Rich-poor income gap widest in towns

Monday November 25 2013

NairobiKenya's capital Nairobi. For every Sh1,000 a poor man spends in a Kenyan town, a rich person spends an equivalent Sh170,000. FILE | NAIROBI

Kenya's capital Nairobi. For every Sh1,000 a poor man spends in a Kenyan town, a rich person spends an equivalent Sh170,000. FILE | NAIROBI 

By Griffins Omwenga
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There is a screaming schism between the poor and the rich, survey data exclusive to the Daily Nation has shown.

For every Sh1,000 a poor man spends in a Kenyan town, for example, a rich person spends an equivalent Sh170,000.

“The disparities in expenditure are more pronounced in towns and cities than in the rural areas,” notes the government report due to be released this week.

However, there are also big disparities between rural and urban areas in consumption patterns. Overall, 44.6 per cent of the rural population spends Sh1,440 or less compared with only 2.6 per cent of the urban population.

And 34 per cent of the urban population spends Sh7,200 or above compared with only 1.5 per cent in rural areas.

And out of the 47 counties, there are 12 counties where over half the population spend Sh1,440 or less per month, against a national average of Sh3,440.

These counties are Kenya’s poorest, and include Turkana, Wajir, Mandera, Tana River, Kwale, Marsabit, Samburu, West Pokot, Busia, Kitui, Makueni, Kilifi, Garissa, Baringo, Elgeyo Marakwet and Taita Taveta.

On the other hand, some of the highest spending counties include Nairobi, Mombasa, Kiambu, Kisumu, Lamu, Machakos, Nakuru, Kajiado, Migori and Kilifi in a descending order.

On average, Nairobi residents spend Sh7,200 per household per month compared to Wajir where the average expenditure is Sh1,300 per household.

Household expenditures in Kenya average Sh3,440 per month as a national average but with very glaring discrepancies between urban and rural areas, counties and constituencies.

Households in urban areas spend three times more than their counterparts in rural areas, averaging Sh6,010 per month against the Sh2,270 spent in rural places.

Four counties with the largest proportion of their counties spending Sh7,200 and above are Nairobi, Mombasa, Kiambu and Kisumu.