Resilience and sustainable poverty escapes in rural Kenya

Research reports and studies
June 2018
Lucy Scott, Robert Miller, Marta Eichsteller, Vidya Diwakar, Tim Njagi and Elvin Nyukuri

Official poverty figures for Kenya put poverty incidence at 36% in 2015/16 – a reduction in poverty of 11 percentage points since 2005/06 – however major factors remain to be overcome to further improve the translation of growth to poverty reduction. 

The focus of this report is on household poverty escapes and what explains why some households escape and remain out of poverty (sustainable poverty escape, or resilience) while other households escape poverty only to fall back into it (transitory poverty escape), and still others descend into poverty for the first time (impoverishment). It examines why some households are able to escape poverty and remain out of it – that is, they experience sustained escapes from poverty – while others escape poverty only to return to living in it again. The report investigates the resources (land, livestock and assets), attributes (household composition and education level) and activities (including jobs and engagement in non-farm activities) of households that enable them to escape poverty sustainably and minimise the likelihood of returning to living in poverty again.

Key findings from the report include those around the:

  • household resource base;
  • household attributes and capacities;
  • household activities;
  • household shocks; and
  • household strategies for sustained poverty escapes.

Note: the report is accompanied by a separate policy brief (Shepherd et al., 2018) which presents policy implications for sustaining poverty escapes in rural Kenya that emerge from the analysis presented in this study.