Kenya’s growth rate now at 2.2pc - Census

Saturday November 09 2019

A Kenya National Bureau of Statistics enumerator collects data from a resident of Shauri Estate in Eldoret, Uasin Gishu County in Kenya's Rift Valley on August 25, 2019. PHOTO | JARED NYATAYA | NMG


Kenya's population grew by 2.2 per cent annually from 2009 to 2019 to stand at 47.6 million—a drop from 2.9 per cent in the previous 10-year period.

According to results of the Population and Housing Census conducted in August and released on November 4 by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS), the country’s population grew by one million annually; the last census in 2009 recorded 37.7 million people.

KNBS Director General Zachary Mwangi said they are analysing the data to identify what led to the drop in population growth.

Murungaru Kimani, a population expert and lecturer at the University of Nairobi, says Kenyan women are having fewer babies.

“We’ve been seeing the fertility of Kenyan women declining since the 1980s. Forecasts from studies that we’ve carried out show that by 2050 a Kenyan woman will, on average, have two children in her lifetime,” said Prof Murungaru.

“In the 1980s, the fertility rate was eight live births per woman. By 2015, this had fallen to 3.9 births per woman as per the Kenya demographic and health survey of 2015. We are close to what is referred to as the critical threshold of approximately 2.1 children born per woman,” he added.


Kenya, with a land mass of 580,367 square kilometres, has a population density of 82 people per km².

Tanzania, with a population of 44.9 million, had an average annual growth rate of 2.7 per cent between 2002 and 2012.

Uganda had a population of 34.6 million people as per the last census in 2014, with an intercensal growth rate of 3 per cent between 2002 and 2014.

Comparatively, Rwanda recorded 10.5 million in the last census of 2012.

With only 26,338km² of land mass, Rwanda has the highest population density in the region, at 415 people per square kilometre. As at 2014, Uganda had a population density of 173.

Tanzania, with 947,300 km² and the largest country in the region, is also the most sparsely populated with a population density of 51 people per square kilometre, yet Tanzania has an average of 4.8 members per household, the highest in the region almost at per with those of Uganda at 4.7 and Rwanda at 4.3. Kenya has an average household size of 3.9 members.

Comparing the region’s cities based on their population densities, Kigali has the smallest population with 1,132,686 inhabitants, (and a population density with 1,552 people per km²).

Kampala has 1,507,080 inhabitants (lower than neighbouring Wakiso district which has 1,997,418 people).

Not surprisingly, the region’s capital cities are the most crowded areas of their countries per square kilometre, with Kampala, having the highest density with 7,928 people (its population grew to 1.51 million in 2014 from 1.19 million in 2002).

Nairobi, has 6,247 people per km², and a population of 4.4 million people, having grown by 1.26 million people since the last census that counted 3.1 million.

In Tanzania, about 3,000 people are concentrated in Dar es Salaam. In the 2012 census, Dar es Salaam was found to have a population of 4.36 million accounting for 10 per cent of the mainland’s population.

In the decade between the last two counts, Dar es Salaam’s population nearly doubled from 2.49 million in 2002.