The State of Social Safety Nets 2018

Evidence now shows that social safety nets are making a substantial contribution in the fight against poverty. Safety nets help people escape extreme poverty, close the poverty gap, and reduce inequality. Safety nets build household resilience to respond to shocks across the life cycle, key to building human capital. The new report highlights that while safety nets helped 36 percent of the poorest escape extreme poverty, only one in five of the poorest in low-income countries are covered by safety net programs. The report focuses on two special themes: adaptive social protection — increasing the responsiveness of social protection programs to adapt to and meet changed needs on the ground after shocks have materialized; and old-age pensions —which provide an alternative source of income for elderly adults who are not covered by contributory schemes.