Global extreme poverty rose in 2020 for the first time in over 20 years. Disruptions caused by COVID-19 were compounded by conflict and climate change, which were already slowing progress in poverty reduction. Because of the pandemic, around 100 million more people around the world are living in extreme poverty (less than $1.90 a day).
In the Europe and Central Asia region, the pandemic will likely have pushed an additional 4.3 million people into poverty (less than $5.50 a day) by the end of 2021. Although this estimate is smaller compared with previous forecasts, it suggests that the recovery is not complete or inclusive, with household incomes continuing to be dampened by job losses and a reduction in working hours, the removal of policy support, and high inflation, particularly for food items.
Although economic activity is recovering in Europe and Central Asia, with growth projected to expand by 5.5 percent in 2021, the outlook remains highly uncertain. Containing COVID-19 remains a challenge in the region, and vaccine access continues to be unequal. To date, there have been more than 450 million vaccinations in the region, but there is still a long way to go.
Fair, broad access to effective and safe COVID-19 vaccines is vital to save lives and strengthen global economic recovery, especially in low-income countries. The pandemic will not end until everyone has access to vaccines, including people in developing countries. This will take a global effort.
Learn more about fighting poverty in Europe and Central Asia:
How has the pandemic affected Croatian Households? (Panel Discussion, Facebook)
Overcoming the Pandemic and Ending Poverty in Central Asia (Online Event)
Poverty in Tajikistan, 2021 (Infographic)