Perceptions and realities of the poor in Nigeria: poverty, risks and livelihoods
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This thesis examines the perceptions of poverty and own-poverty held by people living in poor communities, and uses these to understand their realities as evident in the risks they face and the livelihood strategies they carry out. It engages with the debate on relationships between perceived poverty and objective indicators which dominate the poverty discourse. A comparative analysis of rural and urban areas is carried out motivated by literature findings on differences in perceptions between these areas. Qualitative and quantitative data was collected during seven months of fieldwork (2006) in relatively poor areas of Lagos state, South-West Nigeria. Perceptions of poverty in a highly populated and commercial area such as Lagos were found to be consistent with the factors that have informed traditional approaches to poverty. However, the identification of the poor based on perceptions of own-poverty differed remarkably from that based on locally identified indicators of poverty, and relative deprivation was found to be a key explanation. In using the perceptions of poverty and own-poverty to further understand the realities of poverty as understood by the poor, risks and livelihoods are also examined. The poor are faced with risks which they have limited capacities to insure themselves against and health risks featured prominently as the most anticipated and realised risk. Informal risk-sharing was the main risk-response used, however its capacity to cope is limited. Livelihood diversification is also a response to risks and in analysing this further (with a focus on the rural poor), a diversification spectrum made up of three categories: the least, mid and highly diversified, was constructed. The majority of those who perceived themselves as poor were in the middle of the spectrum and were engaged in a non-farm activity, suggesting that diversification into non-farm activities was not necessarily the preferred option in their perspective.
CitationOhio-Ehimiaghe, Alohiuanse (2012) Perceptions and realities of the poor in Nigeria: poverty, risks and livelihoods. Doctoral thesis, Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex.
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- IDS PhD Research