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The Effects of Unemployment in Kenya – Free Essay Example

This paper tries to reviews the effects of unemployment in Kenya. How the effects are leading to home breakage, Kenyans are falling into depression. This has made the young people still in school downhearted and wonders if they will fall victim to unemployment. Unemployment cuts across the country in that, in every five people you meet on street one of them, is unemployed despite all the qualifications they possess. Kenyan has failed to reduce the level of unemployment since it has done nothing at all concerning unemployment. this study was done to get a clear picture of unemployment in Kenya and the effects they bring to Kenya. The impacts of unemployment and the connection linking the creation of job opportunities and the growth of the Kenyan economy. During the research, I found out that the rate of unemployment in Kenya is alarming. The main effects of unemployment can be broken down into mental health problems, social problems like low living standards. Corruption is one of the major causes resulting in the effects of unemployment. The problem with the unemployed people in Kenya is that they are not creative and innovative, they are waiting for employment instead of coming up with business ideas. Unemployed people lack the confidence to create jobs for themselves. Through this research, I found out that the problem lies with the education system which is knowledge-oriented and not skill-oriented. When the graduates come out of tertiary institution, they are full of content and lack practicality to deliver what they are taught while at school resulting in unemployment. this research expounds on the effects of unemployment. it explains the effects of unemployment on Kenya. The government needs to make the tertiary courses more practical than they are, this equips the learners with skills required for the market.


I will be discussing the effects of unemployment on Kenya in general. I will be providing answers. Firstly, I will be identifying the effects of unemployment in Kenya. Secondly, I will be explaining how those effects have had a major implication on the families and the government of Kenya and the economy. And finally, I will be using illustrations to show-case how the effects of unemployment.

To begin with, I will first health issues as an effect of unemployment. Here I will use well-illustrated examples of how the Kenyan citizens have been frustrations and how they have acquired diseases out due to lack of employment. Some of the health effects include anxiety and depression due to constantly thinking about how they will secure employment hence contracting such diseases (Harnois & Gabriel, 2002). Here I will traverse in all corners and tackle all issues best of my knowledge about how unemployment has brought about mental disorders. I will also try to explain how unemployment has made it difficult to access medical services since it requires money to be attended to; consultation fees, laboratory fees, and money to buy medicine. Basically, for one to access any services they need money.

Secondly, I will tackle the social challenges that are accompanied by unemployment. The unemployed people are no longer welcoming fearing that when visited by friends and families they might lack what to offer them in return this is as explained by Havitz (2004). Unemployment has also rated the number of crimes in Kenya. This has resulted in people living in tension; the streets are no longer safe as they were before. Unemployment has led to the abuse of drugs and substance abuse. In this section, I will be explaining all the well-known social issues affecting society and the government in general.

Another social problem is that people are forced to engage in activities like prostitution just to be able to put food on the table. Way back in 2009 when paper mills were shut down, the people living around the factory were affected badly. Their living standards turned to worse, people got into a depression since they didn’t know how to take care of their family. Some of the workers took their own lives.

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Thirdly, I will be dealing with the economic issues as an effect of unemployment on the Kenyan economy and how they have caused the economic state of Kenya. I will also illustrate how unemployment has made Kenya a begging nation and how it is beyond its debt capacity.

Unemployment has done more harm than good to the jobless persons reducing their chances of being employed. When a person stays out of employment for a longer period of time, they tend to lose their efficiency on their performance hence their chances of securing jobs become fewer and fewer as the day passes (Dolton & O’Neill, 2002). When people are lacking jobs, they have no source of income and hence they cannot afford to pay their rent resulting in loss of their homes.

Unemployment has brought about political uncertainty. With the increasing rate of unemployment in the country, it has led to increased political tension since the unemployed people want jobs and ye none are produced resulting in scarcity and social inequity. Every unemployed person is in search of employment and when they here of a vacancy, the response from the unemployed people is always in large number (Guillebaud, 1942). This number is overwhelming and makes it difficult for them to be accommodated. A day cannot pass without cases of people fighting for jobs and ready to do anything in order to secure employment.

Finally, I will be concluding and giving my conclusions about the effects of unemployment. Unemployment has made life more miserable in Kenya. More to it will be discussed in detail below.

Health Problems

Unemployed has a lot of effects one of them being health-related problems. One of the effects of unemployment is health problems.

Unemployment has brought about mental condition. Longer periods of time without any form of employment have brought about mental problems like depression, low self-esteem, anxiety just to mention a few especially when a person is in dire need of employment as illustrated by Burdo (2018). This comes when the person seeking employment is true needs employment. Depression is achieved when the unemployed person thinks a lot about how to get employed but finding none. The inability of not being able to pay the bills will lead to one thinking a lot bringing about tension to occur to the individual and hence resulting to anxiety, depression and reduce the self-esteem of the person seeking employment (Jin, Sha, & Svoboda, 1997). This may also result in loss of human life.

Unemployment has led to the acquisition of diseases. This happens when the person seeking a job, does everything in their power possible to yield employment but nothing comes their way as stated by Burdo (2018). This has led to one thinking a lot resulting in one getting diseases like high blood pressure which comes about when one thinks a lot. The jobless people think about what will happen tomorrow how will they settle their bills. The unemployed persons lack basic commodities and sleep on an empty stomach and go for a longer period of time without consuming any food, this results in ulcers.

Unemployment has also made it difficult to access health services. For one to be examined, diagnosed or even treated they must have money and thus making it difficult for the jobless person to get medical services as elaborated by Hollands (2012). Doing the lab test requires money, without money you one cannot buy medicine let alone doing consultations with a medical practitioner making the unemployment vulnerable to sickness since they have no cash with them. This puts a major challenge to the unemployed people in the Kenyan society since accessing treatment is expensive.

Tension occurs leading to anxiety and the body to strain. The unemployed persons tend to think a lot about how they will survive and how to secure employment (Burdo, 2018). Unemployment has led to an increase in anxiety attacks in the country. The state of the mind of the Kenyan people is wanting, many youths have been diagnosed with anxiety and advised to seek counseling. This trend is becoming more common as the rate of unemployed persons has increased drastically. Re-employment has been one of the key solutions and the most definite cure of regaining the mental health of the unemployed people (Harnois & Gabriel, 2002).

Social Problems Due to Unemployment

Unemployment has brought about major implications for society. Unemployment has led to an increased rate of crime. An idle mind is a devil workshop and since the Kenyan person spends most of their time looking for employment finding none they resort to crime as outlined by Havitz (2004). They engage in burglary and robbery activities which are dangerous. This being the only way to generate income, but it comes at a cost; someone must be injured in the process. It is a do or die problem since it may result in death or acquiring injuries. Since they have to survive and settle their bills, they are forced to do the unthinkable.

Unemployment has led to tension at home. It is said that money makes life more comfortable and without it, life becomes unbearable. Unemployment has led to the breakup of many families as their family expenses cannot be catered. Families engage in arguments and quarrels resulting to increase of divorce. Family fights are on the rise and are constantly being reported occasionally.

High level of accidents. Most of the unemployed persons in Kenya have lost the meaning of life. They see themselves as not worthy to live, this makes them resort to taking their own lives in different ways. Some chose to end their lives by throwing themselves in front of speeding vehicles, some choose to hang themselves, as stated by Jin, Sha, & Svoboda (1997). Some of the people alternate to killing their entire life with the notion that they are setting their loved ones free from suffering.

Unemployment has led to increasing in drugs and substance abuse. The abuse of drugs has led to the contraction of diseases like HIV/AIDS through the sharing of syringes while using the drugs. Since the unemployed have nothing constructive to do they result to drowning their sorrows with alcohol, smoking cigarettes and bhang; this drug abuse has led to them acquiring diseases are very harmful to their health as it attracts diseases like liver cirrhosis, lung cancer and many more other as illustrated by Dolton and O’Neill (2002). And some of these diseases are not curable and have major effects on society and the individual at large.

Unemployment has led to stigmatization in Kenya. Unemployment brings more than just no work the individual it also brings about the disgrace that the unemployed person has to endure since no one likes to be referred as unemployed or an idle person. Stigmatization has led the unemployed to have low self-esteem and not trusting their own actions.

Unemployment has led to low standards of living. Since the unemployed persons have no income to cater to the basic needs, their life basically is a hand to mouth; they take what comes their way they have no choice as elaborated by Grusky, Western and Wimer (2011). This has brought about major repercussions like malnutrition due to improper feeding. Increased rate of disease attraction since there is no balanced diet hence the defense mechanism of the body is weakened.

Hollands (2012) found out that unemployment has let to immoral activities have. Unemployment has forced people with no jobs to engage in prostitution just to put food on the table. Sex has been commercialized and it is no longer sacred as it was created for. It is being used to generate income. Unemployment has forced persons with no employment to engage in immoral activities just to make their life better.

Unemployment has reduced the number of social outings. This is because there is no money for such activities and the few, they have is not even enough to cater to the family needs. The level of interactions between friends is decreasing drastically due to lack of money and time for the activity as elaborated by Guillebaud (1942). Some see this as a waste of time, instead of visiting one another they may as well spend that time in search of employment. Unemployment has made persons fear to visit one another as they have nothing to offer. The East African Railways was amongst the largest employers in Kenya and when it was shut down it led to loss of jobs and many people lost their jobs the case is the same when poster was forced to reduce its staff this led to reduced number of social outings and family visiting the upcountry (Frank & Charles, 1938).

Economic Issues

Unemployment has increased the rate of government borrowing. When the number of the unemployed increases the amount of revenue collection drops because the number of people working making the government to incur more debt by borrowing this is as explained by Burdo (2018). This will force the government to come up with projects that will help those within the source of income, this makes the Kenyan government spend money meant for development to the unemployed people (Frank and Charles, 1938). The government of Kenya not only pay the unemployed but also the family of the unemployed also are given some household things (Guillebaud, 1942).

The spending power of the unemployed is limited. The unemployed people have no place to generate income but what they can do is spend. This makes them spend restrict fully. As time goes by their expenditure decreases immensely and the problem is that they prefer saving to spending hence their spending power is limited this is as proven by Burdo (2018). As the expenditure reduces the economy is tempered with hence a stagnant or depreciating economy that is not able to grow and fund itself resulting to borrowing from other nations and the world bank this is as clarified by Dolton and O’Neill (2002).

Unemployment reduces the gross domestic product. With the high number of unemployed people in Kenya show-cases that the economy is operating below its complete ability and it is working below its potential resulting in the government giving out more but getting nothing in return (Burdo, 2018). This pushes the government into more debts making Kenya not to work towards the vision 2030 goal but to work towards settling its debt (Havitz, 2004).

A long period of unemployment will result to wearing away of the skill. Simpson (2019) states that the more a person stays without practicing what they are trained for, they tend to forget how to perform and deliver their skills resulting in loss of the skill. This simply is stealing from the economy since the skill remains idle and no achievement is achieved from the trained skill resulting in the slow growth of the economy. This will also lead to denial of basic needs like education to the family of the unemployed being locked out of school due to lack of school fees.

Unemployment leads to loss of human capital. When people stay out of employment for a longer period of time makes them loose on the monthly training that keeps the employers at per with the emerging trends about the jobs and hence reducing the level of service delivery, this is as labeled by Dolton and O’Neill (2002). If an employee is out of employment for a longer period of time, they tend to lose the vital element of the job, this results in slower service delivery as illustrated by Simpson (2019).


Unemployment is a critical issue that cuts across the country, tackling it needs professionalism. The effects are tremendous as discussed above. The only way we can reduce the number of depressed people, the number of divorces, the rate of people taking their own lives is through coming up with measures to reduce unemployment in Kenya. Children have been forced out of schools, families have been forced to relocate back to upcountry due to the high cost of living and yet they have no source of income to settle the bills. This discussion can go on and on over decades but if we don’t face it as a country, it will still haunt us.


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  2. Dolton, P., & O’Neill, D. (2002, April). The Long‐Run Effects of Unemployment Monitoring and Work‐Search Programs: Experimental Evidence from the United Kingdom. Journal of Labor Economics, 20, 23. DOI:10.1086/338686
  3. Frank, J., & Charles, R. (1938, July). Urban Unemployment and Economic Growth in Africa. Oxford Economic Papers, 65 No 4, 25. DOI:e/2662403
  4. Grusky, D. B., Western, B., & Wimer, C. (2011). The Great Recession. Russell Sage Foundation. DOI:10.7758/9781610447508
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  7. Havitz, M. E. (2004). The Diverse Worlds of Unemployed Adults: Consequences for Leisure, Lifestyle, and Well-being. Wilfrid Laurier University Press. Retrieved from
  8. Hollands, K. (2012). Effects of Unemployment on Health and Mental Based on Gender. Master of Social Work Clinical Research Papers, 47. Retrieved from
  9. Jin, R. L., Sha, C. P., & Svoboda, T. J. (1997). The Impact of Unemployment on Health: A Review of the Evidence. Journal of Public Health Policy, 18, 27. DOI:10.2307/3343311
  10. Simpson, S. D. (2019, May 7). The Cost of Unemployment to the Economy. Retrieved from Investopedia:

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