More than a fifth of Kenya’s poor are in five counties, indicating wide regional income inequalities in the country.
Data from the Kenya Poverty Report released by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) show that 3.92 million out of the 19.1 million poor Kenyans dwell in Nakuru, Bungoma, Nairobi, Kakamega and Kilifi counties.
According to the survey findings Nakuru had the highest number of those living below the poverty line at 893,000 followed by Bungoma at 775,000.
According to the report, poverty was defined as those with a monthly expenditure of lower than Sh3,947 in rural areas and Sh7,193 in urban areas.
Despite having the third highest number of poor people at 759,000 Nairobi county has the lowest proportion of poor people to the total population at 14.8 percent.
The persisting unemployment crisis in the country that is a major catalyst to poverty has been a ticking time bomb with many youth opting for crime and vices such as prostitution to sustain themselves.
Central Kenya counties of Nyeri, Kiambu and Kirinyaga also reported low rates of poverty of 17.5, 18.7 and 18.9 percent respectively, highlighting the massive inequality and uneven distribution of financial resources in the country.
The report also noted that urban dwellers are coming out of poverty at a faster rate than those residing in rural areas with the rate declining by 7.6 percentage points in urban areas compared to a 2.8 percentage point decline in rural areas in 2021.
Arid and semi-arid counties of Turkana, Mandera and Garissa had the highest incidence of poverty at 77.7, 71.9 and 68.3 percent respectively.
On average rural areas had a higher incidence of poverty, with two in every five people living in poverty compared to three in every 10 urban dwellers.
The proportion of poor people in the country dropped by 4.3 percentage points in 2021 from 42.9 percent in 2020 as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic to 38.6 percent.