The economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic could plunge an extra 395 million people into extreme poverty and swell the total number of those living on less than $1.90 a day worldwide to more than one billion, according to a new report.
The document - published by the United Nations University World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU-WIDER) - played through a number of scenarios, taking into account the World Bank's various poverty lines - from extreme poverty, defined as living on $1.90 a day or less, to higher poverty lines of living on less than $5.50 a day.
Under the worst scenario - a 20 percent contraction in per capita income or consumption - the number of those living in extreme poverty could rise to 1.12 billion. The same contraction, applied to the $5.50 threshold among upper-middle-income countries, could see more than 3.7 billion people - or just over half the world's population - live below this poverty line.
"The outlook for the world's poorest looks grim unless governments do more and do it quickly and make up the daily loss of income the poor face," said Andy Sumner, one of the report's authors. "The result," he said, "is progress on poverty reduction could be set back 20 to 30 years, making the UN goal of ending poverty look like a pipe dream."