Composite of black and white portraits

The COVID-19 pandemic is a stark reminder that poverty isn’t just about income. Within and across countries, poor and marginalized communities are disproportionately affected by the pandemic in terms of infection rates, economic losses and access to vaccines and other health care imperatives. Understanding the multidimensional nature of poverty can help us design a more resilient recovery that leaves no one behind. And UNDP’s Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) gives us a critical tool to measure and monitor poverty in all its forms.

A girl sits on the ground among a large group of children in a class.

After more than a decade of gains against poverty, the number of poor people in Myanmar could double as a result of the combined impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing political crisis, according to new research by the UNDP. The study, entitled “COVID-19, Coup d’état and Poverty: Compounding Negative Shocks and their Impact on Human Development in Myanmar” warns that, if unchecked, the combined effect of these two crises could push up to 12 million people into poverty.

Image of a busy street with the letters over the image that read: 2020 The Year in Review.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact our lives, the World Bank provides an overview in 12 charts and graphics, of its research in the face of a truly unprecedented crisis.

Entrance to a shanty town.

For almost 25 years, extreme poverty was steadily declining. Now, for the first time in a generation, it is increasing. This setback is largely due to major challenges — COVID-19, conflict, and climate change — facing all countries. The increase in extreme poverty from 2019 to 2020 is projected to be larger than any time since the World Bank started tracking poverty globally in a consistent manner. A new World Bank report — Poverty and Shared Prosperity 2020: Reversals of Fortune — sheds light on the threats to poverty reduction and provides recommendations to navigate this tough terrain.

A woman sitting on the ground shapes discs to bake under the sun.

The theme for this year’s International Day for the Eradication of Poverty (17 October) addresses the challenge of achieving social and environmental justice for all. The growing recognition of the multi-dimensionality of poverty means that these two issues are inseparably intertwined, and that social justice cannot be fully realized without aggressively rectifying environmental injustices at the same time. The participation, knowledge, contributions and experience of people living in poverty must be reflected in our efforts to build an equitable and sustainable world.

A woman throws ashes at a pond.

For almost 25 years, extreme poverty was steadily declining. Now, for the first time in a generation, the quest to end poverty has suffered its worst setback due to COVID 19, conflict, and climate change. Communities, countries and continents are facing these daunting challenges. A new World Bank report — Poverty and Shared Prosperity 2020: Reversals of Fortune — sheds new light on the threats to poverty reduction and provides recommendations to navigate this tough terrain. 

World Bank: 2020 has brought an unprecedented challenge to the fight against poverty.

men working with shovels

Out of 114 measured, 15 countries experienced the largest annual average percentage point declines in extreme poverty rate between 2000 and 2015. In each of these countries, an average of at least 1.6% of the population moved out of extreme poverty every year. Tanzania, Tajikistan and Chad top the list.

smiling children

Low-cost initiatives such as insecticide-treated mosquito nets and child de-worming programmes are proof that the world can take effective action to reduce poverty, a Nobel Prize-winning economist has said, as the world marks the 

diverse faces

Our understanding of poverty has grown. We now know that is not just about being able to feed your family or pay the bills on time—it extends its reach to every aspect of a person’s life, blighting her education, health, as well as her future along with that of her children’s. Are children in school? Do families have healthcare? Do households have safe water, sanitation, and electricity? These are some of the factors that can illustrate multidimensional poverty, which looks at the different deprivations people face when they lack the essentials for a dignified and decent life.

schoolchildren peek through window bars

Observed on 17 October, the Day is dedicated this year to the 30th anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Convention recognizes the right of every child to a standard of living adequate for the child’s physical, mental, spiritual, moral and social development. When child poverty is recognized as a denial of children’s human rights, people in positions of responsibility and power are legally bound to promote, protect and fulfil children’s rights. Join the #EndPoverty global campaign.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres is greeted on his visit to the Central African Republic

While global poverty rates have been cut by more than half since 2000, one in ten people in developing regions still lives on less than US$1.90 a day — the internationally agreed poverty line, and millions of others live on slightly more than this daily amount.