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News release

Kenyans see worsening economic conditions, cite poor government performance, Afrobarometer survey shows

2 Mar 2022 Kenya
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News release
Key findings
  • Three-fourths (74%) of Kenyans say the country is going in “the wrong direction,” a 20- percentage-point increase compared to 2019 (54%) (Figure 1).
  • Almost nine out of 10 citizens (85%) describe the country’s economic condition as “fairly bad” or “very bad,” a 30-point increase since 2016 (55%) (Figure 2).
  • Only one in four Kenyans (25%) describe their personal living conditions as “fairly good” or “very good,” a 16-point decline compared to 2019 (41%) (Figure 3).
  • Substantial proportions of the population frequently (“many times” or “always”) went without a cash income (47%), needed medical care (26%), enough clean water (22%), enough food (18%), and enough cooking fuel (11%) during the previous year, in addition to many who suffered these shortages “just once or twice” or “several times” (Figure 4).
  • Based on these reported deprivations, most Kenyans can be described as experiencing moderate lived poverty (37%) or low lived poverty (36%). But more than one in five (22%) fall into the high lived poverty category (Figure 5).
  • Most citizens say the government is performing “fairly badly” or “very badly” on managing the economy (83%), improving living standards of the poor (83%), creating jobs (85%), narrowing income gaps (90%), and keeping prices stable (92%) (Figure 6).
  • Despite these gloomy perceptions, four in 10 citizens (42%) expect the country’s economic condition to improve over the next year (Figure 7).

After recording significant gains between 2014 and 2019, Kenyans’ assessments of the country’s overall direction, the national economy, and their personal living conditions have taken a nosedive, according to a new Afrobarometer survey.

Large majorities of citizens say the country is headed in the wrong direction and describe their living conditions as bad. Majorities experienced shortages of basic necessities such as food, water, and medical care during the year preceding the survey.

Citizens overwhelmingly give the government poor performance ratings on key economic issues, including management of the economy, job creation, and poverty reduction.