Family planning slows population growth

Growth curtailed by increasing use of contraception, 60 per cent of all married women use family planning

In Summary

•Kenya has one of Africa's lowest population growths, at position 40.

•The country has 23, 548,056 males, 24,014,716 females and 1,524 intersex people, who were counted for the first time.

Mathare Valley Slum, which has the highest population density.
DENSELY PACKED: Mathare Valley Slum, which has the highest population density.
Image: FILE:

Kenya's population is growing at the slowest rate since Independence.

The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics on Monday announced the population stands at 47,564,296.

This represents an inter-censal growth rate of 2.2 per cent from a population of 38,610,097 in the 2009 census, KNBS said.


Growth has been slowed by the increasing use of contraceptives, currently used by 60 per cent of all married women, the Ministry of Health said.

KNBS director general Zachary Mwangi said while the actual population numbers rose over the years, the rate of growth was constant at 3.4 per cent since the 1962 Census, until 1989. 

The inter-censal rate remained at 2.9 per cent between 1989 and 2009.

The current dip to 2.2 per cent is the sharpest ever recorded.

"The inter-censal growth rate has declined to 2.2 per cent in 2019, from 2.9 per cent in 2009," Mwangi said as he presented President Uhuru Kenyatta with the 2019 Kenya Population And Housing Census results at State House, Nairobi.

Average household size has declined to 3.9 in 2019 from 4.2 in 2009, Mwangi said.

Kenya has one of Africa's lowest population growth rates, at position 40, United Nations figures show.


The Census Report contains population figures at the national, county and sub-county levels. 

It was released days before Kenya hosts the 25th International Conference on Population and Development in Nairobi next week from Nov 13 to 15.

The report shows Kenya has 23,548,056 males, 24,014,716 females and 1,524 intersex people, who were counted for the first time.

Nairobi county has the highest population, increasing from 3,138,369 in 2009 to 4,397,073 in 2019. 

Kiambu is the next most populous county with 2,417,735 people, followed by Nakuru (2,162,202), Kakamega (1,867,579), Bungoma (1,670,570), Meru (1,545,714), Kilifi (1,453,787), Machakos ( 1,421,932) and  Kisii (1,266,860).

With only 143,920 people, Lamu has the lowest population among counties, followed by Isiolo (268,002), Samburu (310,327), Tana River (315,943), Taita Taveta (340,671) and Tharaka Nithi (393,177). 

President Uhuru Kenyatta directed all ministries to use the latest figures for planning.

"I urge other arms of government, counties, stakeholders and development partners to make use of the results in their planning processes," he said. 

He said Kenya is the first country in Africa to release census results within two months after enumeration. 

The KNBS said it will analyse the census data further to produce four more reports focusing on population by administrative units up to sub-location, age and sex by county, political units and by socio-economic characteristics.

Uhuru said this census, conducted between August 24-31, was the first in Kenya to fully embrace the use of technology.

"The mobile devices used in the census were assembled by our local universities and data capture software was internally developed by the Bureau," he said.

The exercise cost Sh18 billion, compared to the Sh8.4 billion spent in 2009. 

In the 2009 Census, results from eight districts (now sub-counties) were flagged for glaring anomalies, meaning the number were inflated. 

The areas are Lagdera, which reported 245,123 people in 2009, Wajir East (224, 418), Mandera Central (417, 294), Mandera East (288, 687) and Mandera West (319, 775).

Others were Turkana Central (254, 606), Turkana North (374, 414) and Turkana South (226, 379) in 2009.

In the results Mwangi released yesterday, the numbers for these regions have dropped considerably.

Lagdera's population dropped to 50,315 people, while Wajir East's dropped to 110,654, Mandera Central (157,220), Mandera East (157,220) and Mandera West (98,300).

Mwangi said the population of Turkana Central now is 185,305, Turkana North (65,218) and Turkana South (153,736).

The results show the most densely populated place in Kenya is Mathare in Nairobi, where 68,941 people live on one square kilometre. 

It is followed by Kamukunji with 25,455 people per square kilometre.

The least populated areas are Loiyangalani and Marsabit North subcounties with four people each per 247 acres.

Overall, Marsabit is the least populated county with six people per square kilometre.

On average, there are 82 people per square kilometre in Kenya. 

A household in Kenya has an average of three people. But Mandera county has bucked the trend to have the biggest households in the country, with each typically consisting of 6.9 people, followed by Wajir with 6.1, Garissa 5.9, and Marsabit 5.8.

The smallest households are found in Nairobi with only 2.9 people, and Kiambu, Kirinyaga and Nyeri each with three people. 

In Kenya, a census is conducted every 10 years.