What you need to know on Kenya’s population


Kenya’s population has grown by 9.9 million people over the last ten years to reach 47.6 million this year, latest official government data has revealed.

According to the 2019 ‘Kenya Population and Housing Census’ results presented to President Uhuru Kenyatta this week at State House Nairobi, the total population enumerated during the census exercise conducted in August this year was 47,564,296 persons.


The results indicate that the female population which stands at 24,014,716 accounts for 50.5 per cent of the total population while the male population is 23,548,056 persons.

The 2019 census report, presented to the Head of State by Director General of the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) Zachary Mwangi shows that Nairobi is the most populous county in the country.

Nairobi , which is also Kenya’s capital city, has a population of 4.4 million people followed by Kiambu (2.4 million), Nakuru (2.16 million), Kakamega (1.87 million) and Bungoma (1.67).

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Mombasa, which is Kenya’s second largest city, has a population of 1.2 million while Kisumu County, which is home to the third largest city in Kenya has a population of 1.1 million people.

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The least populous counties are Lamu(143,920), Isiolo (268,002), Samburu (310,3217), Tana River (315,943) and Taita Taveta (340,671).

Speaking when he officially launched the census report, President Kenyatta said the findings will guide successful planning and implementation of government development initiatives, including the Big Four Agenda programmes.

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The President has asked KNBS to release other census reports as scheduled and directed all arms of government to make use of the results in their planning processes.

“These results now provide us with a unique opportunity to realign our development strategies, policies and programmes,” Kenyatta said.

“I therefore direct all Ministries, Departments and Agencies to utilise these results,” the Head of State instructed as he urged other arms of government including counties to utilise the results in their planning processes.

In addition to being the first census under the 2010 constitution, it was also the first such exercise in the history of Kenya where technology was fully deployed.

Kenya adopted the use of mobile technology to collect data during the 2019 census as recommended by the UN for the 2020 round of censuses.

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This was the first census in Kenya to use mobile technology in the capture and transmission of data for both cartographic mapping and enumeration. The mobile devices used for data collection were assembled by local universities.

“I am proud to note that the mobile devices used in the census were assembled by our local universities and data capture software was internally developed by the Bureau (KNBS),” the President said of the national exercise that was fully funded by the government.


Martin Mwita is a business reporter based in Kenya. He covers equities, capital markets, trade and the East African Cooperation markets.

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