Extreme Poor Urban Dwellers Increasing – ZimStats

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By Robert Tapfumaneyi

THE number of urban dwellers who are regarded to be extreme poor has risen from 4% in 2017 to 8% in 2019, according to Zimbabwe Statistics (ZimStats)

This is contained in ZimStats’ Poverty, Income, Consumption and Expenditure Surveys (PICES) of 2017 to 2019.

“Although poverty remains overwhelmingly rural, the proportion of the extreme poor who live in urban areas increased from 4% in 2017 to 8% in April-May 2019,” ZimStats noted.

It added the number of people who have completed secondary education, but are also extreme poor, had also increased.

“The proportion of the extreme poor who have completed secondary education increased. Overall, the extreme poor continue to live mostly in rural areas, in large households, work on their own farms, and tend to have low educational attainment.

“About one third live in a female-headed household, which is about the same as the population as a whole. Half of the extreme poor received no benefits from any of the social assistance programmes during the survey period of April–May 2019.”

ZimStats added: “About 40% of all social assistance programme beneficiaries are extremely poor. The urban poverty rate, using the lower bound poverty line – rose from 15% to 24% between 2017 and April-May 2019.”

“The extreme poor typically have large households, and this proportion increased between 2017 and April–May 2019.”

Those living in households of seven members or more formed 43% of the extreme poor in 2019 – up from 40% in 2017 – but they only formed 26% of the population as a whole.

The surveys also revealed children younger than 15 formed almost half of the poor and the extreme poor, but they made up only four-tenths of the population.

“Children clearly were over represented among the poor, even if this decreased slightly from 2017 to 2019. In contrast, those aged 55 and older were somewhat underrepresented among the poor and they formed only 10% of the poor and 11% of the population as a whole,” ZimStats said.