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December 16, 2018

17 million Kenyans live on less than Sh92 a day — World Bank report

Kenyans celebrating the Christmas at Jomo Kenyatta public beach. file
Kenyans celebrating the Christmas at Jomo Kenyatta public beach. file

At least 17.4 million Kenyans are living below Sh92.4 per day, latest World Bank data on poverty rates shows.

 This is below the International Poverty Line set at Sh191.33 per person per day, using 2011 Purchasing Power Parity conversion factors.

 Neighbouring Tanzania has 20.7 million of its population living below Sh54.98, while 17.3 million Ugandans also live below the poverty line, spending Sh65.14.

 It means that these populations are unable to buy sufficient food to meet the recommended daily nutritional requirements for being healthy and to afford minimal non- food expenditures.

 The proportion is 36.8 per cent of the total population, a decline from 21.19 million Kenyans who lived below the poverty line in 2005.

 The Banks-Kenya Poverty and Equity Brief shows that only 8.8 million Kenyans are able to spend Sh267.5 a day without feeling the pinch. They are classified to live above the Upper Middle Income Class Poverty line.

 Briefs from Tanzania and Uganda showed that 17.9 million Tanzanians and 6.5 million Ugandans can comfortably spend Sh159.15 and Sh188.57 a day respectively.

 Only 18.4 million Kenyans are considered to live above the lower middle income class poverty line. This means that they are able to comfortably spend Sh155.7 per day.

 The report further classified 23.9 million of Tanzania’s population under the Lower Middle Income class for their ability to spend Sh92.59 a day compared to Uganda’s 13.9 million that spend Sh109.71 per day. 

Food security, low levels of education attainment,access to improved sanitation and water have been attributed to the current poverty level. 

The data is derived from the current estimate of global poverty done in 2015/2016 that has replaced the last study which was done in 2005/2006.

 While it did not give statistics of the urban and rural poor, the brief noted that poverty levels remained stagnant in most urban and north eastern counties while it decreased in rural and non-marginalized counties. 

However, Kenya National Bureau of Statistics shows in its current Household Budget Survey that the overall rural and urban poverty lines are, respectively Sh3,252 and Sh5,995 per month per person and include minimum provisions for both food and non-food expenditures.

 Households whose adult equivalent food consumption expenditure per person per month fell below Sh1,954 in rural areas and Sh2,551 in urban areas were considered to be food insecure.

 According to the study, a reduction in inequality in the country largely contributed to the decline in the poverty levels and if reduced further it can help accelerate poverty reduction.

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