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BRIEF June 9, 2022

Monitoring COVID-19 Impact on Households in Kenya

The COVID-19 pandemic has created an urgent need for timely data and evidence to help monitor and mitigate the social and economic effects of the crisis. Responding to this need, a high-frequency phone survey with households was designed and implemented to measure the socio-economic impacts of COVID-19 in Kenya and later monitor the recovery.

The high-frequency phone survey on the socio-economic impacts of COVID-19 in Kenya is implemented by the World Bank, in collaboration with the Kenyan National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) as well as the University of California, Berkeley.

The data is collected by phone interviews (1) with households from three different groups. The first group of households is drawn randomly from a subset of the Kenya Integrated Household Budget Survey in 2015/16. The second group is reached by Random Digit Dialing, whereby phone numbers potentially existing in Kenya are randomly generated. These first two groups cover urban and rural areas and are designed to be representative of the population of Kenya using cell phones. The third group consists of refugees registered with UNHCR and living in refugee camps as well as urban areas.

The questionnaire covers a range of topics including knowledge of COVID-19 and mitigation measures, changes in behavior in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, employment, income, food security, access to educational activities and health services, subjective well-being, perceptions of the government’s response, and coping strategies.

Data collection started in May 2020 and households were called repeatedly since then, to track the impact of the pandemic over time. Households were called every two months, for five survey rounds, in the first year of data collection and every four months thereafter. The subgroup of households interviewed in each week is representative of the surveyed population, allowing the analysis of trends as in the above dashboard.

1 Phone-based surveys avoid face-to-face interviews and the associated health risks during the COVID-19 epidemic. However, they can only reach respondents who use a phone with an active subscription in an area with network coverage and – of course – who agree to be interviewed. Therefore, statistics from such a survey are only representative for this part of the population – potentially excluding to some extent the poorest households living in hard-to-reach areas or who don’t own phones. The Kenya COVID-19 phone-based survey uses re-weighting techniques to mitigate these issues and to ensure that statistics are as representative of the full population of Kenya as possible.


The results of this survey are a product of the staff of the Kenyan National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS), the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the World Bank with external contributions. The user of the data acknowledges that the original collector of the data, the authorized distributor of the data, and the relevant funding agency bear no responsibility for use of the data or for interpretations or inferences based upon such uses. Nothing herein shall constitute or be considered to be a limitation upon or waiver of the privileges and immunities of UNHCR or the World Bank, all of which are specifically reserved.