Going without? Household economics in Kenya

On average, Kenya citizens estimate their daily needs at KES 99 per person yet 8 out of 10 citizens (81%) feel their income is insufficient to meet their household’s needs. Faced with these cash constraints, half (49%) of those affected tighten their expenditure to survive.

These findings were released by Twaweza in a research brief titled Going Without? Household economics in Kenya. The brief is based on data from Sauti za Wananchi, Africa’s first nationally representative high frequency mobile phone survey. The findings are based on data collected from 1,739 respondents across Kenya in September to October 2016.

The data provide insight into the many faces of poverty which a significant number of Kenyans experience.

  • Food: Almost half of Kenyans (43%) went to bed without eating for the whole day due to a lack of money or other resources and 65% skipped a meal when hungry in the past three months
  • Education: Almost half (44%) of the households with school-going children have had to withdraw their children from school in the past six months because they could not pay the fees or buy school supplies
  • Housing: A relatively small but significant proportion (23%) of Kenyans rent their homes (23%), but three out of four of them have had difficulty paying their rent in the past 12 months.

Citizens name inflation and the high cost of living as the main problems facing their households (41%) and the country as a whole (34%).

If citizens were given KES 10,000 by the government as a gift, they would spend three quarters of it on starting or growing a business (KES 3,600), on school fees (KES 1,900) and on food (KES 1,900)

"During the last three months, was there a time when …?" 


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Authors: Ben Taylor



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