COVID-19 Update – The coronavirus pandemic has been having a devastating impact on global poverty: people sick or at risk have been unable to work and due to border closures, market disruptions, or preventive measures, many businesses have been unable to obtain supplies or to retain their clients, which means many families are having to live with sharply reduced and very precarious incomes.  As a result, a publication by the United Nations University   estimates that globally the number of people living below US$1.90 per day could increase by 68 million in 2020 alone” and the World Bank forecasts that “COVID-19 could push 71 million people into extreme poverty in 2020” (see  and


Poverty is a concept that is much more complicated to analyze and measure than can intuitively be imagined.  Various approaches are possible. Acute poverty in particular has specific characteristics that warrant a multidimensional approach.  When these specific characteristics are analysed, we can obtain a better profile of the households that live in acute poverty. Recent developments appear to show positive developments and a convergence in the analytical tools used to study poverty.  These methodological preoccupations can appear somewhat dry and the reader may wish at any point to move directly to more concrete avenues to fight poverty in the areas of health, education and economic opportunity. Beyond methodological or sectoral considerations, the provision of international assistance by countries like Canada remains a critical ingredient for success.

Key Reference Documents

What is poverty?

Who are the acute poor?

Characteristics of acute poverty

Estimates of acute poverty

Official Development Assistance

Key Organizations

External Resources