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Westlands trails in city wealth ranking

Westlands, long considered one of Nairobi’s affluent neighbourhoods has been classified as among constituencies ravaged by poverty.

It has been ranked 12th out of 17 in the list in which Embakasi West tops as the county’s wealthiest. Mathare, closes the list as the poorest.

This is according to the recently published Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) report released last week.

Titled ‘Exploring Kenya’s Inequality-Pulling Apart or Pooling Together 2013″, the report indicates the constituency has 44,093 (25.5 per cent) of its residents living below the poverty line.

Drastic change

This means they spend less than Sh86 a day on food and other essentials.

This is a drastic change of fortunes for the area that was classified as one of the richest in a similar survey in 2008.

Back then in the Central Bureau of Statistics report, it was highlighted as the bedroom to only 6.7 per cent (16,000) of its poorest residents.

The latest report has not given any explanation for the glaring disparity. However one of the reasons that could explain the phenomenon is the growth of slums in the last couple of years.

According to the KNBS report, Embakasi West only has 10.3 per cent (16,194) of its residents classified as poor. It is followed by Embakasi Central at 10.9 per cent (20,741).

This again is a puzzling outcome for the two constituencies which cumulatively contributed to 19.1 per cent (the highest) of the city’s poorest population in the 2008 report and considered as the housing areas for the county’s poor population.

The report however paints a picture of a fast changing landscape as the city’s middle income class increases and moves into the Eastlands area.

This growth is attested by various high-end malls that have been opened or are currently under construction in the area indicating the increased spending power.

The report indicates in part that, “Increased equality can create faster growth but without an equitable distribution of benefits from growth, its effects on poverty reduction will be marginal.”

Rich list

Mathare Constituency remains the poorest within Nairobi with 36.5 per cent of its residents living below the poverty line.

The report indicates that 4 out of every ten people in the constituency are extremely poor.