Money Matters: How much are Filipino families earning and spending?

Filipino families earned an average of P307,190 annually in 2021, based on that year’s first semester Family Income and Expenditure Survey (2021 FIES). The amount translates to approximately P25,600 per month and is two percent lower than the same period in 2018, as reported by the Philippine Statistics Authority.

On the other hand, family spending was at an annual average of P228,800 or P19,067 per month in 2021, a decrease of 4.1 percent when compared to 2018.  

At constant 2018 prices however, the 2021 average annual family income was computed to be P282,080 or P23,506 per month, while the average annual family expenditure was at  P210,100 or P17,508 per month. 

Average annual family income

Primary sources of family income. In 2021, wages and salaries were the primary sources of total family income, accounting for 52.7 percent to the total, or 2.3 percentage points increase from 50.4 percent in 2018. 

Income from entrepreneurial activities, imputed rent, cash receipts from abroad and domestic sources remained the top contributors, next to wages and salaries.

Regions. The National Capital Region (NCR), as expected, topped with the highest average annual family income at P417,850. Four regions posted higher average annual family income than the national average of P307,190. Next to NCR are Calabarzon (P361,030), Cordillera Administrative Region (P350,430), and Central Luzon (P328,540). 

At the other end of the scale, the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM) had the lowest average annual family income at P184,940.

Highly Urbanized Cities (HUCs) and Provinces.  Makati City had the highest average annual family income of P579,570 while Sulu had the lowest average at P159,300.

From a growth perspective, from 2018 to 2021, Lanao del Sur recorded the highest rate of 42.9 percent, followed by Camarines Norte (27.6 percent), Apayao (22.7 percent), Batanes (22.2 percent), and Eastern Samar (21.9 percent).

In contrast, the top five HUCs and provinces that posted negative growth rate were Mandaluyong City (-28.5 percent), Cebu City (-20.4 percent), Las Piñas City (-19.5 percent), Pateros (-17.7 percent), and Bohol (-15.7 percent). 

Income Decile Groups. The average annual family income among the first to fifth income decile groups posted positive growths between 2018 and 2021. Families in the first income decile grew by 2.3 percent, second decile by 5.4 percent, third decile by 4.6 percent, fourth decile by 2.7 percent, and fifth decile by 1.2 percent. Conversely, the sixth until the tenth income deciles declined, and ranged from 0.3 percent to 6.2 percent. 

Average annual family expenditure

Primary expenditures.  Food items accounted for the biggest expenditure at 42.9 percent.  They were followed by Housing, Water, Electricity, Gas, and other Fuels (25.1 percent); Insurance and Miscellaneous Activities (7.3 percent); and Transport (5.7 percent). While Health accounted for 3.3 percent on the average, clothing and footwear actually ranked fifth among the bottom 10 percent income decile group.

Provinces. On the spending side, the top five provinces with highest average annual family expenditure growth rate between 2018 and 2021 were Lanao del Sur (63.6 percent), Batanes (29.6 percent), Kalinga (21.8 percent), Misamis Occidental (19.0 percent), and Zamboanga del Sur excluding Zamboanga City (18.3 percent).


The 2021 average saving was at P78,390 per annum or P6,532.50 per month. At constant 2018 prices, this translates to an average saving of P71,980 per annum or  P5,998.33 per month.

Based on the 2021 Financial Inclusion Survey (FIS)  by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), there were 9.7 million fewer savers, as shown in the percentage decrease to 37 percent in 2021 from 53 percent in 2019.  52 percent of savers kept their savings at home, while bank savers increased to 31 percent in 2021 from 21 percent in 2019. 

Poverty and subsistence incidences

Poverty incidence. The 2021 (full year) poverty threshold was estimated at P12,030 per month. Based on this figure, the proportion of poor Filipinos families whose income is not sufficient to meet their basic food and non-food needs, was estimated at 3.5 million families or 13.2 percent. Fisherfolks and farmers remained the poorest sectors, similar to 2018.

Subsistence incidence. The proportion of Filipinos families whose income is not enough to meet even the basic food needs estimated at P8,379 per month, was at 3.9 percent, or 1.04 million families. Fisherfolks and farmers were also the poorest sectors in terms of subsistence incidence. 

Income disparity

Income inequality, as measured by the Gini coefficient, went down to 0.4119 in 2021, from 0.4267 in 2018. This was driven by the growth in the first to fifth income deciles, and reduction in the sixth to tenth income deciles.

“The Gini coefficient is used to measure the income inequality among families. It ranges from 0 to 1, with 0 indicating perfect income equality among families, while a value of 1 indicates absolute income inequality.  An increase in the Gini coefficient indicates higher income disparity among families.” (

Regions. BARMM had the lowest income disparity with a Gini coefficient of 0.2764, while Eastern Visayas had the highest income inequality with a Gini coefficient of 0.4531. 

Nine regions had coefficients higher than the national average namely, Eastern Visayas (0.4531), Caraga (0.4474), Central Visayas (0.4344), Western Visayas (0.4283), Cagayan Valley (0.4201), MIMAROPA (0.4193), CAR (0.4191), Soccsksargen (0.4181), and Northern Mindanao (0.4128).

HUCs and Provinces. Top five with the most equitable income distribution were Lanao del Sur (0.2036), Sulu (0.2253), Navotas City (0.2575), Tawi-Tawi (0.2682), and Maguindanao (0.2695).

Meanwhile, the highest level of income inequality were Tacloban City (0.4893), Negros Oriental (0.4723), Zamboanga Sibugay (0.4670), Butuan City (0.4611), and Iloilo, excluding Iloilo City (0.4606).

Making ends meet

Almost half of Filipino adults had outstanding loans in 2021, as borrowing was the main mechanism to meet their financial needs, the BSP further reported. Adults with outstanding loans increased to 45 percent, from 33 percent in 2019. Family and friends were the top informal lenders. Microfinance Non-Government Organizations topped the formal sources of credit, in contrast to lower share of banks. 

For more information, check out regarding the 2021 FIES and poverty/subsistence statistics, and about its 2021 Financial Inclusion Survey.

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Henry L. Yap is an architect and fellow in both environmental planning and real estate management. He is one of the undersecretaries of the Department of Human Settlements and Urban Development.