UNHCR conducts socio-economic assessments of persons-of-concern (i.e. refugees, asylumseekers, IDPs, etc.) in a variety of countries in order to inform and improve its programming with the goal of promoting self-reliance. While these assessments are not fully standardized and are tailored to their specific country context, the quantitative surveys share strong similarities in their design and objectives, and are therefore considered a survey series for the purpose of microdata documentation/archiving.
Since 1992, Kenya has been a generous host of refugees and asylum seekers, a population which today exceeds 500,000 people. The Kakuma Refugee Camps have long been among the largest hosting sites (about 40% of the total refugees in Kenya), and have become even larger in recent years, with an estimated 67 percent of the current refugee population arriving in the past five years. In 2015, UNHCR, the Government of Kenya, and partners established Kalobeyei Settlement, located 40 kilometers north of Kakuma, to reduce the population burden on the other camps and facilitate a shift towards an area-based development model that addresses the longer term prospects of both refugees and the host community. The refugee population makes up a significant share of the local population (an estimated 40 percent at the district level) and economy, engendering both positive and negative impacts on local Kenyans. While Kenya has emerged as a leader in measuring the impacts of forced displacement, refugees are not systematically included in the national household surveys that serve as the primary tools for measuring and monitoring poverty, labor markets and other welfare indicators at a country-wide level. As a result, comparison of poverty and vulnerability between refugees, host communities and nationals remains difficult. Initiated jointly by UNHCR and the World Bank, this survey replicates the preceding Kalobeyei SES (2018), designed to address these shortcomings and support the wider global vision laid out by the Global Refugee Compact and the Sustainable Development Goals. Data was collected in October 2019 to December 2019, covering about 2,122 households.
Kind of Data
Sample survey data [ssd]
Unit of Analysis
Household and individual
v2.1: Edited, anonymous dataset for licensed distribution
The survey included a range of socio-economic indicators, both at the household and individual household member levels, aligned with the national 2015/16 Kenya Integrated Household Budget Survey (KIHBS) and the 2019 Kenya Continuous Household Survey (KCHS).
The SES is designed to be representative of all households living in Kakuma, which are defined as groups of people who regularly cook and share meals together. The Kakuma SES covers 2,122 households across the four Kakuma subcamps.
The scope of the questionnaire includes:
- Household Characteristics
-Access to Services
- Social Cohesion
- Coping Mechanisms
- Displacement and durable solutions
- Consumption and Expenditure
- Non Food
The consumption and expenditure on food and non food were collected using the rapid consumption methodology (See Pape and Mistiaen, 2018 http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/682571525377824199/pdf/WPS8430.pdf for more detailed information on this methodology)
Livelihood & Social cohesion
Housing, Land and Property
Domestic Needs/Household Support
Emergency Shelter and NFI
Access to Energy
Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kenya
Sampled household survey, representative of all refugees living in Kakuma refugee camp.
Producers and sponsors
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
The World Bank
The Kakuma SES utilized a two-stage sampling process where the first stage samples dwellings, stratified by subcamp, followed by second-stage households. Dwellings were drawn as the primary sampling unit (PSU) from an up-to-date list of all dwellings in the camp provided by UNHCR shelter unit, which serves as the sampling frame. The sample was drawn with explicit stratification for the four Kakuma subcamps, with uniform probability for Kakuma 1-3. For Kakuma 4, the selection probability was slightly increased because of higher expected nonresponse
The survey was designed to accurately estimate socioeconomic indicators such as the poverty rate for group sof the population that have at least a 50 percent representation in the population. A 3 percent margin of error at a confidence level of 95 percent is considered accurate, resulting in a sample size of 2,122. Considering a 10 percent nonresponse rate, the target sample size was 2,347.
Deviations from the Sample Design
The SES has a non-response rate of about 5%, mainly due to absence of respondent and refusal to participate in the survey
Sample weights for the household data were computed as the inverse of the product of the selection of dwelling at the first stage and the selection of the household at the second stage, computed at the subcamp level. The household weights were adjusted for non-response at the subcamp level. As part of post-stratification, weights were scaled to the population totals in each subcamp.
The household weight variable is called weight and is used with the HH data and the HHM data.
Dates of Data Collection
Data Collection Mode
Computer Assisted Personal Interview [capi]
Data Collection Notes
Data was collected through smartphone-assisted face-to-face interviewing using KoBo software.
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
World Bank Group
The following sections are included: household roster, education, employment, household characteristics, assets, access, vulnerabilities, social cohesion, coping mechanism, displacement and cunsumption and expenditure.
The dataset presented here has undergone light checking, cleaning and restructuring (data may still contain errors) as well as anonymization (includes removal of direct identifiers and sensitive variables, recoding and local suppression).
No attempt will be made to identify respondents or microdata providers, and no use will be made of the identity of any person, facility or establishment discovered inadvertently. Any such discovery would immediately be reported to UNHCR, to allow evaluation of further use, apply further statistical disclosure control methods, impose further restrictions on access, or appropriately re-classify the data. No attempt will be made to create links between datasets provided by UNHCR, or between UNHCR data and other datasets that could identify individuals or organizations.
UNHCR (2021) UNHCR Kakuma Socioeconomic Survey - Anonymized for Public Use. Geneva: UNHCR (December 2019), Ref. UNHCR_KEN_SES_2019. Dataset downloaded from https://microdata.unhcr.org on [date].
Disclaimer and copyrights
UNHCR does not warrant in any way the accuracy of the information and data contained in the datasets and shall not be held liable for any loss caused by reliance on the accuracy or reliability thereof.