|Street scene downtown Kampala. The booth in the center allows people to send money to others using cell phones.|
A new study shows an increasing gap in poverty between rural and urban Ugandans according to the country’s leading newspaper, the Monitor.
According to the report, 20% of urban Ugandans while only 2% do in rural areas; 4% of those living in the city have a car while less than 1% of those living in rural areas do; the numbers for bicycles are reversed: 20% of households in urban areas own a bicycle, 41% of rural households. These figures must also be considered in context as over 80% of Ugandans live in the countryside but the cities are growing quickly because of the perceived opportunity there.
|Rural women near Kitchwamba, Bushenyi District, western Uganda|
The report underscores the inequality of wealth in Uganda, a country with a very uneven distribution of family income. According to the World Bank, Uganda’s GINI Index, a measure of income inequality was 44 in 2009 rivaling that of the United States. (The higher the Gini Index, the more inequality). To get a sense of what this means, the poorest 10% of Ugandans had received just 2.3% of all income while the top 10% received over 36% of all income.
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development estimates the U.S. Gini Index to be 49 in 2009, the highest among all developed countries worldwide. Again, a look at who gets what is instructive: in the U.S.: the top 10% of earners have an average $87,257 after taxes while those in the bottom 10% have incomes of $5,819 according to an October 21, 2008 report of the respected British magazine the Economist.