20 December 2022

Effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on Georgian children

As elsewhere in the world, the COVID-19 pandemic has inflicted multiple hardships on Georgian families. Some of these negative effects are already well-established – the pandemic resulted in 16,900 casualties (Worldometers, 2022); the economy shrank by 6.8 per cent in 2020 (Geostat, 2022a); and unemployment rose from 17.6 per cent in 2019 to 20.6 per cent in 2021 (Geostat, 2022b). However, there are no readily available statistics that allow to quantify the effects of the pandemic on various dimensions of Georgian children’s wellbeing. To address this shortcoming, the current research paper presents the analysis of the Real-Time Monitoring/Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey Plus (RTM/MICS Plus) data commissioned by UNICEF Georgia with the specific objective of monitoring Georgian families’ and children’s wellbeing during the pandemic. While some of the headline statistics from each of the six rounds of the survey have already been widely disseminated, this paper provides a more comprehensive view of the pandemic effects as it tries to address three overarching questions: To what extent various dimensions of child wellbeing were affected by pandemic and how did these evolve over time? Which groups of children were affected the most? To what extent did specific hardships, such as loss of family income amplify other risks for children? The paper is organized into seven sections. In the next section we develop theoretical framework for the analysis by discussing the ways in which the pandemic may affect children. In the third section we describe the data and the methodology used in the analysis. The following three sections present the results of the analysis. The final section concludes by summing up the main findings.