The coronavirus crisis has pushed 150 million more children into poverty, according to an analysis published Wednesday night by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the U.K.-based charity Save the Children.
Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the number of children living in deprivation in low- and middle-income countries has increased by 15% to approximately 1.2 billion. The multidimensional poverty analysis used data on access to education, health care, housing, nutrition, sanitation and water from more than 70 countries.
Although the report already paints a dire picture, UNICEF warned the situation will likely worsen in the coming months.
“COVID-19 and the lockdown measures imposed to prevent its spread have pushed millions of children deeper into poverty,” UNICEF executive director Henrietta Fore said in a statement Wednesday. “Families on the cusp of escaping poverty have been pulled back in, while others are experiencing levels of deprivation they have never seen before. Most concerningly, we are closer to the beginning of this crisis than its end.”
The analysis noted that not only are more children across the globe experiencing poverty than before, but the poorest children are getting poorer as well.
UNICEF and Save the Children said they are both committed to continue to monitor the situation while working with governments and civil society to confront it.
“This pandemic has already caused the biggest global education emergency in history, and the increase in poverty will make it very hard for the most vulnerable children and their families to make up for the loss,” Save the Children International CEO Inger Ashing said in a statement Wednesday. “Children who lose out on education are more likely to be forced into child labour or early marriage and be trapped in a cycle of poverty for years to come. We cannot afford to let a whole generation of children become victims of this pandemic. National governments and the international community must step up to soften the blow.”
ABC News’ Dragana Jovanovic contributed to this report.