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Defining who’s rich: How rich is “rich” in the Philippines?

Who are considered “rich” in the Philippines?

It’s supposedly easy if we define “rich” as those belonging to the list of the Top 10 Richest Filipinos. However, even if your net worth does not run into billions of pesos, you may still be considered “rich” as per the definition of the National Statical Coordination Board (NSCB).

Based on the NSCB computations, using the Family Income and Expenditure Surveys (FIES) and the Labor Force Survey (LFS), a family in the Philippines must earn at least PhP 2,393,126 a year or PhP 199,927 a month to be counted as part of the high-income class in 2010.

Simply stated, your family should be earning P200,000 a month or P2.4 million a year to be considered “rich” in the Philippines.

The Rich, the Poor and the Middle Class

Rich people are indeed a rarity, with rich families numbering only 20,000 or 0.1% of the total 17.4 million families in the country.

The middle class, on the other hand, earns an average of P36,934 per month. This translates to around P500,000 per year.

The low income class, meanwhile, earns an average of P9,061 per month or around P110,000 per year.

Predictors of Wealth

The NSCB also identified three predictors that are consistently significant for the high income group. These are:

  1. household head working as corporate executives, managers, managing proprietors, supervisors, officials of government and special interest organizations;
  2. household owns at least three air conditioning units; and
  3. owns at least three cars / vehicles

This means if the household head is a top executive or business owner or a politician, the family owns at least 3 cars, and their house has at least 3 aircon units, then that family is most probably rich.

Breakdown of Family Expenditures

All families regardless of income spend more on food and rent/rental value of their house.

Food expense of high income families, however, represent only 21% or one-fifth of total expenditures while for the low income families, this already reaches 53.4%.

This figure only goes to show that the poor already spend half of their hard-earned money on food.

For the high-income families, their top 3 expenditures are:

  • Food – 21.1%
  • Housing and shelter – 16.6%
  • Transportation and communication – 12.5%

Middle-class families share the same top expenditures, although their spending has a different percentage compared to the high-income families:

  • Food – 34.8%
  • Housing and shelter – 13.9%
  • Transportation and communication – 9.8%

Low-income families do prioritize spending on the basic essentials, such as food, housing, and utilities such as fuel, light and water:

  • Food – 53.4%
  • Housing and shelter – 10.7%
  • Fuel, light and water – 7.7%

Top Expenditures of Filipino Families

Expenditure Item High Income Middle Income Low Income
Food 21.1% 34.8% 53.4%
Rent/rental value of occupied dwelling units 16.6% 13.9% 10.7%
Transportation and communication 12.5% 9.8% 5.3%
Fuel, light and water 5.6% 7.7% 7.7%
Taxes 5.4%    
Education   5.9%  
Personal Care and Effects     3.9%
Others 38.8% 27.9% 19.0%
Total 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%

Now that you know who the rich and poor are in the Philippines, where do you categorize yourself? Are you part of the high income, the middle income, or the low income segment of the Philippines?

Source: NSCB

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42 thoughts on “Defining who’s rich: How rich is “rich” in the Philippines?”

  1. nate we says:

    So me and my family are rich? I find that hard to believe… We earn more than 200k a month and have 2 properties one in cebu and one in bulacan…and we are currently living in a condo in mandaluyong…we have 3 aircon…but dont have any car! and at the end of the month we are still most of the time short for our expenses!

    1. Per Johansen says:

      How big are your family? Im from Norway, married with a filippina. Filippinos lack of knowledge about taking care of/use money is shocking! Really shocking! Save money is a expression nobody know what means. When getting money you use them up at once! I repeat: At once! Scary stupid, not strange that the population are poor and will continue be poor. You might dont have a car because you dont manage your money good enough. Filippinos eat very expensive and a lot food. We rich norwegians, with a higher cost level i our country and higher income, we eat a looot less cheaper breakfast and lunch then average filippinos. You eat what we call dinner three times a day – and eat between these meals all the time, when its space for food in a filippino tummy, you fill it up and eat at once! Diabetes will become epidemic in your country soon. Food have a purpose: first of all for energy and nutritions, not for pleasure!

    2. nate we says:

      Wow friend.That was 3 years ago. We earn almost a million per month now. And now have a suv. I must say we are pretty content now. I am living frugally still. Same lifestyle.our income just increased.and some expenses like that car. Thanks for your reply btw.

  2. Brianmark says:

    What percentage of the population is Middle Classed?

  3. MasterMason says:

    2.4M per year is still middle class, in my opinion. That’s not even enough to buy a brand new BMW 3-series, or a decent house in Metro Manila.

  4. Per Johansen says:

    If people dont buy and use aircon they will become even richer..

  5. Angie Millares says:

    What?! So I’m rich then? Lol. We have 5 aircondition units and 3 cars and yeah, my dad is a GM (He’s the only bread winner in the Family) and we have 2 house helpers and there are 4 of us in my siblings and plus my Lola… I think it depends on how many you are in a family kay we still live like average not too “sosyal” cuz we still need to save ofcourse and both my parents are tihik most of the time but my dad just earns almost a half a million a month plus allowances and we’re still limiting ourselves from spending too much. I’m just a bit shock that we could belong to this category cuz I don’t really consider myself rich (especially my parents)

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