.

This report is a commendable move on the part of the NSCB and should serve as a wake-up call to leaders of LGUs who lag behind their counterparts and to the national government which must strive to achieve a sustainable and equitable distribution of wealth among all Filipinos.

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.