Socioeconomic impacts of COVID-19 in low-income countries

Anna Josephson, Talip Kilic, Jeffrey D. Michler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The emergence of SARS-CoV-2 and attempts to limit its spread have resulted in a contraction of the global economy. Here we document the socioeconomic impacts of the pandemic among households, adults and children in low-income countries. To do so, we rely on longitudinal household survey data from Ethiopia, Malawi, Nigeria and Uganda, originating from pre-COVID-19 face-to-face household surveys plus phone surveys implemented during the pandemic. We estimate that 256 million individuals—77% of the population—live in households that have lost income during the pandemic. Attempts to cope with this loss are exacerbated by food insecurity and an inability to access medicine and staple foods. Finally, we find that student–teacher contact has dropped from a pre-COVID-19 rate of 96% to just 17% among households with school-aged children. These findings can inform decisions by governments and international organizations on measures to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalNature Human Behaviour
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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