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Shedding Light on Inequalities in Kenya

A Decade of Change
Shedding Light on Inequalities in Kenya

A Decade of Change

Kenya’s Vision 2030 aspires to transform the nation into a newly industrialized, middle-income country, offering a high quality of life for all citizens in a clean and secure environment. Central to this vision is the Social Pillar 2030, emphasizing the government’s commitment to eradicating poverty and reducing inequalities. This commitment aligns with the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, particularly Sustainable Development Goal 10, which focuses on reducing inequalities both within and among countries.

In light of this, the Government of Kenya, through the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, embarked on a critical study on inequality in 2021, utilizing data from the 2009 and 2019 Kenya Population and Housing Census. This study marks a significant milestone in providing a comprehensive analysis of geographical, temporal, socioeconomic exclusion, poverty, and inequality, along with their underlying drivers. It examines well-being dimensions including education, economic activity, child protection, health, housing, energy, water, and sanitation, as well as aggregate measures of monetary and multidimensional poverty.

The findings revealed notable improvements over the past decade. In 2009, approximately 26.3 million Kenyans were considered multi-dimensionally poor, with 17.6 million experiencing monetary poverty. Fast forward to 2019, and these figures showed a reduction to 24.2 million and 15.8 million, respectively. Notably, children account for more than 43% of the population affected by both forms of poverty. However, strides have been made in education, child protection, and labor market outcomes, with significant reductions in child labor and child marriage rates, alongside improvements in birth registration rates and labor market engagement.

Despite these advancements, the study highlighted persisting geographical inequalities, particularly in rural areas and specific counties, underscoring that progress has not been uniformly distributed. Key factors driving deprivation and inequality include gender, orphanhood, disability status, household composition, educational attainment, and employment status of household adults.

This comprehensive report aims to support the prioritization of the needs of children, youths, women, and other demographic groups in national and county development plans and budgets. Its goal is to ensure inclusive growth, sustainable development, and that no one is left behind. Furthermore, the study’s findings serve as a valuable resource for monitoring Kenya’s progress towards SDG targets and the Vision 2030 objectives, including the “Big Four” Agenda. It underscores the importance of child-centered, gender-sensitive, and rights-based approaches in policy-making, programs, and public finance.

As Kenya continues on its path towards achieving its Vision 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals, this inequality study provides crucial evidence for informed decision-making and policy development. It highlights the importance of addressing and remedying discrimination and unequal statuses to foster a more productive and just society. Through detailed analysis and evidence-based recommendations, this report plays a vital role in shaping policies that aim to reduce inequalities and ensure that all Kenyans can participate fully and fairly in the nation’s socio-economic development.

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