BEIRUT – Poverty in Lebanon tripled in the decade since the small Mediterranean country plunged into a prolonged financial crisis, the World Bank said Thursday.

The percentage of people in Lebanon living below the poverty line rose from 12% in 2012 to 44% in 2022, the bank said in a report based on surveys conducted in five of the country’s eight governorates.

It is the most detailed picture of the country’s economic conditions since the crisis began in late 2019, although World Bank officials acknowledged that the study is incomplete as experts did not have access to three governorates in the south and east of the country.

The findings show sharp differences in poverty levels in different areas of Lebanon and between Lebanese citizens and Syrian refugees who have arrived in the country.

In Beirut governorate, in contrast to the rest of the country, poverty actually decreased from 4% to 2%, while in the remote Akkar region in the north, the percentage increased from 22% to 62%.

Among Lebanese citizens, the poverty rate in 2022 was 33%, while among Syrians it was 87%. While the survey found an increase in the percentage of Lebanese working in unskilled labor such as construction and agriculture, it found that the majority of Lebanese have more advanced skill jobs, while the majority of Syrians have more elementary skill jobs.

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