According to a new report published by the World Bank, the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed between 88 million and 114 million people into extreme poverty. This is by far the largest increase in extreme poverty in almost three decades and marks an end to a two-decade decline in poverty rates. The World Bank defines extreme poverty as living on less than $1.90 a day, or $700 a year. The World Bank estimates that a total of 703-729 million people are currently living in extreme poverty, a number that could rise further in 2021.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of people living in extreme poverty at the beginning of 2020 was estimated to be 615 million. A spokeswoman for the World Bank’s Poverty and Equity Global Practice stated that this is the world setback witnessed in a generation, despite the global financial crisis of the early years of 2000. The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic economically have devastated countries financially.