In Summary

  • With an average monthly consumption per person of Sh19,625, the average person living in the city spends more than twice the national average of Sh9,237.
  • Inversely, counties with the least spending power are mainly affected by harsh environments and are generally low income regions with high poverty index.
  • Lamu county has a high purchasing power despite the county’s low population density (426 people/km2), below average rainfall (609mm) and low urbanisation rate (20 per cent).

There are wide disparities in the purchasing power of individuals and families living in different counties, a domestic consumption analysis by Nation Newsplex and the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) reveals.

Residents of Nairobi have the highest spending power. With an average monthly consumption per person of Sh19,625, the average person living in the city spends more than twice the national average of Sh9,237.

In contrast, with a monthly average spending per person of Sh2,705, the spending power of the average resident of Wajir, the lowest-ranked county, is less than a third the national average.

The huge inequality in the consumption and spending power among people in different counties is manifested in the fact that 33 counties - 70 per cent of counties - have per person spending averages that are below the national average.

With a consumption average of Sh7,802 per person, the average resident of Homa Bay, which is halfway in the consumption ranking (median), spends 16 per cent less than the national average. Spending in the median county being significantly below the national average indicates inequality among counties.

Mombasa, with a per person spending of Sh15,629, Kiambu (Sh13,898), Kisumu (Sh11,827) and Nakuru (Sh10,720) round off the top five.

Consumption per person was highest in counties with a high population density, high urbanisation rate, high rainfall and low poverty index. This is because there are more opportunities for wealth generation and employment in urban areas, while high agricultural productivity relies on high rainfall.

HARSH ENVIRONMENTS

Nairobi and Mombasa have an urbanisation rate of 100 per cent, way above the national rate of 32 per cent. Kiambu is 62 per cent urbanised, while Kisumu and Nakuru are 52 per cent and 46 per cent urbanised, data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics show.

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