For the first time since 2000, there has been an uptick in the acceleration of extreme global poverty. The World Bank reported on October 7th that between 88 and 114 million people had been thrown into extreme poverty because of COVID-19, and an expected 150 million people will be in the same position by the end of this year.
The World Bank’s estimates show a much more dire situation than previously expected. For example, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation reported 37 million people went into extreme poverty because of the pandemic.
The new estimates show that a between 703 and 729 million people are in extreme poverty- defined as living on less than $1.90 a day- and that the number could rise further in 2021. Before the pandemic struck, the number of people in in extreme poverty was estimated at 615 million for 2020.
At least 9.1 to 9.4% of the world’s population will fall into extreme poverty in 2020. This is not too different from the poverty rate in 2017, which was at 9.2%. But before the COVID-19 pandemic, the poverty rate was expected to drop to 7.9% in 2020. And between 1990 and 2015 global poverty was decreasing by 1 point every year. This reversal of poverty reduction is by far the largest increase since 1990, when the World Bank first started recording these rates.