Impact of Twin Crises on Human Welfare in Myanmar
Published on 03 December 2021
In estimating the effect of the double crisis on poverty rates in Myanmar, we rely on a ‘bottom-up’ approach which utilizes available survey data collected before and during the two crises. In this exercise, we rely on the following surveys: Myanmar Living Conditions Survey (2017) and Household Vulnerability Survey (2020) to estimate the effect of COVID-19. In addition, we couple the data above with the People’s Pulse Survey (May-June, 2021) in order to analyse the compounded effect of COVID-19 and military takeover on poverty rates. In April 2021 a UNDP analysis warned that half of the population in the country could be living in poverty by early 2022 (COVID-19, Coup D'etat and Poverty Impact on Myanmar 2021) This report updates the initial findings on the impact of the combined crisis on poverty, providing additional robustness to the findings from the initial report by relying on primary data collected in May-June, 2021. Building on the findings of the People's Pulse Survey it reconfirms that poverty headcount is likely to return to the levels not seen since 2005, effectively erasing the benefits of the pre-COVID-19 unprecedented economic growth. The report notes that a significant amount of money (4.5 percent of pre-COVID-19 GDP) would be needed to bring the new poor above the poverty line. This additional spending is sizeable, given that pre-COVID-19 spending on social transfers was less than one percent of GDP. The report finds that urban poverty is likely to increase by three-fold, also impacting the overall security of urban areas. The poverty gap (measure of depth of poverty) is likely to remain high in the poorest states, though it is likely to increase by a higher margin in states and regions such as Mandalay and Yangon.