Kenyan Population Census 2019-The Figures and Implications

The Kenya Natinal Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) has released the  population census 2019 results  and as usual the figures have been politicised. Some political leaders have disputed the results because the figures are less than they expected, or the number of the residents in their regions have reduced. In Ikolomani for example, the number reduced. Other leaders are happy because their figures have increased.


Overall population

Total population Female Male Intersex


24,014,000 23,548,000 1,524

Nairobi  has the highest number of intersex at 245 followed by Kiambu at 135 while Tana River had the least at 6.

Although there are 460,000 more females than males in Kenya, 14 counties mostly from pastoral communities recorded the opposite .


Counties with more males than females

County Number of more males than females
Garissa 76,000
Wajir 49,000
Turkana 21,219
Marsabit 27,329
Mombasa 12,000
Isiolo 11,027
Lamu 10,290
Taita Taveta 6,010
Baringo 5,894
Samburu 3,223
Tana River 1,159
Laikipia 338
Elgeyo Marakwet 166
Narok 237


There are 23,548,000 households with 3.9 people per household. Mandera has the largest number of people per household at 6.9 while Nairobi has the smallest at 2.9.

The country’s sex ratio is 98.1 (this refers to the number of males per 100 females).


Population by regions

Rift Valley 12.75 m


Eastern 6.36m
Nyanza 6.27m
Central Kenya 5.48m
Nairobi 4.4m
Coast 4.33m
North Eastern 2.95m
Western 5m



Population by counties

Highest Lowest
County Population County Population
Nairobi 4,397,073 Marsabit 459,785
Mombasa 1,208,333 Tana River 315,943
Vihiga 590,013 Isiolo 268,002
Kisii 1,266,860 Wajir 781,263
Kiambu 2,417,735 Turkana 926,976


Nairobi is the most congested county with 6,247 per square kilometer while Marsabit is the least populated county with six people per square kilometer.

Isiolo nearly doubled its population and leads in the counties with the most population growth.

Mandera county is the only administrative unit that registered a decrease in population while Nyamira County recorded the smallest increase in the last 10 years. Read the full report here https://www.knbs.or.ke/


Comments by political leaders

Census data is shocking since we have recorded a tremendous increase in the number of births in the last 10 years compared to deaths. We will study the report and share our feedback with the census team” Nyamira Governor John Nyagarama’.

Meru Governor Kiraitu Murungi protested the results saying the figure of 1.5m was incorrect. He said it should be correct or else the county will sue KNBS.

Nandi Senator Samson Cheragei encouraged Nandi residents to shelve family planning in order to increase their numbers.

Laikipia counties Simon Mwangi said most people from the area work in neighboring communities and might have been counted there.

Former MP for Ikolomani wrote on his tweet, “Mr President. Sir, the population of Ikolomani is reportedly now 111,743 down from the 143,153 in 2009. There was no epidemic in Ikoomani! This fake census results are meant to deny some regions & communities the national shareable revenue. Stop it!”

Tharaka Nithi Mp Gitonga Murugara  and Governor Muthomi Njuki have dismissed the figures and promised to petition KNBS for a repeat of the exercise.

KNBS director Zachary Mwangi has however dismissed the complains by the leaders and advised them to follow proper channels to present their grievances.

Sources of the comments: Daily Nation and Twitter


What journalists should do for better reporting

  1. Read the whole report to understand the results and simplify it to your audience.
  2. Find out the population of your region, whether the residents agree with the figures or not and why?
  3. Find out what the figures mean to the residents of your area.

By Carolyne Oyugi

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