Impact of inflation on living standards among underclass single mothers: case study of soweto slum in githurai 44
The purpose of the study was to assess the impact of inflation/high cost of living among underclass single mothers in Githurai 44 (Soweto slum) for the last two years (2010-2011). The study objectives were to assess how the single mothers‟ current economic status has been affected by inflation, to identify social economic challenges faced by single mothers in the study area and to assess the livelihood strategies among single mothers in the area. The target population was underclass single mothers in the slum. The study was based on a sample of 130 female headed households who were single mothers. Data was collected from 8 focused group discussions, interview and non-participation observation. Snowball technique was used to identify the underclass single mothers. Data collected was analyzed both qualitatively and quantitatively. The findings showed that majority of the single mothers had low education level and low paying jobs. A higher number of the single mothers did not purchase the basic commodities or mostly bought in small quantities with very few purchasing in bulk. They earned less than a dollar, had limited disposable income, struggled to purchase essential commodities and lived in abject poverty. Based on the study findings, the researcher recommends that an effort should be made by the government and Central Bank of Kenya to cushion the single mothers against the harsh economic effects of inflation. Focus should be on enacting effective policies to tame the high inflation rate and strengthen the shilling against the dollar so as to improve the living standards of the underclass single mothers and other vulnerable groups.