The study set out to analyse the poverty profile of Zaria Urban Area with application input for urban management. This is a departure from the conventional approaches that have broad focus and lack direct utility for urban managers. To address these shortcomings, amongst other considerations, was the use of the Basic Needs Approach to the study. This enables the isolation of neighbourhood’s socio-spatial needs which have direct bearing to urban management. Data for the study was sourced from both primary and secondary sources. The primary data was obtained through general household survey by administration of questionnaires and personal interviews. The approach to the analysis was by the use of absolute and relative measures. The absolute measure adopted was the Head Count Ratio and the Relative used is the Fuzzy Set Technique. Scores obtained the profiling were used to rank districts according to poverty levels. The findings of the study show that poverty varies by districts in Zaria Urban Area. By general ranking, using aggregate Basic Needs data, the GRA exhibited minimal poverty relative to other Districts. It enjoys better access to utility and services and has better housing condition and infrastructure. Income level is also higher. Second in the ranking is Tudun Wada, then Samaru, Sabon Gari and Zaria City.


The data obtained was also dis-aggregated by each indicator across districts. This objective is to show ranking and also permit the identification of specific urban management interventions for the 5 Districts. In the study, Zaria City was shown to have the worst housing situation and the lowest income. Samaru District had the worst situation and water supply, with GRA with public school provision. Based on the result obtained, specific and general recommendations were made on how the shortcomings of each  District  can  be  addressed.  Specific  recommendations  were  made  aimed  at addressing specific findings in each District.




Many African cities are urbanizing to a crisis level due to high rate of population growth and migration from rural areas to the cities. In the movement from the countryside to cities, poverty is highly evident. In some African countries (Nigeria for instance), the growth is so fast to the extent that by 2015, it is expected that there would be more people in urban areas than in rural areas. The United Nations Population Fund estimates that half of the world’s population-about 3.3 billion people will be living in urban areas in 2009. It is equally envisaged that the figure will rise to five billion by 2030, the majority of whom will be poor people living in unplanned squatter settlements without water and electricity and in an environment of squalor, poverty, crime and disease. Currently, more than 7.9 million urban households, that is, about 42% of the total number of households in Africa, are living in poverty. The overall poverty situation in Nigeria is that, about seventy-seven percent (77%) of the urban households are poor and 68% of rural households are poor (FOS, 1996).That is, that poverty is becoming more of urban than rural phenomena.


The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) brought poverty unto the global agenda and stimulated a new commitment by all nations to the battle against poverty. Measurements to improve the quality of life by reducing poverty are therefore receiving greater attention than ever before the world over. Over past decades, city managers and activists have faced an urgency to respond to the plight of the urban poor. Rapid urbanization places enormous pressure on cities to use their limited resources to meet or facilitate the increased demand for water, sanitation, electricity, basic education, health,

housing and transport. With rapid growth of cities comes the typical urban dimension of poverty. Poverty is defined as the human condition characterized by the sustained or chronic deprivation of the resources, capabilities, choices, security and power necessary for the enjoyment of an adequate standard of living and other civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights. Poverty is a common plague afflicting people all over the world especially in the less developed countries. The factors that influence poverty are high inflation rate, unemployment, bad economic policies, huge wastage of scarce resources and bad governance. The problem of poverty in Nigeria has not only become entrenched and multifaceted over the years, but has defied efforts at eradication. Poverty is associated with the lack of, or inadequate necessities of life such as food, clothing, light etc.

In recent years, a lot of literature has emerged on the definition, measurement and analysis of poverty. Much of this literature focuses on measuring poverty at the national level, or special disaggregation by general categories of urban or rural areas with adjustments made for regional price differentials. For example, the recent study by Canagarajah (1997), documented the distribution of household income and expenditure in Nigeria in the period of 1985-1992. It tried to indicate in which regions and states the poor are concentrated and the extent and severity of their poverty. Yet for an individual city attempting to tackle the problems of urban poverty, this level of aggregation is not sufficient for answering specific questions such as where the poor are located in the city; whether there are differences between poor areas; if access to services vary by subgroup; whether specific programs are reaching the poorest; and how to design effective poverty reduction programs and policies. Answering these questions are critical, particularly for large, sprawling cities with highly diverse populations and growing problems of urban poverty.

City poverty profiling is a tool for providing up-to-date information of what city managers and many actors in the private and voluntary sector need to know when developing city policies, programs and projects against poverty. A city poverty profile is a geographical representation that shows where poverty is concentrated in the city, and therefore where relevant policies might have the greatest impact on reducing poverty. Poverty profiling allows for a relatively easy and intuitive comparison of indicators of poverty with a range of other data that are also available in a spatial format or have spatial dimensions. These include any social and economic information that are for example collected at a city level. It also includes a wide range of information, such as access to infrastructure or services, availability and condition of natural resources, and distribution of transport and communication facilities. Detailed geographic profiles of poverty can be extremely valuable to governments, non-governmental organizations and multilateral institutions that want to strengthen the impact that their spending has on poverty. For example, many developing countries use regional poverty maps to guide the division of resources among local agencies or administrations as a first step in reaching the poor. Understanding urban poverty presents a set of issues distinct from general poverty analysis, which also may mean additional tools and techniques.


A major shortcoming of approaches to measuring poverty is that they are quantitative or money-metric measures. They utilize income or consumption patterns to assess whether a household can afford to purchase a basic basket of goods at a given point in time. The basket ideally reflects local tastes, and adjusts for spatial price differentials across regions and urban or rural areas in any given country. Granted that money metric methods are useful for estimating poverty levels and making inter-temporal and inter-country comparisons. Such methods however are inadequate considering the multi-dimensional nature of poverty in Nigerian cities. Therefore, several methods of aggregation have been suggested to measure poverty, but there is still no consensus on the best measure. The argument is that there is need to go beyond money-metric measures and income and expenditures data, which appears to be the practice in most of Sub- Saharan Africa. Other shortcomings which are more theoretical and methodological, concerns the multidimensional nature of well-being usually ignored in existing methods, but need to be revised. The well-being of an individual as argued depends not only on income, but includes several other dimensions or capabilities such as health, education, empowerment, access to basic facilities, social and political exclusion etc. That is poverty manifests in different forms: household may have sufficient income but are deprived of “basic needs”; or households are able to satisfy their “basic needs” even though they have recently experienced an income fall; or households are deprived of both sufficient levels of income as well as basic needs.

At the other extreme, most of poverty studies are also criticized for their focus on measuring poverty at the national level, or by special aggregation by general categories of urban or rural. This level of aggregation is not enough for an individual city attempting to tackle the problems of urban poverty. Rather, it is expedient to answer specific questions such as where the poor are located in the city; whether there are differences between poor areas; if access to services vary by subgroup, whether specific programs are reaching the poorest, and how to design effective poverty reduction programs and policies. Answering these questions are critical, particularly for Urban Managers and for large, sprawling cities with highly diverse populations and growing problems of urban poverty. Most poverty studies carried out are however, non-conforming based on this categorization and two of such stand out. First is the study of poverty in Nigeria by Ogwumike (1987, 1991) which is based on the core basic needs approach, but which has larger special context to permit specific urban application. The second with methodological shortcoming is the study of Agege (2006) by Osinibu, which is urban based, but relying on income, expenditure, and other social welfare performance data to determine the extent of poverty. The shortcomings of the tools and approaches to poverty study established are a major constraint to urban managers who have need for spatial disaggregation and more comprehensive and multi data use to aid decision-making. To fill the gap in knowledge, this study has focus on disaggregating poverty at various urban spatial scales and using multiple criteria. This will assist the identification of where the poor are located, determine the level of extreme deprivation in each district and identify what policies to adopt in raising living standards. These are the issues useful at the management level of cities that are the interest of this study. The issues are explored in Zaria Urban Area.

1.3 The Research Questions:

The research questions answered are:

1. What are the ranges of poverty indicators in Zaria urban area?

2. What is the profile of poverty in Zaria Urban Area of relevance to Urban Manager?


1.4 Aim and Objectives:


1.4.1 Aim


The aim of this research is to analyse the poverty profile of Zaria Urban Area with application input for urban management as a basis for identifying problems and making recommendations.


1.4.2 Objectives:


The objectives of the research are.


  1. To review the concept, criteria and techniques of urban poverty analysis.


  1. To adopt appropriate poverty analysis techniques and operationalize usage in Zaria urban area.


  1. To determine the poverty profile of Zaria Urban Area with relevance to Urban Management using the adopted technique.


  1. To determine urban management challenges of the pattern and to make recommendations.


1.5 Scope and Limitations:


Preparation of the city poverty profile is the decisive test of the poverty indicators and characteristics, which is within the scope of the research. However, only the policy recommendations for operationalizing the indicators and characteristics shall be covered. That is, because the key contribution of the study is establishing the poverty indicators, the characterization and the spatial poverty profile of Zaria urban area.


1.6 Justification of the Study

calculate the numbers and social characteristics of the poor in any given population and the impact of changes to their situation. This study will contribute in establishing and applying appropriate criteria for Zaria and similar towns. This will benefit exercises, particularly in a similar Northern in Nigeria and elsewhere.



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