This paper investigated whether female headed households are poorer than male headed households in south west Ethiopia. The study employed 395 sample household questionnaires based on consumption expenditure data. The poverty measurement indices show that female headed households are more exposed for poverty than male-headed households. This result is also supported by the logistic regression output which indicates that gender of the household head has significant influence on poverty status of the households which implies female headed households are necessarily poorer than male headed households. In addition, variables such as sex, household size, dependency ratio, land size, credit access, occupation and residence are key determinants of household poverty. Whereas, age and education level of sampled household heads were not statistically significant. Finally, based on the result that female headed households are relatively poorer than male headed households, it is argued that policy options targeting female headed households would be a useful approach to reducing poverty in the study area.
Key words: Poverty, gender, households, south west Ethiopia.
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