Covid crisis: 88 to 115 million people fall into extreme poverty


The year 2020 should have been marked by a further reduction in extreme poverty. But the Covid-19 pandemic has turned everything upside down: between 88 and 115 million additional people will only live on $ 1.90 a day, according to a World Bank report published Wednesday, October 7.

“Poverty reduction suffered its worst setback in decades, after nearly a quarter of a century of steadily declining extreme poverty around the world.”, summarizes the World Bank in this report.

The number of people living in extreme poverty is expected to continue to increase to 150 million by 2021. Eight in ten new poor will be in middle-income countries.

“The new poor are more urban, better educated and less likely to work in agriculture than those who lived in extreme poverty before Covid-19”, also underline the authors of the report, published ahead of the autumn meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. They work more in the service sectors, construction or industry, they add.

Almost 10% of the world’s population

Extreme poverty, the threshold of which is set at less than $ 1.90 per day, is expected to affect between 9.1% and 9.4% of the world population in 2020. This is ” a flashback “, deplores the institution of Washington, specifying that in 2017, the rate was 9.2%. Without the global shock caused by the health crisis, this figure should have fallen to 7.9% this year.

The report shows that a large part of “New poor” will be concentrated in countries that already had high poverty rates. Sub-Saharan Africa is “A region which should now be home to around a third of the people newly impoverished by the Covid-19”, he continues.

While city dwellers are increasingly affected, the poor remain mostly rural, young and undereducated:

“Four in five people living below the international poverty line reside in rural areas, although the rural population is only 48%. “

In 2018, half of the poor were children under the age of 15, although only a quarter of the world’s population. Women were over-represented.

The effects of the climate crisis and conflicts

If the pandemic is largely responsible for the sudden reversal of the trend, progress in poverty reduction had already stalled before the current recession, however, explain the authors, including economist Samuel Freije-Rodriguez and sociologist Michael Woolcock.

With their teams, they compiled data recorded between 2015 and 2017 which shows that 52 million people were able to lift themselves out of poverty, marking a slowdown in the reduction of poverty.

“Three converging forces are at the origin of this increase in global poverty and which threatens to extend its effects in the distant future: Covid-19, armed conflicts and climate change”, explained for his part the President of the World Bank, David Malpass in the foreword of the report.

New estimates indicate, for example, that up to 132 million people could fall into poverty by 2030, due to the multiple effects of climate.



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