Demographics of Kenya

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The demography of Kenya is monitored by the Kenyan National Bureau of Statistics. Kenya is a multi-ethnic state in the Great Lakes region of East Africa. It is inhabited primarily by Bantu and Nilotic populations, with some Cushitic-speaking ethnic minorities in the north. Its total population was estimated at 47 million as of 2017.[1]

A national census was conducted in 1999, although the results were never released. A new census was undertaken in 2009, but turned out to be controversial, as the questions about ethnic affiliation seemed inappropriate after the ethnic violence of the previous year.[2] Preliminary results of the census were published in 2010.[3]

Kenya's population was reported as 38.6 million during the 2009 census compared to 28.7 million inhabitants in 1999, 21.4 million in 1989, and 15.3 million in 1979.[4] This was an increase of 2.5 percent over 30 years, or an average growth rate of more than 3 percent per year. The population growth rate has been reported as reduced during the 2000s, and was estimated at 2.7 percent (as of 2010), resulting in an estimate of 46.5 million in 2016.[5]

Ethnic groups[edit]

A Maasai man.

Kenya has a very diverse population that includes most major ethnic, racial and linguistic groups found in Africa. Bantu and Nilotic populations together constitute around 97% of the nation's inhabitants.[6]

Kenya's largest ethnic group is the Kikuyu. They make up less than a fifth of the population. Since Kenyan independence in 1963, Kenyan politics have been characterized by ethnic tensions and rivalry between the larger groups. This devolved into ethnic violence in the 2007–2008 Kenyan crisis.

In Kenya's last colonial census of 1962, population groups residing in the territory included European, African and Asian individuals.[7] According to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, Kenya had a population of 38,610,097 by 2009. The largest native ethnic groups were the Kikuyu (6,622,576), Luhya (5,338,666), Kalenjin (4,967,328), Luo (4,044,440), Kamba (3,893,157), Kisii people (2,205,669), Mijikenda (1,960,574), Meru (1,658,108), Turkana (988,592), and Maasai (841,622). Foreign-rooted populations included Somalis (2,385,572), Asians (81,791), Europeans (67,000), and Kenyan Arabs (40,760).[8]

Arabs[edit]

Arabs form a small but historically important minority ethnic group in Kenya. They are principally concentrated along the coast in cities such as Mombasa. A Muslim community, they primarily came from Oman and Hadhramaut in Yemen, and are engaged in trade. Arabs are locally referred to as Washihiri or, less commonly, as simply Shihiri in the Bantu Swahili language, Kenya's lingua franca.[9] According to the 2009 Census, Kenyan Arabs number 40,760 people.[10]

Asians[edit]

Kenyan Asians are descended from South Asian migrants. Significant Asian migration to Kenya began between 1896 and 1901 when some 32,000 indentured labourers were recruited from British India to build the Kenya-Uganda Railway.[11] The majority of Kenyan Asians hail from the Gujarat and Punjab regions.[12]The community grew significantly during the colonial period, and in the 1962 census Asians made up a third of the population of Nairobi and consisted of 176,613 people across the country.[13]

Since Kenyan independence large numbers have emigrated due to race-related tensions with the Bantu and Nilotic majority. Those that remain are principally concentrated in the business sector, and Asians continue to form one of the more prosperous communities in the region.[9] According to the 2009 Census, Kenyan Asians number 46,782 people, while Asians without Kenyan citizenship number 35,009 individuals.[10] In 2017, they were officially recognised at the 44th tribe of Kenya.[14]

Bantu peoples[edit]

Bantus are the single largest population division in Kenya. The term Bantu denotes widely dispersed but related peoples that speak south-central Niger–Congo languages. Originally from West-Central Africa, Bantus began a millennium-long series of migrations referred to as the Bantu expansion that first brought them to southeast Africa about 2,000 years ago.

Most Bantu are farmers. Some of the prominent Bantu groups in Kenya include the Kikuyu, the Kamba, the Luhya, the Kisii, the Meru, and the Mijikenda. The Swahili people are descended from Mijikenda Bantu peoples that intermarried with Arab and Persian immigrants.[15][16]

Cushitic peoples[edit]

Cushitic peoples form a small minority of Kenya's population. They speak languages belonging to the Afroasiatic family and originally came from Ethiopia and Somalia in northeastern Africa. Most are herdsmen and Muslim.[17] Cushites are concentrated in the northernmost North Eastern Province, which borders Somalia.[9]

The Cushitic peoples are divided into two groups: the Southern Cushites and the Eastern Cushites.

  • The Southern Cushites were the second-earliest inhabitants of Kenya after the indigenous hunter-gatherer groups,[18] and the first of the Cushitic-speaking peoples to migrate from their homeland in the Horn of Africa about 2,000 years ago.[17] They were progressively displaced in a southerly direction or absorbed, or both, by the incoming Nilotic and Bantu groups until they wound up in Tanzania.[17] There are no longer any Southern Cushites left in Kenya. (The Dahalo were originally pre-Cushitic peoples who adopted the language of their dominant Southern Cushitic neighbors sometime toward the last millennium BC.[19]).
  • The Eastern Cushites include the Oromo and the Somali. Of these, the Somali are the most recent arrivals to Kenya, having first come from Somalia a few centuries ago.[17] After the Northern Frontier District (North Eastern Province) was handed over to Kenyan nationalists at the end of British colonial rule in Kenya, Somalis in the region fought the Shifta War against Kenyan troops to join their kin in the Somali Republic to the north. Although the war ended in a cease-fire, Somalis in the region still identify and maintain close ties with their kin in Somalia and see themselves as one people.[20] An entrepreneurial community, they established themselves in the business sector, particularly in Eastleigh, Nairobi.[21]

Europeans[edit]

Europeans in Kenya are primarily the descendants of British migrants during the colonial period. Many are of aristocratic descent and still continue to wield significant influence, especially over Kenya's political elite. Since the Independence of Kenya, Britons and other Europeans in Kenya also continue to dominate the local business community.[9] According to the 2009 Census, Kenyan Europeans number 35,000 people, while Europeans without Kenyan citizenship number 32,000 individuals.

Nilotic peoples[edit]

Nilotes are the second-largest group of peoples in Kenya. They speak Nilo-Saharan languages and came to Southeast Africa by way of South Sudan.[15] Most Nilotes in Kenya are herdsmen, and they have a fearsome reputation as warriors and cattle-rustlers. The most prominent of these groups include the Luo, the Maasai, the Samburu, the Turkana, and the Kalenjin.[15] As with the Bantu, the Nilotes have adopted many customs and practices from the Cushitic groups, including the age set system of social organization, circumcision, and vocabulary terms.[22][17]

Languages[edit]

Lord's Prayer in Swahili, a Bantu language that alongside English serves as a lingua franca for many in Kenya.

Kenya's various ethnic groups typically speak their mother tongues within their own communities.The two official languages, English and Swahili, serve as the main lingua franca between the various ethnic groups. English is widely spoken in commerce, schooling and government.[23] Peri-urban and rural dwellers are less multilingual, with many in rural areas speaking only their native languages.[24]

According to Ethnologue, there are a total of 69 languages spoken in Kenya. Most belong to two broad language families: Niger-Congo (Bantu branch) and Nilo-Saharan (Nilotic branch), which are spoken by the country's Bantu and Nilotic populations, respectively. The Cushitic and Arab ethnic minorities speak languages belonging to the separate Afro-Asiatic family, with the Indian and European residents speaking languages from the Indo-European family.[25]

Population[edit]

According to the 2017 revision of the World Population Prospects[26], the total population was 48,461,567 in 2016 compared to 6,077,000 in 1950, and around 1,700,000 in 1900. The proportion of children below the age of 15 in 2010 was 42.5%, 54.9% between the ages of 15 and 65, and 2.7% was 65 years or older.[27] Worldometers estimates the total population at 48,466,928 inhabitants, a 29th global rank.[28]

Year Total population (x 1000) Population aged 0–14 (%) Population aged 15–64 (%) Population aged 65+ (%)
1950 6,077 39.8 56.3 3.9
1955 6,980 42.8 53.4 3.8
1960 8,105 46.4 49.9 3.7
1965 9,505 48.4 48.0 3.6
1970 11,252 49.1 47.5 3.4
1975 13,486 49.6 47.1 3.3
1980 16,268 50.0 47.1 3.0
1985 19,655 50.0 47.2 2.8
1990 23,447 49.0 48.3 2.7
1995 27,426 46.5 50.8 2.7
2000 31,254 44.3 52.9 2.8
2005 35,615 42.7 54.5 2.8
2010 40,513 42.5 54.9 2.7

Population by province in 2009 census[edit]

A map of Kenya.

[29]

Province 2009
Kenya (country total) 38,610,097
Nairobi (capital city) 3,138,369
Central 4,383,743
Coast 3,325,307
Eastern 5,668,123
North Eastern 2,310,757
Nyanza 5,442,711
Rift Valley 10,006,805
Western 4,334,282

Population by census year[edit]

Year Population
1962 8,636,300
1969 10,942,705
1979 15,327,061
1989 21,448,774
1999 28,686,607
2009 40,610,097

Fertility and Births (Demographic and Health Surveys)[edit]

Total Fertility Rate (TFR) (Wanted Fertility Rate) and Crude Birth Rate (CBR):[30]

Year CBR (Total) TFR (Total) CBR (Urban) TFR (Urban) CBR (Rural) TFR (Rural)
1977 8,1
1984 7,7
1989 6,7 4,5 7,1
1993 35,8 5,40 (3,4) 35,1 3,44 (2,5) 35,9 5,80 (3,7)
1998 34,6 4,70 (3,5) 33,6 3,12 (2,6) 34,7 5,16 (3,8)
2003 37,5 4,9 (3,6) 35,3 3,3 (2,6) 38,1 5,4 (3,9)
2008–2009 (census) 34,8 4,6 (3,4) 32,5 2,9 (2,5) 35,3 5,2 (3,7)
2014 30,5 3,9 (3,0) 31,0 3,1 (2,6) 30,3 4,5 (3,4)

Fertility data as of 2014 (DHS Program):[31]

Region Total fertility rate Percentage of women age 15–49 currently pregnant Mean number of children ever born to women age 40–49
Coast 4.3 6.6 5.5
North Eastern 6.4 12.0 7.1
Eastern 3.4 4.6 4.7
Central 2.8 4.8 3.7
Rift Valley 4.5 7.0 5.5
Western 4.7 6.7 6.1
Nyanza 4.3 5.9 5.8
Nairobi 2.7 6.8 3.1

UN population projections[edit]

Numbers are in thousands. UN medium variant projections[27]

  • 2015 46,332
  • 2020 52,563
  • 2025 59,054
  • 2030 65,928
  • 2035 73,257
  • 2040 80,975
  • 2045 88,907
  • 2050 96,887

Vital statistics[edit]

Registration of vital events is in Kenya not complete. The Population Department of the United Nations prepared the following estimates. [27]

Period Live births per year Deaths per year Natural change per year CBR* CDR* NC* TFR* IMR*
1950–1955 334 000 154 000 181 000 51.2 23.6 27.7 7.48 147
1955–1960 388 000 163 000 225 000 51.5 21.6 29.8 7.79 134
1960–1965 449 000 165 000 284 000 51.0 18.8 32.2 8.07 117
1965–1970 525 000 172 000 353 000 50.6 16.5 34.1 8.11 104
1970–1975 628 000 178 000 450 000 50.8 14.4 36.4 7.99 91
1975–1980 743 000 186 000 557 000 49.9 12.5 37.4 7.64 80
1980–1985 869 000 192 000 677 000 48.4 10.7 37.7 7.22 70
1985–1990 972 000 214 000 757 000 45.1 9.9 35.1 6.54 67
1990–1995 1 003 000 252 000 751 000 39.4 9.9 29.5 5.57 66
1995–2000 1 115 000 345 000 770 000 38.0 11.8 26.2 5.07 69
2000–2005 1 294 000 427 000 867 000 38.7 12.8 25.9 5.00 70
2005–2010 1 447 000 429 000 1 017 000 38.0 11.3 26.7 4.80 65
2010–2015 1 531 000 376 000 1 155 000 4.44
* CBR = crude birth rate (per 1000); CDR = crude death rate (per 1000); NC = natural change (per 1000); IMR = infant mortality rate per 1000 births; TFR = total fertility rate (number of children per woman)

Births and deaths [32]

Year Population Live births Deaths Natural increase Crude birth rate Crude death rate Rate of natural increase TFR
2009 698 447 178 352 520 095
2010 798 016 185 100 612 916
2011 771 150 182 652 588 498
2012 801 815 187 811 614 004
2013 870 599 194 332 676 267
2014 954 254 198 611 755 643
2016 948 351 189 930 758 421

Population statistics[edit]

The following demographic statistics are from the CIA World Factbook, unless otherwise indicated.

Total population is reported as 47.6 million as of July 2017.

As of 2015, 25.6% of the population was urban.

Health[edit]

Like the demographics of Africa in general, Kenya is plagued by high infant mortality, low life expectancy, malnourishment (32%of population) and HIV/AIDS. While these concerns remain grave, a trend towards improvement is reported in the period of 2006 to 2010: Infant mortality was at estimated at 59.26 deaths/1,000 live births as of 2006, decreasing to 54.7 deaths/1,000 live births as of 2010. Life expectancy was estimated at 48.9 years as of 2006, and has risen to 64 years in 2012.[33]

According to 2008–09 Kenyan government survey, total fertility was 4.6, contraception usage among married women was 46 percent.[34] Total fertility rate has decreased 4.91 children per woman (2006 estimate), to 4.38 (2010 estimate). Literacy (age 7 and over) was estimated at 85.1% in 2003 (male: 90.6%, female: 79.7%).

Period Life expectancy in
Years[35]
1950–1955 42.30
1955–1960 Increase 44.73
1960–1965 Increase 48.02
1965–1970 Increase 50.75
1970–1975 Increase 53.68
1975–1980 Increase 56.32
1980–1985 Increase 58.76
1985–1990 Decrease 58.62
1990–1995 Decrease 55.94
1995–2000 Decrease 52.38
2000–2005 Increase 52.73
2005–2010 Increase 59.72
2010–2015 Increase 65.40

Religion[edit]

Pew Research Center (2010)[36]
religion percent
Christianity
84.8%
Islam
9.7%
None
2.5%
Traditionalists
1.7%
Other
1.2%
Unspecified
0.1%

CIA World Factbook estimate:[5]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Kenya Population (2017, 2018)". Worldometers.info. Retrieved 7 November 2017.
  2. ^ Kenya begins contentious census BBC News, 24 August 2009.
  3. ^ Kenya defends tribal census figures BBC News, 31 August 2010.
  4. ^ "Kenya: Provinces, Counties, Cities, Towns, Urban Centers – Population Statistics in Maps and Charts". Citypopulation.de. Retrieved 7 November 2017.
  5. ^ a b "CIA World Fact Book – Kenya". CIA – The World Fact Book. Retrieved 7 November 2017.
  6. ^ Asongu, J. J.; Marr, Marvee (2007). Doing Business Abroad: A Handbook for Expatriates. Greenview Publishing Co. pp. 12 & 112. ISBN 0-9797976-3-2.
  7. ^ "Kenya Population Census 1962, Appendix 1" (PDF). Government of Kenya. Retrieved 31 July 2017.
  8. ^ "The 2009 Kenya Population and Housing Census Volume II – Population and Household Distribution by Social Economic Characteristics p. 397-398". Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS).
  9. ^ a b c d Godfrey Mwakikagile, Kenya: identity of a nation, (Godfrey Mwakikagile: 2007), p.99-102.
  10. ^ a b "Population and Housing Census – Ethnic Affiliation". Kenya National Bureau of Statistics. Archived from the original on 21 November 2013. Retrieved 16 December 2013.
  11. ^ Evans, Ruth (24 May 2000). "Kenya's Asian heritage on display". BBC. Retrieved 16 December 2013.
  12. ^ Herzig, Pascale, South Asians in Kenya: Gender, Generation and Changing Identities in Diaspora, LIT Verlag Münster, 2006, page 28
  13. ^ Herzig, Pascale, South Asians in Kenya: Gender, Generation and Changing Identities in Diaspora, LIT Verlag Münster, 2006, page 28
  14. ^ "Kenya's-44th-tribe". The Nation.
  15. ^ a b c A. Okoth & A. Ndaloh, Peak Revision K.C.P.E. Social Studies, (East African Publishers), p.60-61.
  16. ^ S. Wandibba et al, Social Studies STD 6, (East African Publishers), p.45-47.
  17. ^ a b c d e S. Wandibba et al, p.19-20.
  18. ^ H. Okello Ayot, Topics in East African history, 1000–1970 (East African Literature Bureau: 1976), p.13.
  19. ^ Randall L. Pouwels, Horn and Crescent: Cultural Change and Traditional Islam on the East African Coast, 800–1900, Volume 53 of African Studies, (Cambridge University Press: 2002), p.9.
  20. ^ Mwakikagile, p.79.
  21. ^ "Kenya/Somalia: Somalia community doing booming business in country". Afrika.no. Retrieved 7 November 2017.
  22. ^ Robert O. Collins, The southern Sudan in historical perspective, (Transaction Publishers: 2006), p.9-10.
  23. ^ Proquest Info & Learning (COR) (2009). Culturegrams: World Edition. Proquest/Csa Journal Div. p. 98. ISBN 0977809161.
  24. ^ Brown, E. K.; Asher, R. E.; Simpson, J. M. Y. (2006). Encyclopedia of language & linguistics, Volume 1, Edition 2. Elsevier. p. 181. ISBN 0080442994.
  25. ^ "Kenya". Ethnologue.com. Retrieved 7 November 2017.
  26. ^ "World Population Prospects: The 2017 Revision". ESA.UN.org (custom data acquired via website). United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division. Retrieved 10 September 2017.
  27. ^ a b c "Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat, World Population Prospects: The 2010 Revision". Esa.un.org. Retrieved 7 November 2017.
  28. ^ "Kenya Population (2017, 2018) – Worldometers". Worldometers.info. Retrieved 7 November 2017.
  29. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 August 2013. Retrieved 2011-05-22.
  30. ^ "MEASURE DHS: Demographic and Health Surveys". Microdata.worldbank.org. Retrieved 7 November 2017.
  31. ^ "Demographic and Health Survey 2014" (PDF). Dhsprograms.com. Retrieved 7 November 2017.
  32. ^ "United Nations Statistics Division – Demographic and Social Statistics". Unstats.un.org. Retrieved 7 November 2017.
  33. ^ "Kenya's life expectancy jumps to 64 years". Nation.co.ke. Retrieved 7 November 2017.
  34. ^ "Kenya – Kenya Demographic and Health Survey 2008–09". Statistics.knbs.or.ke. Retrieved 7 November 2017.
  35. ^ "World Population Prospects - Population Division - United Nations". esa.un.org. Retrieved 2018-08-26.
  36. ^ "Pew Research Center's Religion & Public Life Project: Kenya"

 This article incorporates public domain material from the CIA World Factbook document "2006 edition".

External links[edit]

Media related to Demographics of Kenya at Wikimedia Commons