We know you see a lot of big numbers thrown around, especially when it comes to poverty. With all the information flying at us a million miles a minute, we often don’t get a chance to read further into them. This page is designed to help you look further into some of the facts and stats you might read on our blog, social media feeds or other channels.



*Extreme poverty is defined as living on less than $1.90 a day. (World Bank)

“The number of global poor is estimated to have risen to 803 million in 2020, much greater than the 672 million initially expected. The global poverty rate, which had been in steady decline this century, is likely to have increased to 10.4 per cent, nearly reverting to the rate in 2017, instead of sinking to a new low of 8.7 per cent, as previously expected.” (Pew Research Center)

“Globally, the increase in poverty that occurred in 2020 due to COVID still lingers, and the COVID-induced poor in 2021 continues to be 97 million people.” (World Bank)

Southern Asia and sub-Saharan Africa are expected to see the largest increases in extreme poverty, with an additional 32 million and 26 million people, respectively, living below the international poverty line as a result of the pandemic.” (United Nations)

“Businesses most affected by the shock [of the pandemic]—small firms and those in poorer countries—were the least likely to receive government support.” (World Bank)


“As more families fall into extreme poverty, children in impoverished communities are at much greater risk of child labour, child marriage and child trafficking.” (United Nations)

“The number of acutely malnourished children could rise by over 14 per cent due to the pandemic. Because of this, an additional 6.7 million children could suffer from malnutrition.” (World Food Programme)

“Although distance learning solutions are provided in four out of five countries with [pandemic-related] school closures, at least 500 million children and youth are currently excluded from these options.” (United Nations)

“Learning losses have been large and inequitable, disproportionately affecting poorer and younger students. Children in many countries have missed out on most or all of the academic learning they would ordinarily have acquired in school, with younger and more marginalized children often missing out the most.” (UNESCO) 


COVID-19 has caused an additional 10,000 children to die of hunger each month.” (AP News)

“If current trends continue, the number of hungry people will reach 840 million by 2030.” (United Nations)

“COVID-19 impact has led to severe and widespread increases in global food insecurity, affecting vulnerable households in almost every country, with impacts expected to continue into 2022 and possibly beyond.” (World Bank)

“It is estimated that globally, over 365 million primary school children are missing out on school meals. For poor households, the loss of school meals means a negative impact on income and food security.” (UNESCO)


The focus on the fight against COVID-19 could lead to the neglect and even greater increases in cases of other diseases which would overwhelm already over-stretched health services. (World Economic Forum)

“COVID-19-related service disruptions could cause hundreds of thousands of additional deaths from AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis and neglected tropical diseases.” (United Nations)

“COVID-19 continues to disrupt essential health services in 90% of countries.” (World Health Organization)

“An estimated 100 million people worldwide are homeless and one in four people live in conditions that are harmful to their health, safety and prosperity.” (UN-Habitat)

Women and girls

“Two-thirds of jobs lost permanently to COVID are women’s jobs.” (International Labour Organization)

“Globally, 70 per cent of health workers and first responders and women.” (UN Women)

“Women and girls have disproportionately suffered the socioeconomic impacts of COVID-19 – be it through lost jobs and reduced work hours, increased intensity of care and domestic work, and strains on their physical and mental health.” (UN Women)

“Although job losses affected nearly a quarter of women and men, 29 per cent of working-aged mothers living with children lost their jobs compared to only 20 per cent of working-aged men living with children.” (UN Women)

“School and daycare closures, along with the reduced availability of outside help, have led to months of additional work for women. The responsibility of caring for sick and elderly family members often falls on women as well.” (UN Women)

An estimated one in 10 girls in Sub-Saharan Africa misses school during their menstrual cycle. (UNESCO)

An estimated 11 million girls will leave school due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (UNESCO)


Stats can be overwhelming, but there’s good news: even in difficult times, we can do good.

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[Last update: January 20, 2022]

Written by: Compassion Canada