Families on the Edge (Issue 4)

Two-steps forward, one step back: The new normal for Malaysia’s urban poor?

Scene at a low cost flat in KL
DM Analytics


The Families on the Edge research project was commissioned by UNICEF and UNFPA to support evidence-informed policy-making and public dialogue on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on women and children in low-income urban families in Malaysia, as well as the relevance, adequacy and accessibility of public policy responses to the pandemic. The project involved surveying 500 low-income households living in sixteen of Kuala Lumpur’s public housing estates in May 2020, September 2020, December 2020 and March 2021. Minireports or statistical updates have been published after each of these surveys and a consolidated final analytical report is planned for May 2021. Given its focus on the residents of Kuala Lumpur’s low-cost public housing estates, Families on the Edge is not intended to provide nationally representative data but rather aims to provide specific insights into the experiences of Malaysia’s urban low-income families who comprise around 10 per cent of Malaysia’s population.

This report is the final in the series and was conducted in March 2021 – almost exactly a year after the first COVID-19 Movement Control Order came into force. The reports provide data on a large number of indicators that have been tracked over the course of the project, while also providing insights on the future prospects for the participant families. The project concludes with indicative policy recommendations for consideration by the Government of Malaysia and other stakeholders.

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