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)

“A preliminary estimate for 2020, incorporating the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, projects that an additional 88 million to 115 million people will be pushed into extreme poverty, bringing the total to between 703 and 729 million.” (World Bank)

“A new Pew Research Center analysis finds that the global middle class encompassed 54 million fewer people in 2020 than the number projected prior to the onset of the pandemic. Meanwhile, the number of poor is estimated to have been 131 million higher because of the recession.” (Pew Research Center)

“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)

“Global extreme poverty is expected to rise in 2020 for the first time in over 20 years [since 1998].” (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)

“One year into the COVID-19 pandemic, over 800 million students, more than half the world’s student population, still face significant disruptions to their education, ranging from full school closures in 31 countries to reduced or part-time academic schedules in another 48 countries.” (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)

The coronavirus pandemic will see more than a quarter of a billion people suffering acute hunger by the end of 2020. The lives and livelihoods of 265 million people in low and middle-income countries will be under severe threat, up from a current 135 million.” (World Food Programme)

“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)


“COVID-19 could trigger a spike in other preventable infectious diseases.” (World Economic Forum)

“Disruption to health and vaccination services and limited access to diet and nutrition services have the potential to cause hundreds of thousands of additional under-5 deaths and tens of thousands of additional maternal deaths in 2020.” (United Nations)

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

“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)

“In 2021, it is expected there will be 118 women aged 25 to 34 in extreme poverty for every 100 men aged 25 to 34 in extreme poverty globally, and this ratio could rise to 121 poor women for every 100 poor men by 2030.” (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: May 14, 2021]

Written by: Compassion Canada