Income Inequality and Nutrition Insecurity among Rural Households: A Gini-Coefficient Causality Analysis in Ethiopia

Amare Tesfaw


Globally, malnutrition is an underlying cause for the deaths of more than 3.5 million children every year under the age of five and the prevalence of stunting, underweight and wasting among children in Ethiopia are 40%, 25%, and 9% respectively. More than 80% of the population in Northwestern Ethiopia resides in rural areas with high-income inequalities and consumption patterns. This contributed to dynamism in dietary diversity and subsequent nutrition insecurity among households. However, previous studies obscure in linking the extent of income inequality, its causes, and nutrition insecurity. We explored the extent of income inequality among rural households and its effect on nutrition security. Data were taken in 2017 from 378 households from different districts with varying crop production potentials. Multinomial Logistic Regression Model was employed to analyze the data. The result shows that the types of crops cultivated, total land size, and education level significantly (P<0.01) associated with households' dietary diversity. The Gini index was found to be 0.48, depicting high-income inequality among the target households. Crop diversification together with on/off-farm activities can help narrow the existing income in inequality among rural households. Awareness and empowering women can help households increase their dietary diversity and improve nutrition security. Advocating home gardening can also enable households to focus on nutrient-rich diets. This will ultimately help create a well-nourished and healthy family.

Keywords: Food insecurity, Dietary diversity index, Nutrition insecurity, Gini Coefficient, Income inequality, Multinomial logit, Stunting

DOI: 10.7176/JESD/11-17-01

Publication date:September 30th 2020

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