Report lists counties with highest levels of poverty

Stakeholders keenly follow release of the ‘2014 Economic Survey Report’ at  Kenyatta International Convention Centre, Tuesday. [PHOTO: MBUGUA KIBERA/STANDARD]


NAIROBI, KENYA: Kakamega County contributes to the national poverty index 25 times more than what Lamu contributes, a new report has shown.

The Economic Survey 2014 indicates that a county with a high population of poor people contributes immensely to the national poverty index.

The survey states that the contribution to the national poverty indicator is defined as the number of poor people in a county expressed as a percentage of the total number of poor people in the country.

The indicator is more sensitive to population than to poverty incidence in a given area.

“A county with a high population and low poverty incidence may have a higher contribution to national poverty than one with less population even if it has a high poverty incidence,” reads part of the report.

According to the survey, Kakamega County, which is ranked the highest, has poverty index of 4.77 per cent while Lamu has 0.19 per cent.

The top five contributors to national poverty are Kakamega, Mandera (4.69), Turkana (4.13), Nairobi (3.94) and Bungoma with 3.79 per cent.

Lamu, Isiolo (0.73), Kirinyaga (0.79), Taita Taveta (0.82) and Tharaka Nithi (0.87) per cent are the lowest contributors to the national poverty index. According to the 2009 national census, Kakamega has a population of 1.64 million and Mandera, Turkana, Nairobi and Bungoma have 927,605, 801,346, 3.06 million and 1.35 million respectively.

The report indicates that poverty incidences per county ranged from a low of 21.8 per cent in Nairobi to a high of 87.5 in Turkana.

This implies that two in every 10 people in Nairobi live below poverty line compared to nine in every 10 people living in Turkana County.

Additionally, poverty rate in Nairobi is approximately half the national average — 45.2 per cent, while Turkana has almost double the national poverty incidence.

The results also show that Wajir and Mandera in Northern Kenya have high poverty incidences of above 80 per cent while those with low poverty rates of below 30 per cent are Kiambu, Kirinyaga and Nyeri counties.


Counties like Siaya (38.2), Kisumu (39.9), Trans Nzoia (41.2), Machakos (42.6), Bungoma (47.3), Laikipia (47.9), (Homa Bay) 48.4, Kakamega (49.2) and Migori (49.6) per cent have poverty indices ranging from 38 to 50 per cent respectively.  The poverty line is a threshold below which people are deemed to be poor. The poverty gap shows how far off individuals are from the poverty line.

According to the results, nearly five in every 10 people in the rural areas are poor compared to only three in 10 in urban areas.