One view is that the literacy rate has risen from 72% to 90% in the last 30 years. According to the 2005 Functional Literacy, Education, and Mass Media Survey conducted by the National Statistics Office (NSO), 48.4 million or 84% of the estimated 57.6 million Filipinos who are 10 to 64 years old are said to be "functionally" literate (Source: "8 out of 10 Filipinos are functionally literate" by D. Pepito, TODAY newspaper, February 17, 2005).
Functional literacy was found to be higher in females by an average of 4.8 percentage points than in males. Significantly however, it was found that functional literacy arose in those areas that were economically well-off. In fact, the top six regions with average family income were found to have the highest functional literacy rates. They are: NCR (94.6%), CAR (85.4%), Calabarzon (90.4%), Ilocos (88.6%), Central Luzon (86.9%), and Cagayan Valley (84.4%).
ARMM had the lowest average family income and corollarily the country's lowest functional literacy rate as well at 62.9%. Areas with passable literacy rates (and low family income) were found in Eastern Visayas (76.7%), Zamboanga Peninsula (74.8%), Davao (77.8%), and Soccskasargen (77.1%). Specifically, the Philippines was found to have one of the highest poverty incidence rates in Southeast Asia pegged at 15.5% with poor people living at less than one (1) U.S. Dollar a day or at Php 32.00 a day, which percentage is lower than Laos (39%) and Cambodia (34.1%) but higher than Vietnam (13.1%) and Indonesia (7.5 %). In other words, in the year 2004 around 40% of Filipinos were poor. That's 40% of approximately 80 million Filipino individuals, or thirty two million (32,000,000) people. In 1995 there were 4.36 million families who were poor. By 2000, the estimate was 5.14 million families or over 31.2 million people.
As of 2004, the NSO reports that the population of the Philippines is at approximately 80 million. About 57.6 million are adults aged 10 to 64 years old. Of...
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