Determinants of Life Expectancy in Kenya: a Time Series Analysis (1961-2013)
Kenya‟s life expectancy has been improving from a low of 46.36 years in 1960 to 61.6 years in 2014. However this is still below the world life expectancy of 71.5 years. The country aims at achieving a life expectancy of 72 years by 2030. This study investigated determinants of life expectancy in Kenya for the period 1961-2013. The study employed the VAR model to analyze the effect of per capita GDP, urbanization rate, food production index (a proxy for food availability) and pollution on life expectancy. Granger causality test was used to test the causality relationship between life expectancy and per capita GDP. The study findings indicate that per capita income, pollution and food production index (proxy for food availability) were significant determinants of life expectancy in Kenya. Higher income improves life expectancy while an increase in pollution (proxied by carbon dioxide emission) and low food production index negatively affect life expectancy. The effect of urbanization on life expectancy was not significant. To achieve high life expectancy, efforts should be made to explore innovative ways of increasing household/individual income, reducing pollution and enacting policies aimed at enhancing food security.
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