Gaining Insights on SDG10 with Utility Data

Official measures of poverty and inequality are generally produced with a multi-year time lag and have varying levels of coverage across countries. With the project, we aimed to use big data sources and methodologies to measure socio-economic indicators to inform SDG10 - Reduce inequality within and among countries.

We present here the results of analyzing utility (water consumption) data in Kampala to inform SDG10.

The Scope of Analysis

Household expenditure is a recognized proxy indicator of income used in Living Standards surveys. A proxy of household expenditure is water consumption purchased from a supplier.

With this project, we tested the use of utility (water) consumption data to measure inequality in Kampala. Our objective was to estimate inequality in an urban setting measured with actual water consumption.

A total of 60,000 records of water consumption (billing data) from the National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC) were analysed to assess data quality and define the scope of the project.

We selected data collected by NWSC domestic and public standpipe meters only (excluding institution or government and commercial standpipe meters). The unit of measurement selected was water consumption.

Visualizing Water Consumption

We used Google Earth to create dynamic visualizations that allow understanding of trends and changes in areas over time.

Geographical distribution of water consumption in Kampala.

data selection
Change in consumption over time

Disclaimer – To protect NWSC data, the data presented in the visualization is a mock up.

Estimating Population in Slums

Population estimates

Population estimates were computed with data from Worlpop, the Uganda Population Census and estimates by the United Nations. To correct the estimates on populations in the slums, the following steps were taking:


11 slums were digitized and the same calculations were done in 5 affluent parishes in Kampala including Kololo I, Nakasero III, Nsambya Housing Estate, Makindye I and Kyambogo for comparison.


We estimated the physical average area of a household in the slums using satellite imagery.


We estimated the number of individuals in a household in the slums using socio-economic studies.


We applied the calculations to estimate the population in the slums.

Estimating the population in slums in Kampala.

Informing SDG10 - Inequality

It is well documented that income inequality is on the rise, with the richest 10 percent earning up to 40 percent of total global income. The poorest 10 percent earn only between 2 percent and 7 percent of total global income. In developing countries, inequality has increased by 11 percent if we take into account the growth of population.

Average access to clean water source per capita

Data Privacy and Protection

The privacy issues are addressed through the privacy and data protection principles set out by UN Global Pulse. These principles are designed to ensure that the data analysed is handled with the utmost protection of the interests of the individuals involved.

A project involving analysis of medical data naturally requires high levels of privacy considerations and protection and Pulse Lab Kampala takes extra measures to protect the people behind the data and applies strict privacy principles to ensure that individuals are not exposed in a way that is to their disadvantage.

About Pulse Lab Kampala

Pulse Lab Kampala is the third lab of the United Nations Global Pulse network under the leadership of the UN Resident Coordinator. It supports the UN Country Team and the Government of Uganda to achieve the Global Goals for sustainable development. As a regional hub, it leverages data innovation, new sources of digital 'Big Data' and real-time analysis techniques.

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