Assessment of COVID-19 Impact on Poverty and Vulnerability in Iraq

Poverty and Vulnerability in Iraq

Noor, 10 years old, from Sinjar, now living in Harsham Camp, Iraq



  • 4.5 million (11.7%) Iraqis are pushed below the poverty line as a result of COVID-19 pandemic and the associated socio-economic impacts. Losses to jobs and rising prices are causing the national poverty rate to climb to 31.7% from 20% in 2018.
  • With an additional 15.8% falling into poverty, children are the most impacted by the crisis. While 1 out of 5 children were poor before the crisis, the ratio is almost doubling to 2 out 5 children (37.9%) as the crisis unfolds.
  • 42% of the population are vulnerable; facing a higher risk as they are deprived in more than one dimension of the following education, health, living conditions, and financial security. Disruption to services and the adoption of negative coping strategies by poor households are set to increase deprivation in wellbeing and rising inequality especially among children.
  • For children 1 in 2 (48.8%) is at higher risk suffering deprivation in more than one dimension. Deprivation in school enrolment and access to improved water source are leading contributor to households and children’s vulnerability.
  • Scaling-up social protection and promoting equal access to quality social services with focus on education, health, and child protection are central policy directions to respond to COVID-19 crises. For Children and the future of Iraq, swift response is needed to protect children from poverty and to invest to avoid a learning crisis, rising malnutrition and child mortality, and rising violence against children.
UNICEF Iraq, The World Bank, Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative and the Ministry of Planning in Iraq
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