茅茅起义最重要的原因之一是对基库尤人的经济剥夺。基库尤人长期以来一直对肯尼亚白人定居者的土地不满意，他们的经济剥夺导致了整个基库尤人的巨大不满。尽管有人试图解决这个问题，基库尤人却被忽视了。Michael Coray认为，由于未能建立一个能够公平解决非洲对白人定居者不满的制度，基库尤人对殖民地政府的失败越来越不满，因此在茅茅起义的发展中扮演了重要的角色。在殖民统治期间，经济被剥夺;到1948年，125万吉库尤人被限制在2000平方英里的范围内，3万白人殖民者占领了12000平方英里的土地，表明了基库尤人在白人定居者中处于不利地位的程度，引起了他们的愤怒和不满。由于这些恶劣的生活条件，基库尤人迁移到城市的人数剧增;导致贫困、失业和人口过剩。尽管有这些因素，但有人认为，经济上的剥夺与茅茅起义爆发的原因并不特别重要。克洛德•韦尔奇(Claude Welch)声称，人们的不满主要是在部落基础上表达的，而不是以阶级为基础的，他以此作为证据，表明经济剥夺不像人们可能认为的那样重要。然而，不管它是否对茅茅起义的爆发作出了很大的贡献，毫无疑问，经济损失所造成的动乱对基库尤人造成了影响，而这也造成了茅茅起义。
Arguably one of the most important reasons for the Mau Mau rebellion was the economic deprivation of the Kikuyu. The Kikuyu had long been unhappy with white settlers in Kenya taking their land, and their economic deprivation lead to vast discontent throughout the Kikuyu. Despite attempts to address this issue, the Kikuyu's were ignored. Michael Coray has argued that by failing to create a system through which Africa grievances against white settlers could be settled fairly, the Kikuyu grew more dissatisfied with the colonial administrations failures, thus playing a significant part in the development of the Mau Mau rebellion. Economic deprivation continued throughout colonial rule; by 1948, 1.25 million Kikuyu were restricted to 2000 square miles whilst 30,000 white settlers occupied 12,000 square miles, demonstrating the extent to which the Kikuyu were disadvantaged by the white settlers, causing them anger and resentment. As a result to these poor living conditions, there was a huge increase in the number of Kikuyu migrating to the cities; leading to poverty, unemployment and overpopulation. Despite these factors, it has been argued that economic deprivation was not of particular importance in relation to why the Mau Mau rebellion broke out. Claude Welch has claimed that grievances were expressed primarily on a tribal basis as opposed to a class basis, which he uses as evidence to suggest that economic deprivation is not as significant a factor as one might believe. However, regardless of whether or not it contributed greatly to the break out of the Mau Mau rebellion, there is little doubt that the unrest caused by economic deprivation had an impact on the Kikuyu, and trough this contributed to the Mau Mau rebellion.