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Pew Research Center COVID 19 Report – Important Points

Pew Research Center:


New research conducted by Pew Research Center has found that the coronavirus pandemic has pushed about 32 million Indians out of the middle class and increased poverty in the country.

  • The report is based on an analysis of World Bank data.
  • Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping the world.

Indian Scenario:

  • The poverty rate in India likely rose to 9.7% in 2020, up sharply from the January 2020 forecast of 4.3%.
    Increased Poverty:
  • From 2011 to 2019, the number of poor in India was estimated to have reduced to 78 million from 340 million.
  • In 2020, the number increased by 75 million.
  • Poor: People with incomes of USD 2 or less a day.
  • An increase in India accounts for nearly 60% of the global increase in poverty.
  • Record increase in Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) participants as proof that the poor were struggling to find work
  • The middle class in India is estimated to have shrunk by 3.2 crore in 2020.
  • Middle Class: Includes people with incomes of approximately Rs. 700-1,500 or USD 10-20 per day.
  • The middle income group is likely to have decreased from almost 10 crore to just 6.6 crore.
  • The vast majority of India’s population fall into the low income group.
  • This group shrank from 119.7 crore to 116.2 crore per day, with about 3.5 crore dropping below the poverty line.
  • Low Income Group: Includes people earning about Rs.150 to 700 per day.
  • The richer population also fell almost 30% to 1.8 crore people.
  • Rich: Includes the people who earn more than Rs.1,500 a day.
  • It was the only major economy to grow in 2020 and that has helped poverty levels to remain “virtually unchanged”.
  • In January 2021, the International Monetary Fund in its World Economic Outlook Report, estimated India’s economy to contract 8% in the Financial Year (FY) 2020 while China’s economy was expected to expand by 2.3% in 2020.
  • China’s middle class is likely to see a miniscule dip of just one crore, while the number of poor people may have gone up by 10 lakh.

Global Scenario:

Poverty Rate:

  • The global poverty rate also increased to 10.4% last year after witnessing a steady decline over the years.
  • It was previously expected that the poverty rate would decrease to 8.7% in 2020.

Poor Class:

  • The number of ‘global poor’ are estimated to have increased to 803 million in 2020, which is a significant increase from 672 million, the pre-pandemic prediction.

Middle Class:

  • From 2011 to 2019, the middle class population globally had increased to 1.34 billion from 899 million. Further, it was expected to increase by 54 million annually on average.
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