Everybody knows that the pandemic has had a chilling impact on people’s daily lives.
But how bad is it? And in particular, how are people faring in countries that aren’t as well-off as, say, the United States or European nations?
A study published in February in the journal Science Advances aims to provide some answers.
From April to July 2020, researchers collected data on the socioeconomic impact of COVID-19 from over 30,000 households in nine lower- and middle-income countries: Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Colombia, Ghana, Kenya, Nepal, Philippines, Rwanda and Sierra Leone. In phone surveys using random numbers, researchers asked families in a range of income brackets how the pandemic has affected their jobs and income, their health, their ability to put food on the table and their children’s education.
“It was important to capture the economic impact of COVID on [all economic classes],” says Shana Warren, a co-investigator of the report and a research scientist at Innovations for Poverty Action, a U.S. nonprofit organization that studies anti-poverty programs. She is one of 22 researchers from institutions across the globe who worked on the study.
“As we’ve seen in the U.S., it’s not just the poorest Americans who have suffered. And the same is likely to have been true in lower- and middle- income countries. So we wanted to capture the full picture,” she adds.
An analysis of those responses reveals a widespread decline in living standards across the nine countries. Fifty to 80% of respondents in Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Colombia, Ghana, Kenya, Rwanda and Sierra Leone experienced a drop in income.
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What A 30,000-Person Survey Reveals About Day-To-Day Life In The Pandemic