Kenya: Most Nairobians Hit By Lower Income, Job Loss

A new study by Tifa Research has revealed that 69 percent of Nairobi residents in low-income areas have recorded reduced earnings due to the coronavirus with another 43 percent having lost their source of income completely.

In the four months since the first case of Covid-19 was recorded in the country, the study shows that more Kenyans are falling into unemployment even as the effects of the pandemic continue to hurt the economy.

The study released yesterday interviewed 597 respondents living in Huruma, Kibra, Mathare, Korogocho, Mukuru kwa Njenga and Kawangware between June 2 and June 15. Out of this sample size, 54 percent reported to be currently unemployed with job losses in the past three months accounting for the majority of this rate.

“Regardless of the respondents’ employment status, the virus has affected them a great deal, although those now jobless and who have never been employed have been affected somewhat less so,” the report read.

According to the study, which was led by research analyst Tom Wolf, there are no significant differences of the economic impact on males and females, with data showing an almost similar effect. About 32 percent of male respondents said they have lost their source of income due to Covid-19, while 29 percent of women did.

What is notable, however, is that more self-employed people reported to have increased work as compared to the previous study. In the May report, 13 percent of respondents stated that they were still doing some work but this has since risen to 24 percent in June.

The respondents further reported a drastic decline in their expenses on items such as food, rent and clothing. Compared to the previous report in May, 94 percent of respondents in the current study said they have reduced their spending on food and non-alcoholic drinks.

The figure reflects an increase from the previous data, where 66 percent reported to have reduced spending on the same.

Spending on rent has also dropped by 20 percent in June compared to May, while expenditure on clothing and socialising has reduced to 18 per cent from 22 percent and 10 percent from 9 percent, respectively.

“Far more of the 61 per cent who reported reduced earnings due to Covid-19 reported a decrease in their expenditure on food and drinks than any other type of purchases or payments. Respondents have also sharply curtailed spending on rent, clothing, entertainment and transportation,” the report said.


The study showed more respondents faced hunger, with 42 percent saying persistence of the pandemic could be a challenge. Other top concerns include loss of income and employment at 28 percent as well as paying rent at 9 percent.

“In identifying the single most difficult challenge they expect to face as the virus crisis continues, most respondents mentioned ‘having enough food to eat’. At the same time, the second most frequent response was the loss of employment or income,” the report noted.

Although more than 80 percent of respondents are still unable to save money from their income, the report noted that many households may have begun adopting survival strategies including the sale of personal items and productive assets such as land which will, unfortunately, result in reduced future income opportunities.


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