Kenya’s poorest, most unequal Counties – Report
Published on: July 12, 2021 03:13 (EAT)
The County of Turkana has ranked as both the poorest and most unequal devolved unit in the country according to a just-released report. The joint report dubbed as the inequality trends and diagnostics in Kenya 2020 is a joint survey by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) and parts including the University of Nairobi. The new report curves out the findings by analyzing previous surveys cutting across a 20-year period between 1994 and 2016. Turkana has an absolute poverty rate of 79.4 per cent, a term defined simply as the inability for a household, family or person to meet basic needs including food, shelter, safe drinking water, education and healthcare. While there exist no direct relation between absolute poverty and inequality, Turkana is also the most unequal region with a gini index score of 0.559. A greater gini index means a higher rate of inequality while the vice versa mirrors low levels of inequality. Mandera, Samburu, Busia and Garissa rank among the other top five poor with an absolute poverty rate of 77.6, 75.8, 69.3 and 65.5 per cent. Samburu is coincidentally in the most unequal shortlist alongside Kajiado, Kisumu, Kilifi and Tana River counties. Nairobi, Nyeri, Meru, Kirinyaga, Kiambu and Machokos rank as the least poor having absolute poverty rates of 16.8, 19.3, 19.4, 20 and 23.3 per cent respectively. All five have a generally low level of inequality below the national gini ratio of 0.404. Overall the level of inequality has shrunk over the 20-year period having started out at a worse of score of 0.46. Other indices including Theil, Atkinson and the Palma ratio all show a decline in in-equality levels over the same period. Interestingly, the level of inequality is higher among the non-poor than poor. It is also higher among household whose heads have a higher level of education. Moreover, inequality is greater in urban areas than in the grassroots. 35 of 47 Counties have registered a decline in inequality while 12 have seen the metric increase. Nairobi County has surprised having cut its levels of inequality the most in the two decade window. Wajir the least unequal County with a Gini coefficient score of 0.272 ahead of Mombasa, Bomet, Homa Bay and Vihiga.