New brief: Survey Round 6
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 COVID-19 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 40.3 percent (year-on-year) in January 2023, while the kip lost 50 percent of its value over the year up to January 2023.
While economic activities have recently picked up, the rising cost of living is 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 20 to July 16, 2020, when Laos had just exited the first nationwide COVID-19 lockdown. The second round was conducted from February 26 to March 24, 2021, one year into the pandemic. A third round followed from April 26 to May 30, 2021, early in the second lockdown, and a fourth survey carried out from October 25 to November 19, 2021, as lockdown measures began to ease. The fifth round occurred April 29 to May 23, 2022, and the sixth and latest survey ran from December 5, 2022, to January 4, 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 is also 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: Apr 25, 2023