The most disillusioned Kenyans live in the Nairobi Metropolitan area, a new opinion poll shows.
Although most people who move into the city migrate for a better life, the poll suggests they would probably fair better had they stayed upcountry.
The study, carried out by local pollster Infotrak, shows close to half of city dwellers are hopeless and do not believe life will improve in the next one year.
The poll divided the country into the former eight provinces and ranked them according to the level of optimism among residents.
“Eastern at 68 per cent, Central (67.2 per cent), Rift Valley (67.2 per cent) and North Eastern (64.8 per cent) are currently the most optimistic regions. The overarching similarities in these regions are increased development, peace, good governance and improved service delivery,” Infotrak research manager Walter Nyabundi said when he presented the results.
Nairobi residents were found to have the lowest optimism levels at 57.4 per cent, just behind Coast (60.6 per cent), Nyanza (61.7 per cent) and Western at 63.6 per cent.
“Our cities are not places of hope. City dwellers are extremely discouraged by their current circumstances,” Nyabundi said.
He added, “Although many move to cities and large towns in search of opportunities and a better life, a majority end up disillusioned and frustrated.”
The pollster said they interviewed 37,400 Kenyans between November 2019 and January 2020 during the height of the Kieleweke-Tanga Tanga campaigns.
This was months before Nairobi Governor signed the deeds of transfer with the national government in February and also before the Covid-19 pandemic struck Kenya.
Nationally, Nyabundi said, Kenyans are less optimistic that life will improve compared to how they felt in 2015.
The results of the study showed the overall optimism index in Kenya has dropped by about 10 per cent from 75.5 per cent five years ago to 65.1 per cent in 2020.
Each respondent was asked how optimistic they were that life, in general, would be better in the next one year than it was at the time of the opinion poll.
A score of one was extremely pessimistic and 10 extremely optimistic.
The pollster further broke down the results into county levels.
The findings show people in Makueni are the most optimistic Kenyans with 72.7 per cent optimism levels followed by Uasin Gishu (70.7 per cent), Elgeyo Marakwet (70 per cent), Tharaka Nithi (69.6 per cent), West Pokot (69.3 per cent), Nyandarua 69.2 per cent) and Embu at 68.9 per cent.
Others in the top ten are Machakos (68.9 per cent), Kericho (68.3 per cent) and Kwale at 67.9 per cent.
For Uasin Gish, Makueni, and Machakos, the optimism is partly driven by the promise of national political power because their leaders have expressed interest in the Presidency in 2022.
“Indeed only Uasin Gishu had a positive increase of +6 per cent in its optimism index which reaffirms that hope for a stab at national political power in the county is quite high,” Nyabundi said.
Some first-term governors have also breathed new life and hope into their counties, particularly in Tharaka Nithi and Nyandarua which have moved into the top ten.
When the poll was done, Kisumu, Kirinyaga, Isiolo and Marsabit were among the top climbers. Embu county also climbed from position 29 in 2015 when Governor Martin Wambora faced impeachment to position seven this year.
At the county level, the most disillusioned Kenyans live in Taita Taveta where only 57.2 per cent are optimistic about life, followed by Nairobi (57.4 per cent), Mombasa (57.7 per cent) and Homa Bay at 59.7 per cent.
The rest of the bottom ten counties have optimism ranging between 60 .1 per cent to 60.7 per cent. They are Siaya, Lamu, Tana River, Kilifi, Nyamira and Migori.
The study, conceived and funded by Infotrak, also suggests youth are more optimistic than older citizens.
Maybe the urban life just seems attractive and addictive