Socio-economic impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on households in the Democratic Republic of Congo

5 iterations of the survey between August 2020 and February 2021


A fragile economic recovery is continuing however households remain extremely vulnerable to any potential new shocks such as a second wave of Covid-19 or worsening food security. The economic outlook for many households remains difficult.


of households say their household income is less than before the pandemic, compared to two-thirds (68%) in August.

The percentage of low-income households reporting a decrease in income (64%) has also dropped but remains significantly higher than the average.

For the first time in this study, households in Kinshasa reported higher rates of income disruption than the national average (54%) - potentially reflecting disruption from the second wave reported in the capital earlier this month.

Though previously the rate of households reporting increased costs was growing on a monthly basis, in November that trend reversed, although the improvement was modest.


said their household costs were higher in November than they were prior to the pandemic – with no statistically significant difference between the average and low-income households.

This rate was lower than seen in October and remains similar to levels seen in August and September, suggesting some of the inflationary measures put in place in Q3 are starting to take effect.

This trend however was not seen in rural areas where almost the same proportion of households (59% in Nov and 57% in Oct) reported higher prices than prior to the pandemic.

However this recovery remains fragile. Any second wave of Covid-19 or greater issues of food scarcity will still compound an already challenging situation.

The percentage of households who could support themselves for less than two weeks following a fall income increased in November from 34% to 45%. For low-income households it was even higher – 60%.

Though households reporting reduced consumption of food dropped to 43% (56% for low income) the rate is still higher than the 35% seen in August.


of households with debt anticipate not being able to make their next payment, a slight increase from the 23% reported in October.

About the study

The domestic restrictions imposed by the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and the global economic downturn have created a challenging environment for households in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Households therefore need government support to minimise the negative effects of this crisis. The objective of this study is to provide analysis developed through direct household input during the data collection phase to support evidence-based decision-making processes regarding the effects of government decisions taken so far and the additional measures that could be taken to address household needs.

The study is the result of a partnership between Élan RDC and Kinshasa Digital. The initial August 2020 survey on the impact of COVID-19 on households was well received. This new study includes slight modifications compared to the August 2020 survey. More iterations are planned (October, November, December - January and early February 2021). They will include information on households across the country on a monthly basis in order to understand the nature of the challenges they face and how they are changing.

Results from each iteration of the survey are available to download.

Survey results

All 3 iterations combined.

1.015 people were contacted for iteration n°1 of the household survey, which carried out between 31 of July and 13 of August 2020.

Download iteration n°1 results

2.200 people were contacted for iteration n°2 of the household survey, which carried out between 14 of August and 11 of September 2020.

Download iteration n°2 results

2.200 people were contacted for iteration n°3 of the household survey, which carried out between September 22 to October 13 2020

Download iteration n°3 results

2.200 people were contacted for iteration n°4 of the household survey, which carried out between October 14 to November 26 2020