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  • Total Dependency Ratio

Dependency ratios give an indication of the burden that tends to fall on the working population and the government to support those members of society who are not working, usually because they are too young or too old. Inequalities in dependency ratios suggest that some counties will bear a higher burden than others of supporting their non-working populations, implying potentially higher public and private costs, and lower revenues from taxation. Because the dependency ratio is driven more by a large number of children than a large number of the elderly (see figure 2.5), the implication is that the burden of spending will be on education rather than pensions or disability allowances. It is also important to note that dependency may not be as problematic if patterns of migration and remittances support dependants in one county through resources generated elsewhere. Migrants from the country to urban areas such as Nairobi may well remit funds that support dependants in their areas of origin.


  Figure 2.5: Dependency ratios in Kenya and by rural/urban

 As illustrated in figure 2.5, the total dependency ratio (which is the number of people below 15 and above 64 divided by the number between 15 and 64) in Kenya is 0.87. It is 1.6 times higher in rural areas than in urban areas and is as a result of high numbers of children rather than of the elderly.


Figure 2.6: Total dependency ratio in counties

 The highest dependency ratio is in Mandera (1.3) which is about 2.7 times the dependency ratio in Nairobi (0.465).

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