One in six children lives in extreme poverty- says UNICEF and World Bank.

World Bank Group and UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) recently published ‘Global Estimate of Children in Monetary Poverty : An Update’ analysis. The analysis estimated one in six children or 356 million children globally were living in extreme poverty before the COVID-19 pandemic.  The situation is going to worsen significantly the analysis says.


  • Sub-Saharan Africa having a limited social safety nets and it accounts for two-thirds of children living in households struggling to survive.
  • South Asia accounts for nearly one-fifth of the children who struggle to survive.
  • As per the analysis, the number of children living in extreme poverty decreased between 2013-2017  by 29 million.
  • The report highlights that nearly 20 % of the youngest children, below age 5, live in extremely poor households in the developing world.
  • 40 % of the extreme Child poverty are prevalent in fragile and conflict-affected countries compared to nearly 15%  in other countries.


Extreme poverty deprives millions of children of the opportunity to reach their potential in terms of physical and cognitive development. It also threatens their ability to get good jobs in adulthood.

Way Forward

Governments urgently need a children’s recovery plan to prevent children and families from reaching extreme levels of poverty. World Bank and UNICEF data also suggest to expand social protection programmes specially the cash transfers for a long term human capital investment. Governments need to scale up and adjust their social protection systems and programmes including the innovations for financial sustainability and strengthening legal and institutional frameworks. They need to take measures to protect human capital, expand child and family benefits for the long term and invest in family-friendly policies such as paid parental leave.