Middle Class in the Philippines: Defining and Income Ranges
- The average income of a family in the Philippines as of 2021 is PHP 307.19 thousand per year, and the average expenditure is PHP 228.80 per year
- The middle class in the Philippines is defined as those who earn between ₱18,000 to ₱109,200 per month
- The middle-class earners make up close to 45% of the population in the Philippines
- Middle-class families in the Philippines ideally have 20% of their income left after expenses are paid.
Do you consider yourself a middle-class earner or citizen? What is the middle class in the Philippines? According to the Philippine Statistics Authority, a middle-income person is one who earns between ₱18,000 to ₱109,200 per month (1). About 45% of the families in the Philippines belong to this category.
Today, we will shed clarity on this matter. In the end, you will have a better understanding of the middle class, plus its economic significance.
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Defining Middle Class Philippines
A middle-class family or income earner is based on the salary of the household or per capita. Below is a table that shows how the PSA segregates classes.
|Income Class||Cluster||Family income in PHP per month||% of families in brackets|
|LOW||Poor||Less than 9,100||16.5|
|Low Income||9,100 to 18,200||34.4|
|MIDDLE||Lower Middle||18,200 to 36,400||29.2|
|Middle Middle||36,400 to 63,700||12.7|
|Upper middle class Philippines||63,700 to 109,200||4.9|
|HIGH||Upper Class||109,200 to 182,000||1.7|
The study of PSA(2) is not updated. They only conduct this study every after few decades. As of 2021, the average income of a family in the Philippines is PHP 307.19 thousand in one year. Based on expenditure, an average Filipino family spends PHP 228.80 per year.
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Minimum Wage in the Philippines
Economic Significance of the Middle Class
The middle-class earners make up the bulk of the population—close to 50%. These are also the people who pay taxes to keep the government running. Their contribution is significant to keep the Philippine economy afloat.
The economic challenge facing the middle class income Philippines group is disparity and competition. For example, there was a time when jobs in the BPO industry were highly sought after. From here, there was a rise in the number of middle-class earners in the country.
But this was short-lived. Today, the salaries of those in the BPO industry are getting lower and lower. As such, the middle-class may find themselves in the poor category again.
The opportunity that must explore is online work. There are many companies in the world that want to outsource jobs to countries like the Philippines. With fast internet speeds, there is a high level of confidence that Filipinos will deliver these jobs fruitfully.
Are You Middle Class or Not?
The primary test to figure out if you are middle income or not is your family salary. To help you out, we have created a short questionnaire.
- How much is your family income per month?
- Do you spend 41% of your salary on food?
- Do you pay at least 2.4% of your income to the government as tax?
- Do you spend at least 13% of your income on rent?
- Do you spend at least 6% of your money on transportation expenses?
- Do you spend at least 6% of your money on electricity?
If you answered yes to at least three of these questions, then you are definitely middle income. We already have a chart earlier about the salary. Now, here is a chart you can use for your expenses to segregate low-, middle-, and high-income earners.
|Expenses||High income||Middle income||Low income|
|Food and Groceries||21.30%||41.30%||53.40%|
|Rent or Housing||16.60%||13.90%||10.70%|
|Transportation and Communication||4.70%||6.00%||7.10%|
|Light and Water||5.60%||7.70%||7.70%|
|Expenses on Electricity||5.70%||6.60%||6.50%|
Overall, you are a middle-class family if you meet several of these conditions:
- Your household income is PHP 36,400 to PHP 63,700 per month
- You are free to choose the lifestyle you want, but not live like rich people
- Your overall expense in a month is not more than 70% of your income.
- After all expenses are paid, you still have money to spare for your savings and luxuries
Ideally, you must still have 20% of your income left after your expenses are paid. If you do, and you are within that income bracket of the middle-middle income, then you can consider yourself a middle class family or citizen.
Challenges in Accurately Measuring the Middle Class
Even in other countries, there is no shortage of talk about the definition of middle class. If you ask middle class people, they will tell you that they belong to the lower middle class income Philippines bracket. If you ask some rich people, they actually think they are not rich.
This problem is brought about by the accuracy of measuring the middle class. It is so easy to define poor or rich, but what really constitutes a middle-class family?
First of all, middle-class is difficult to measure if you base it on salary only. If you think about it, what a person can buy with ₱1,000 five years ago is not the same today. In the past, a person with ₱100 can buy a meal for a family. That amount will not be enough today.
Accordingly, the definition of middle-class should also be based on the economic power of money. In essence, someone who has ₱2,500 as salary 40 years ago may be middle class. Today, that salary makes a family poor. Why? Because the value of ₱2,500 before and now is not the same anymore.
Most In-Demand Jobs in the Philippines 2023
Jobs You Can Get to Become Middle Class
To help you out further and to get out of the lower middle class Philippines bracket, we are providing you a short list of jobs that you can aspire to as careers if you want to be a middle-class earner.
Our basis here is our table, which means that salaries that pay between 18,200 to 109,200 are all going to make you middle-class.
- Nurse OFW – one of the most in-demand jobs in the world is nursing. More and more Filipinos are going abroad to provide this service. In the US, the average salary of a Filipino nurse is $3,800 per month. This is equivalent to roughly ₱200,000 per month.
- Electrician OFW – in the US, electricians that have a certification receive an average of $57,413 per year, or ₱31,48,242. Yes, that is three million pesos per year.
- BPO Manager – the typical BPO manager salary in the Philippines is ₱60,000 per month. If you start as an agent, you will get paid at least ₱13,000 per month. Some companies pay at least ₱18,000 as a base salary. There are those that pay as high as ₱28,000. As you climb the corporate ladder, you can expect to get paid more.
- Online Jobs – virtual assistants typically get paid $3 per hour. Some get as much as $5 per hour. If you do the math, you can expect a monthly salary of $880 per month, or ₱48,254 per month.
There are many online virtual jobs online. From data transcription to managing a client’s calendar of events, you have a multitude of options. You can also become a supervisor and a manager if you find a company that has an organized structure.
You can also become a YouTube sensation, an Instagrammer, or an online freelance writer. There are many jobs that you can perform online. Some even provide bookkeeping services. Some also offer tutorial services where they teach clients many subjects in the academe. Some also provide tutorial services for teaching a new language.
Who are the middle class families in the Philippines?The middle class in the Philippines are those who have office jobs or OFWs who earn at least PHP 18,000 a month (as a family).
What is the income of the middle class?The middle-income class is those that are not poor but are not rich. They have better living conditions than poor people, but they are not rich. Typically, it is a family that earns at least PHP 18,200. The highest is PHP 109,200 per month. If you earn higher than this, you are now in the upper-income range.
What is the standard family income in the Philippines?As of the end of the census for 2021, the average salary per year of a family in the Philippines is P307,190. There is no data for 2022 yet.
What is the poverty threshold in the Philippines?The average poverty threshold in the Philippines is a family income of ₱12,082 per month. If your family is earning more than this in a month, you are not considered poor.
Many middle class Filipino people consider themselves poor. It is a misconception because the real measurement of class depends on the economy. Keep in mind that poor people are those who have severe restrictions on their spending capacity.