Facts About Poverty in Kenya

Kenya has long struggled with the issue of poverty and with the symptoms that follow such as high rates of disease and child mortality. Life expectancy is low in Kenya, just one of the examples of the effects poverty has on a country. The following are 10 facts about poverty in Kenya.

Poverty in Kenya

  1. Around 35.5% of Kenya’s population is living below the poverty line, reported in 2016. This means basically that more than one-third of the entire country is living on less than the U.S. $1.90 per day. Much of Kenya is rural land, which contributes to high rates of the population living in poverty.
  2. Kenya ranked 154th out of 177 countries for life expectancy and GDP in a 2005 report by the UN. The entire region that surrounds Kenya also ranks low on that list. The situation in Kenya, however, has gotten notably better since this report.
  3. Desert land and unpredictable weather create an unstable economy. Over three-fourths of Kenya’s population depends on the agriculture sector to survive. A lack of fertile land and erratic weather creates an unreliable source of sustainability.
  4. Kenya government is known to be one of the most corrupted in the world. Impoverished people are unable to propel themselves upwards in society if their government is not working for them and government money is being misused.
  5. Levels of poverty in Kenya have improved significantly in the past decade. Currently, around 35.5% of the country is living in poverty, but in 2005, this number was 43.6%. Poverty in Kenya is nowadays lower than any other country in the Eastern Africa region, and it is still on the decline.
  6. A major contributor to decline in poverty rates lies in the agriculture sector. Good fortune in weather patterns is a great thing, but it leaves the prosperity Kenya has experienced in a vulnerable place. An unexpected drought could upturn progress made against poverty.
  7. Despite improvements, the World Bank does not believe poverty will be eradicated in Kenya by 2030. Representatives stated that although Kenya’s GDP has been growing yearly, the pace has not been fast enough to eliminate poverty by the above stated year.
  8. Kenya’s literacy rate has increased by 11% since 2005. This statistic is emblematic of the immense improvements Kenya has made in its education system. In comparison to similarly situated countries like Ghana, Kenya’s literacy rates are higher.
  9. Child mortality has decreased in the last decade. In 2008, the rate was 52 out of every 1,000 live births. In 2014 it had decreased to 39. Rates of deaths in children under the age of five also decreased from 74 out of 1,000 to 52.
  10. Among the benefits of decreased poverty levels, people of Kenya have experienced better access to sanitation. Despite this, Kenya still ranks low in comparison to some of its neighbor countries in terms of access to quality water sources. However, Kenya still ranks above countries like Ghana and Rwanda for improved sanitation.

The facts about poverty in Kenya has ameliorated significantly in recent decades. The country has expanded its education and system of health care, and the GDP has grown consistently every year. Although the situation is far from satisfactory, things are looking up for people in Kenya.

– Amelia Merchant

Photo: Flickr