Striking features of inequality in Kenya

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  1. Inequalities in Kenya are extreme. For example, in Wajir County out of a population of 522,830 peo­ple, only 2,242 people (0.4 percent of the population) can afford to spend Ksh7,200 or above.

  2. Kenyans living in different regions have completely different lifestyles and access to services. For example: Individuals in Nairobi County have 2.2 times more access to secondary education than an average Kenyan.

  3. Kenyans living within the same region have completely different lifestyles and access to services. For exam­ple: In urban areas, the share of those who spend Ksh7,200 or above in the fifth quintile is 121 times more than the share of those who spend Ksh1,440 or less.

  4. In spite of past development policies and funds such as Free Primary Education (FPE), Secondary Schools Bursary Fund (SEBF), Constituency Development Fund (CDF), Local Authority Transfer Fund (LATF) or Rural Electrification Fund (REF), levels of deprivation remain extremely high in some areas. A good example is in Loima Constituency in Turkana County where 93.0 percent of the population has no education, compared with Makadara Constituency in Nairobi County where only 8.2 percent of the population has no educa­tion, a difference of 84.8 percentage points.

  5. Geographical location is a major determinant of vulnerability and deprivation of essential services. For example: Individuals in urban areas have one and half times more access to improved water sources and two times more access to improved sanitation than their rural counterparts. Urban areas have 10 times more electricity coverage (51 percent) than rural areas (5 percent) .

  6. Some counties are deprived of some things and are well endowed in others. For example: Narok County has the highest proportion of individuals (i.e 80 percent of the population) lacking access to improved sources of water yet it is among the counties with the lowest poverty gap and the second most equal (in income as per the gini coefficient) county after Turkana.

  7. Inequalities become more severe as the information is further disaggregated. For example: At county level, the difference between the highest and the lowest access to improved modes of waste disposal is 15 times. At constituency level, it is 52 times while at ward level it is 554 times.

  8. The data confirms that lack of access to essential services like education leads to continued poverty and vulnerability. For example employment for pay is highest among people with secondary education or above in both rural and urban areas. People with no education in Kenya are almost twice as likely (1.7 times) to have no work than people with secondary education and above.

  9. The data challenges common perceptions like the fact that there is a severe shortage of clean drinking water in the arid parts of the country. However, constituencies with the second and third highest access to improved water sources are Garissa Township Constituency (92.7 percent) and Dadaab Constituency (91.5 percent), both in Garissa County.

  1. The data also confirms previous findings like the fact that women are disadvantaged or marginalized. The proportion of individuals with secondary education in male headed households is higher than in female headed households across all counties.

  2. Proportions mask huge differentials in absolute numbers. For example in Kenya, 47.6 percent of male headed (MHH) households and 47.6 percent of female headed households (FHH) use pit latrines. However, in absolute terms, 12.7 million in MHH compared to 5.3 million in FHH use pit latrines.