The Unequal Burden of the Pandemic: Why the Fallout of Covid-19 Hits the Poor the Hardest
The current coronavirus pandemic is an unprecedented public health challenge that has devastating economic impacts for households. Using a sample of 230,540 respondents to online surveys in 17 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, we show that the economic impacts are large and unequal: 45% of respondents report that a household member lost a job, and among households owning small businesses, 59% of respondents report that a household member closed their business. Among households with the lowest income prior to the pandemic, 71% report that a household member lost their job and 61% report that a household member closed their business. Declines in food security and healthiness are among the disproportionate impacts. Our results provide evidence that the current public health crisis will exacerbate economic inequality, and they are among the rst estimates of the labor market and wellbeing impacts of the pandemic in developing countries.