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BRIEF February 22, 2021

Tackling Uncertainty with Real-Time Data: Tracing COVID-19’s Impact on Households and Firms in Armenia


Photos: World Bank Armenia

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the Armenian economy into shutdown and led to a steep economic contraction of 8 percent in 2020. Despite signs of a gradual recovery and the development of new vaccines, there are still uncertainties on the pathway to a full economic recovery.

According to the latest poverty projection by the World Bank, the economic shock from the pandemic could have impoverished 70,000 people in Armenia and over 720,000 Armenians could suffer downward mobility, shifting to a lower-welfare group in 2020.

These profound impacts of the crisis underscore the urgency of timely data and real-time analyses for countries to quickly and effectively mitigate the effects of the shock and lay the groundwork for future resilience.

To support the Government of Armenia in managing the impacts of the pandemic and protect its people and economy, the World Bank has collaborated with various partners to collect a series of high-frequency phone surveys (HFPSs) that can be used widely to monitor the evolution of the crisis and its impacts on households and firms.

This webpage serves as a platform to share the HFPSs collected and the analyses produced for Armenia by the World Bank and other development partners.

Household COVID-19 Monitoring Survey

The World Bank collaborated with UNICEF Armenia and jointly implemented two-rounds of HFPS to assess household vulnerabilities and children's welfare after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic (July – September 2020). This data will improve understanding of the socio-economic consequences of the pandemic and restrictive measures on households and children and support the development of a better response and recovery strategies for addressing COVID-19.

The survey included a sample of 4,555 households, and 1,648 households responding to a second questionnaire focused on child welfare. Currently, the World Bank and UNICEF are preparing for the third- and fourth- round of follow-up surveys to be conducted in Spring 2021.

Firm COVID-19 Monitoring Survey

For firm-level analyses, Enterprise Surveys data was collected on firms that are representative of the private sector. The surveys cover a broad range of business environment topics, including access to finance, corruption, infrastructure, crime, competition, and performance measures. 

In Armenia, the survey was first collected between December 2019 and April 2020 to serve as a baseline to estimate the impact of COVID-19. The second round was collected in June 2020 by phone-interviews to enterprises that had previously participated in the 2019 Enterprise Survey. The second round COVID-19 follow-up survey in Armenia interviewed 120 micro-firms (with less than 5 employees) in services and manufacturing, after the outbreak of the pandemic.

Poverty Projection Based on Nationally Representative Household Survey

The World Bank has produced a number of analytical pieces to address the short-term impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on poverty and distributional outcomes in Armenia, using data from the latest nationally representative household survey as the main data source (2018 Income and Living Conditions Survey).

Three types of analyses were conducted sequentially: projections through poverty/growth elasticity methods assuming neutral impact of COVID-19 based on macroeconomic projections, micro-simulation incorporating possible distributional impact of COVID-19 on household welfare and inequality, and impact assessment of COVID-19 on household welfare incorporating mitigation policy responses.