Poverty fell by 5.6 percent in Sierra Leone – says Integrated Household Survey Report

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 17 September 2019:

A new report on poverty in Sierra Leone which will be published on 1 October 2019 by Statistics Sierra Leone (Stats SL) shows a small decrease of 5.6% in poverty between 2011 and 2018.

According to the findings of the 2018 Sierra Leone Integrated Household Survey (SLIHS) Report, poverty remains high in Sierra Leone with the official poverty rate standing at 56.8% in 2018.

Calculations from the 2018 SLIHS place the food poverty line (the amount needed to buy a sufficient amount of food following the local diet) at Le 2,125,000 annually per adult equivalent, and the total poverty line (accounting for both food and non-food expenditure) at Le 3,921,000 per adult equivalent.

This results in an extreme poverty rate of 12.9%, a food poverty rate of 54.5% and an overall poverty rate of 56.8%, the authors of the report said.

Poverty is more concentrated in the rural areas of Sierra Leone.  Poverty rates in rural areas are more than twice as high as in urban areas, 73.9% compared to 34.8%.

Separating out Greater Freetown (all urban areas in Western Area), the authors found that Freetown has a significantly lower poverty rate (22.8%) than other urban areas (49.3%).

Extreme poverty rates show an even greater disparity: the rate is 19.9% in rural areas and 3.8% in urban areas.

Food poverty rates show less variation; and the rate for rural areas is quite close to the rate for other urban areas, showing that although those in rural areas are much poorer overall, they are no worse than urban dwellers (outside of Freetown) in terms of having sufficient food.

Poverty depth and severity (which consider not just whether households are poor, but how poor they are and inequality among the poor) show stark disparities between urban and rural areas.

The North is the province with the highest rate of poverty. Poverty rates by province are: 64.1% in the East, 76.5% in the North, 62.3% in the North-West, 67.7% in the South and 23.3% in the West.

In terms of districts, Tonkolili, Pujehun (in the south) and Falaba have the highest rates of poverty by district.

Poverty rates vary widely within province, however, and the three poorest districts (Pujehun, Tonkolili, and Falaba) span the far south, center and far north-east of the country.

The least poor districts are Western Area Urban and Rural, Kambia and Bonthe.

National poverty has decreased modestly since 2011 driven by decreases in urban areas.

The new poverty rate of 56.8% is not directly comparable to the official rate of 52.9% in 2011, due to differences in methodology and setting a new (higher) poverty line for 2018. (Photo: Makeni in 2012).

Adjusting for these changes, the authors found that poverty in Sierra Leone has decreased by 5.6 percentage points since 2011.

Poverty in rural areas has remained flat (increased by a statistically insignificant amount) while poverty in urban areas has decreased significantly (by 6.2 percentage points), concentrated in urban areas outside of Freetown.

All the regions saw decreases in poverty, but only that in the West is statistically significant.

Extreme poverty has not changed overall since 2011 but increased in rural areas (5.3 percentage points) and the East (5.9 percentage points).

Food poverty has increased significantly (8.4 percentage points) with particularly large increases in rural areas, the East and the North.

The full SLIHS 2018 report will be launched on 1st October 2019.


  1. We can have different political views or belong to different political parties which is fine. But that does not mean we should be DISCOURTEOUS to each other. After all, we are fighting for the same goal; to make Sierra Leone a better place for everyone.
    In fact, it’s worth sometimes taking a break and crack jokes with each other. I hope that sounds great. Finally, we should all be aware that many people visit this platform and whatever comments we make goes a long way.

    So FORUMITES, let’s be POLITE and be KIND to one another. Let us not allow our emotions to drive us to DISCOURTEOUS MODES. GOD BLESS ALL FORUMITES.

  2. As Mr Alusine has elaborated and answered your questions concerning the gains of the SLPP party in governance, it may surprise you to know that such gains where implemented within the 16-17 years of the 58 years post independence, when the SLPP party where in government.

    What can you say of the 35-37 years of the 58 years since independence when your party the APC party led and plundered, mismanaged, corrupted and left the masses and the economy in destitution, with austerity resulting in economic comatose state.

  3. In the “developed world” the government in power and the opposition parties are tirelessly looking for ways to develop their economies and social lives. But in ours, with the exception of the NGC and partly the C4C, are busy not doing the job they are being paid to do. Africa and Salone in particular has failed in one-Party system of government; and in multi-Party system we have done nothing to demonstrate that we privilege governance over partisanship.

    As a small and poor country with a very heavy burden of humilating poverty, it’s high time we come together as a Nation to build a government that is free from partisanship. How do we do it, well let’s start with my previous suggestion or maybe others can contribute through brainstorming for solutions that can lead us to sustainable development. My biggest fear today is political cynicism and it’s unfortunately gaining momentum.

    Political cynicism is a state where we Salone People accept as normal a state of corruption, degradation and self-dealing in our politics; and we basically throw up our hands and say ‘O Salone’. Can we change for the better, of course! A government of national unity could be a starting point!

    • The C4C is FULLY committed to developing the economy and social lives of the people of Sierra Leone just like the NGC does. Not PARTLY Mr. Moiba. I believe the referencing made in your comment was for me. Who the cap fits, let him wear it. They say in KRIO and I quote ‘CALL NAME NA IM GEH PLABA’. I am not going to wait till you mention my name before I respond. Thanks Anthony for your gesture that makes me sometimes just laugh. GOD BLESS YOU.

  4. Psst! wanna hear something? lucky for you guys, the honorable Mr Thomas intervened and deleted parts of my comment. Indeed, the man is considerate, thoughtful and kind. Seriously, I had switched gears to an ‘All Out War Mode,’ but the gentleman in him was not having any of it at all.(lol). Only he and I know the size and weight of the nuclear BOMB, I was going to drop mercilessly on you guys ( lmao). Its all good – now switching back to normal.

    Now if Stevens was a dog catcher who became President, that in itself speaks volumes about the man. It shows how tenacious and assiduous he was in pursuit of his aspirations and dreams. Unbelievable! One man,stood like Godzilla against,all the Doctors,Juju men, professors,and educated elites of the SLPP and crushed them mercilessly like eggshells beneath his giant feet. Now who says the gross stupidities,and inadequacies of the SLPP started only just yesterday? Wrong! A dog catcher, totally disadvantaged, overcame all the odds,and became President of this country over them?

    Now that’s a Hollywood blockbuster story – that’s the kind of stuff real legends are made of. Outlaws of the American West,and indomitable Zulu warriors will kneel,and pay their respect to the Herculean Stevens for his legendary accomplishments. Indeed, it was the SLPP’s tobacco chewing Margai, a man that was addicted to nicotine that destroy our foundation. It was him that allowed the clever British to chew and spit out the future of our nation,into the drains of unending poverty. It was him that nurtured and raised tribalism,until it became fully grown and out of control…Rising Sun Will Rise Again.

    • Saidu Conteh, you cannot intimidate anyone on this forum. What is it that you are bragging about? Rudeness? Your threats to decent and law abiding forumites ring hollow in the face of your gross inability to intellectually articulate mundane issues. It is this same crass behavior, this same unbridled rudeness that has derailed the APC.

      Some of us have resisted going down the gutter with you simply because we respect the dedicated and hard working editor, Mr. Abdul Rashid Thomas. But realize that no one person has a monopoly on rudeness.

      • Forumites. please let us focus on the issues, of which there are several that are facing our poor families and friends in Sierra Leone. Lets drop the personal attacks, threats and insults. If we cannot be civil and discuss with the standard of decorum we demand of our politicians, what does that say of ourselves. So please let us agree to disagree on matters of importance, but respect one another.

        I trust we will not see a reply from Mr Conteh that will lead to escalation. Thanks for your understanding in advance Mr Conteh. Thank you ALL.

  5. Sierra Leone economy in the 60s under the leadership of the SLPP – first Doctor of the Protectorate, Prime Minister Sir Milton Margai was a perfect example of successful leadership. Our nation was never classed as the poorest, least in human capital development and 3rd hungriest country in the world. The APC party under the leadership of late Siaka Stevens who was the first Dog Catcher to become president ruined our economy through corruption with the ideology that in Krio: “ USAI U TIE COW NA DAE E DAE EAT “.

    He also took the level of poverty and hunger to a different level by destroying the Railway system (the first in West Africa) which was the cheapest means of transportation for people and agriculture goods around our country. He further destroyed our economy by unpegging the Leone from the British Pound which eventually made it worthless as compared to our Francophone neighbors that still pegged their currencies to the French Franc.

    I hate to comment about late President Joseph Saidu Momoh because he was honest enough to admit and apologized to the nation for his failure, so he was forgiven. The report and reality on the ground: – Since late President Tejan Kabba Signed the Lomé Peace Agreement, “his efforts were focused on consolidating peace: through Resetting the displaced and refugees, rehabilitating infrastructure, re-establishing state institutions and the economy and transition to achieving high growth and poverty reduction”.

    Finally after the successful implementation of all these policies and the “Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) with the help of the United Nations and development partners, our nation benefited from Interim debt relief which was used to augment budgetary allocations to key poverty reduction activities. In May 2006 just before the APC party Chairman for Life took over the State House “Sierra Leone also reached the completion point under the HIPC initiative and benefited from full debt relief which provided fiscal space for poverty reducing activities which substantially reduced our external debt.

  6. We will keep talking about this POVERTY ISSUE unless our POLITICIANS and LEADERS at any given time are prepared to do the right thing and make the REFORMS necessary on how to GOVERN, MANAGE and SHARE our NATURAL RESOURCES FAIRLY. That is, govern in a DEMOCRATIC manner and manage our NATURAL RESOURCES fairly. More importantly, STAMPING OUT CORRUPTION forever, which the present Administration is now engaged in.

    The fact that the poverty rate is going down is welcome news. The results might have been because of the economic measures taken by the former Koroma Administration or the present Bio Administration. But that does not matter. The good news is, the Poverty Rate is going down. However little it is, is FANTASTIC NEWS and I believe, the Bio Administration should take credit for it. As much as we oppose the Bio Administration for playing the blame game for not fixing any MESS left by the Koroma Administration, we must also give the Bio Administration credit for any success story that pops up during their time. That is my conviction.


  7. I would like to deliver a scorching,blistering response to the SLPP on this forum,but my hands are tied. I know,the honorable Mr Thomas just won’t let me. Its all good though! Indeed,the incessant stupidities that come from the erratic minds of SLPP supporters,can be truly confounding. Sierra Leone’s problems didn’t begin with the APC,but it all started with that drooling,tobacco chewing,snuff snorting, incompetent Milton Margai,and his cronies with their Slavish,brainwashed mentalities.

    Yup,they stupidly,and ignorantly negotiated a lifetime’s Suckers deal on behalf of our Sierra Leone – that’s why our nation lags so far behind today – Independence was built on a shaky,and unsteady foundation. Show me one thing of substance that the SLPP has done for this nation of ours – not three,or two,just One! All their leaders in past,including the one in State House,are the worst kinds of tribalistic ignoramuses you could ever find anywhere.

    Let them remember that Sierra Leone doesn’t belong to them,but to everyone who was born here. To the Good people dying of hunger in our villages, listen to me – Pack your belongings now,and move to Freetown – as long as Saidu Conteh is alive,no one will ever be able to deny,and trample on your constitutional rights. What a silly bunch of losers – they hate everything, even the air they breathe and the water that quenches their thirsts. My Goodness!!!!! Rising Sun Will Rise Again.

    • Mr. Conteh be honest with yourself and direct the poor to EBK’s mansions. As Sierra Leoneans we just have to hope that you will one day overcome your blind hatredness for all that is not EBK’s or Saidu Conteh’s. We will continue to engage you for the good of our country. There is room in SALONE not only for the good minded People but also for the tribalists and polical fanatics who are only full of revenge for having lost an election! Less is more, remember?

  8. The problems of our country are bigger than any one man or party can solve, therefore I will call on all good minded Salone People to support my call for a government of national unity with the government of the day making the  following moves:

    – invite the NGC, C4C, NRM and The Kalokoh Movement of the APC, the Unity Party to join the government

    – select a council of economic experts drawn from all works of life, the same goes for health and farming

    – council of paramount chiefs as advisers

    In 2023 instead of an election, I’ll suggest a referendum, as to whether  the government of national unity should be given 5 more years or not!

    With this move we can surge forward to correct the mistakes of the past, avoid patronizing our political system and work for a sustainable development in Salone!

    • I congratulate you for your comment. I have been advocating a national unity administration for Salone as the only alternative towards development and improving the living standard of our people. As you correctly stated a referendum after the first 5 years so the people decide on the unity administration achievement etc. Well done for your smart thinking. Hope it reaches the “ears and minds” of the politicians ASAP.

    • Mr. Anthony Moiba, I have no doubt that you are a true patriot and that you wish only the best for Sierra Leone. However, I don’t think we need a government of national unity as you have proposed. Such governments are only necessary during times of war or national emergency.

      Sierra Leone is a constitutional democracy that requires political parties to participate in periodic national elections. This paves the way for the democratization and consolidation of democratic political regimes. Among other things, governments of national unity weaken the effectiveness of governments by bringing together folks of different ideologies and political party loyalties within the executive branch of government. Accordingly, even the smallest of issues that would come up for discussion would become a chess game among competing rivals. Moreover, it would become difficult to address critical national priorities as political infighting among competing forces wishing to settle scores would relegate such national priorities into oblivion.

      I believe that our current system of government is ideal for national development. The legislative arm of our government has different political parties that complement the activities of the executive arm of government.

  9. This just shows the great imbalance in the distribution of wealth in the country. Across regions, this imbalance can be simulated in the following (table below) in an attempt to highlight the disparities:

    Northern 77%
    Southern 68%
    Eastern 64%
    North-Western 62%
    Western 23%

    Now, one can clearly depict the lopsided loading of the economy, which is overtly demonstrated between the Northern and Western regions. This state of affairs was one of the factors that led to the 11-year civil war. For the benefit of peace and stability in the country, it is imperative for policy makers to seek to address this persistent great imbalance.

  10. After the end of the civil war, late President Ahmed Tejan Kabba did a wonderful job by relocating and rehabilitating war victims to their respective villages and townships through the help of the United Nations and development partners. Then came the destructive APC party – their current chairman for life declared the country as his personal business and most of his supporters in his so-called strongholds decided to flee from the provinces to Freetown with the hope to be part of the corrupt monies that was stolen from the nation which was dished out to them as micro credits.

    His supporters flooded the streets of Freetown, mainly markets as either petty Trades, beggars or thieves. They also are responsible for the destruction of our environment within the past 10 years by cutting down trees and illegally building in slums community. The APC party government turned blind eyes to those illegal activities because they considered those slum dwellers as their potential voters. Freetown became the filthiest city in the world and the chairman for life was so comfortable with the filth because anytime he visited the filthy market places they usually spread out their “ LAPPAS” as red carpet to welcome him.

    Finally the APC party within their 10 years rule institutionalized tribalism and regionalism by depriving the opposition strongholds from basic development and most of the farmers abandoned their villages for big cities which was responsible for the level of hunger and poverty but I hope and pray that the SLPP government under the New Direction will put policies in place to turn this humiliating report around.

    • Is it a lack of substance, or just a joy for PROPAGANDA? I presume each and everyone on this forum is fed up of hearing the same noise reverberating on their eardrums at all times. No variance? Where have you left your thinking faculty, my friend?

    • Am very sorry to say this but sometimes you really need to go through what you are really typing. Your accusations are baseless and pointless. The survey was for 2011 to 2018 and you are still typing such things. Pointing fingers won’t solve Sierra Leone’s problems. That’s all I see you doing.

  11. Thank you STATS SL for your candid,and highly informative report on Poverty in our beloved Sierra Leone. Our country, as your findings have clearly indicated,is a totally messed up,unproductive,unmanageable unfixable,complexed conundrum of immense proportions. Trust me,It will take a standing army of diligent, honest,patriotic,and sincere hands,to pull our people out of the clutches of extreme poverty.

    My advice to anyone languishing in our towns,and villages in abject poverty is simple – Pack your belongings and relocate to Freetown – take it from me,no one genuinely, really cares,or gives a damn about you. Survival of the fittest here,means cheating others,and using criminal behaviors to move,and forge ahead. That’s how sick,our society has become!

    Everyone is now making a living in Freetown – millions are here, trying to survive,hustling hard to make ends meet – why shouldn’t you? Pack your things! Don’t sit there starving,and feeling sorry for yourself. Move! On the double – no matter how overcrowded Freetown gets,there will always be a place for you….Rising Sun Will Rise Again.

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