Average Zimbabwean lived on $5.65/day in March; PDL for a family at $873

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(FinX) Latest data from Zimstat shows that the average Zimbabwean lived on $5.63 per day while an average family of five persons needed $872.94 in order to survive and not to be deemed poor.  This means that Zimbabweans are now living slightly below the World Bank’s updated international poverty line of US$1.90 a day, at US$1.87 (based on March end official interbank rate of 3.012).

According to the Poverty Datum Lines for March, the total consumption poverty line for a family of five stood at $872.94 in March 2019. This means that an average household required that much to purchase both food and non-food items for them not to be deemed poor. This represents an increase of 5.53% from February 2019 figure of $827.19.

According to the latest PICES (Poverty Income, Consumption and Expenditure Survey) report, The average household size in Zimbabwe is 4.2 persons. Household sizes in rural areas are on average larger with (4.5 persons) compared to household sizes in urban areas with (3.4 persons).

The PDL for the country stood at $174.59 per person in March 2019, an increase of 5.53% from February’s $165.44.

Number of people living in extreme poverty in Zimbabwe at the date of the last Poverty Survey was 2.5 million representing a poverty rate of 16%. This is below the 18% poverty rate that the World Bank considers as being in extreme poverty. According to the World Bank’s Poverty Report for 2018 titled; Piecing Together the Poverty Puzzle, released recently, most of the 43 countries with poverty rates above 18% are in Sub-Saharan Africa. Zimbabwe’s poverty gap is at 3.5.

According to the report, Sub-Saharan Africa has little or no chance of achieving the UN target of having not more than three percent of its population living in extreme poverty by 2030.  The rate of reduction is decelerating despite the dramatic decline of poverty in many parts of sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) since the early 1990s.

The food poverty line (FPL) as at March 2019 stood at $58.93. This means that the minimum needs basket cost that much per person in March 2019. This represents an increase of 2.7% over February’s $57.38.  The March 2019 FPL for an average of five persons in Zimbabwe stood at $294.66 from $286.90.

No details included in the Zimstat PDL index are provided but the differences in costs between different parts of the country are shown. The TCPL for an average household in March 2019 ranged from the lowest of $825.00 in Mashonaland East Province to the highest of $902.00 in the Matabeleland North Province. Bulawayo experienced the highest inflation among the surveyed regions with the average cost of living rising 7% to $866.00. Meanwhile, Matebeleland South experienced the lowest rise in living costs at 4.5% to $887.00.

PICES notes that in Harare Province 27.7% of the economically active persons 15 years and above are unemployed while 26.1% are in the paid employee permanent category. In Bulawayo 26.7% of the economically active persons are unemployed while 23.8% are paid employees permanent.

It is noted that the proportion of unpaid family workers is lowest in Matabeleland North with 0.6% and highest in Manicaland with 3.4%. It is also noted that most provinces with a large rural component are mainly engaged in agricultural activities. The proportion of communal and resettlement farmers across provinces excluding Harare and Bulawayo range from 62.9% in Mashonaland East province to 82.1% in Matabeleland North. – FinX