New brief: Survey Round 7
The World Bank in the Lao PDR began a series of Rapid Monitoring Phone Surveys in 2020 to monitor the social and economic impacts of COVID-19 on Lao households. Following the end of the pandemic, surveys continue so that data is available for the ongoing economic challenges.
Hopes of a rapid economic recovery after the pandemic have been dimmed by internal and external factors that threaten household living standards. Domestically, currency depreciation and high inflation, resulting from high levels of external debt and low foreign exchange reserves, have led to rising prices, particularly for imported fuel, food, and medicine. Inflation reached 41% percent (year-on-year) in February 2023, while the kip lost 50% of its value over the year up to January 2023.
While economic activities have picked up, rising living costs are having widespread effects, and these ongoing surveys provide insights into the distribution of the impact on Lao families. The first survey was conducted from June to July 2020, when Laos had just exited the first nationwide COVID-19 lockdown. The second round was conducted from February-March 2021, one year into the pandemic. A third round followed from April to May 2021, early in the second lockdown, and a fourth survey carried out October to November 2021, as lockdown measures began to ease. The fifth round occurred April-May 2022, the sixth December to January 2023, and the seventh and latest survey ran from May 29 to June 28, 2023.
This webpage provides links to the results of all survey rounds, plus a report on public service delivery and citizen expectations from the government response to COVID-19, drawing mainly on results from the second survey round. Round 6 was accompanied by a qualitative survey, conducted in late 2022 to provide a better understanding of how rural people perceived the economic and social impacts of both the COVID-19 pandemic and the deteriorating economic situation, particularly spiraling inflation.
The survey questionnaire is designed to cover themes such as access to food staples, food insecurity, employment, the impact of inflation on households, family businesses and farms, economic activities and income, coping mechanisms, and access to social assistance. The results of further rounds of the survey will be published as they become available.
Last Updated: Sep 12, 2023