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World Risk Poll: How Long Can People Survive Without Income?



The following content is sponsored by Lloyd's Register Foundation

How Long Can People Survive Without Income?

In the wake of natural disasters or economic shocks, a person could quickly be left without income, which is why financial security is such an important aspect of resilience. 

In this graphic, sponsored by Lloyd’s Register Foundation, we explore their latest survey, World Risk Poll 2021: A Resilient World? to see how financially secure people from country to country really are. 

Assessing Financial Security

In 2021, Lloyd’s Register Foundation partnered with Gallup and polled 125,000 people from 121 countries, asking how long people could cover their basic needs without income. Responses were classified by those who could survive for more than a month, a month or less, less than a week, and those who didn’t know or refused to say. 

Here is a ranking of those who could cover their needs for the longest length of time without income: 

RankCountryOver a MonthMonth or LessLess Than a WeekDK/Refused
#1🇸🇪 Sweden 89.8%8.1%1.4%0.7%
#2🇭🇰 Hong Kong84.5%12.8%2.3%0.4%
#3🇳🇴 Norway 83.5%13.9%1.6%1.0%
#4🇫🇮 Finland 83.2%13.3%3.4%0.1%
#5🇮🇸 Iceland 82.3%12.9%0.8%4.1%
#6🇩🇰 Denmark 82.0%13.6%4.1%0.3%
#7🇦🇹 Austria 80.8%13.9%1.7%3.6%
#8🇳🇱 Netherlands 80.5%15.2%3.7%0.6%
#9🇸🇰 Slovakia 79.4%16.4%2.8%1.4%
#10🇨🇦 Canada 79.3%17.6%2.4%0.7%

And the shortest length of time:

RankCountryOver a MonthMonth or LessLess Than a WeekDK/Refused
#112🇹🇬 Togo 28.9%35.6%22.9%12.6%
#113🇿🇼 Zimbabwe 28.8%47.7%21.3%2.3%
#114🇻🇪 Venezuela 28.4%56.9%14.1%0.6%
#115🇸🇳 Senegal 27.1%30.1%27.7%15.2%
#116🇮🇳 India 26.6%41.8%25.8%5.8%
#117🇵🇰 Pakistan 25.9%32.3%35.3%6.5%
#118🇱🇧 Lebanon 24.3%36.3%36.2%3.2%
#119🇯🇴 Jordan 19.2%38.1%33.7%9.0%
#120🇪🇬 Egypt 18.2%33.6%36.9%11.3%
#121🇧🇩 Bangladesh 16.4%35.3%21.2%27.1%

A Cause for Alarm

The study found that generally, those who could cover their needs the longest came from developed economies, and those who could cover their needs for the shortest length of time came from developing economies where financial security is more tenuous. 

With all that said, the volume of people around the globe who struggle financially is the true cause for alarm. The study found that a staggering 2.7 billion people could only cover their basic needs for a month or less without income, and of that number, 946 million could survive for a week at most.

Tackling Financial Insecurity

Urgent action is needed to tackle this disparity in income and lack of financial security, especially in developing economies. If left unchecked, this undermines global resilience in the face of climate change, natural disasters, and any number of other shocks. 

In the fourth and final part of this series, we’ll explore the World Risk Poll 2021: A Changed World? Perceptions and Experiences of Risk in the COVID Age and learn how the world views climate change.

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