Measuring the poverty status of the population goes beyond quantifying how much money the population has to their disposal. This phenomenon is a complex one that involves many other variables and all of which have direct effect on the poverty status of individuals.
In the IHS 2015/16, three main types of poverty were computed for the population namely absolute, extreme and food poverty.
Absolute poverty (defined as the household’s inability to provide both food and non-food needs), in any case has increased since the IHS 2010 from 48.4 to 48.6 percent. The poverty gap has also widened as well as the severity of poverty. Although this percentage increase might be a bit marginal, the increase in the absolute number of poor people is really alarming.
It is not surprising that poverty is higher in the rural than the urban areas with 69.5 percent of the rural population being poor compared to 31.6 percent of the urban population. These results show that poverty has increased in the rural areas since 2010 while the number urban poor has decreased.
Extreme poverty is defined as the household’s inability to meet its basic food needs even if all its income were put in food. Results show that 20.8 percent of the population were living in extreme poverty. This is more pronounced in the rural area (35.9 percent) than the urban area (8.4 percent).
As stated above, the interpretation of these results is such that 35.9 percent of the rural population are so poor that even they invest all their income on food, they would not adequately meet their needs for food. In essence, 1 in every 4 people that leaves in the rural area is in such a poor situation.
The inability of the household to meet the daily required minimum calories of 2200 is defined as food poverty. In simple language, when someone eats food and that food consumed is not able to provide the energy level equal to a minimum of 2200 calories then that person is regarded is being food poor.
Over 55 percent of the population lives under this poverty line with 64.8 and 47.2 percent respectively of rural and urban populations living in food poverty. These figures that while 69.5 percent of the rural population could not meet both of their food and non-food needs, only 64.8 percent could not meet their food need alone. On the other hand, the proportion of urban that could not meet only their food needs (47.2 percent) is about 16 percentage points more than those who could not meet both their food and non-food needs.
SOURCE: Integrated Household Survey (IHS) 2015/2016