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Church income is utilized to build and maintain elaborate buildings

Kiribati is increasingly monetised, with people needing cash to buy food, clothes and durables, pay for education, some health costs and finance churches. Education and the church are the two significant areas of expenditure.

A cash economy is increasingly replacing the traditional subsistence lifestyle.

Diets have changed and people were spending around 30 per cent of income on imported food.

The church is a major source of financial stress for Kiribati families as average offerings are often high, sometimes 30 per cent or more on the Outer islands. Sometimes followers are ostracised and shamed into making large offerings.

Church income is utilized to build and maintain elaborate buildings, cover staff costs and other general costs. It is not used to help those in need therefore the churches do not give back in a material sense.

As a result of the scarcity of employment opportunities, each adult with a cash income supports about six others.