Kenya People - 2021


GEOGRAPHICAL NAMES  Spanish Simplified Chinese French German Russian Hindi Arabic Portuguese


54,685,051 (July 2021 est.)

note: estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected

country comparison to the world: 27


noun: Kenyan(s)

adjective: Kenyan

Ethnic groups

Kikuyu 17.1%, Luhya 14.3%, Kalenjin 13.4%, Luo 10.7%, Kamba 9.8%, Somali 5.8%, Kisii 5.7%, Mijikenda 5.2%, Meru 4.2%, Maasai 2.5%, Turkana 2.1%, non-Kenyan 1%, other 8.2% (2019 est.)


English (official), Kiswahili (official), numerous indigenous languages

printed major-language sample:
The World Factbook, the indispensable source for basic information. (English)

The World Factbook, Chanzo cha Lazima Kuhusu Habari ya Msingi. (Kiswahili)


Christian 85.5% (Protestant 33.4%, Catholic 20.6%, Evangelical 20.4%, African Instituted Churches 7%, other Christian 4.1%), Muslim 10.9%, other 1.8%, none 1.6%, don't know/no answer 0.2% (2019 est.)

Demographic profile

Kenya has experienced dramatic population growth since the mid-20th century as a result of its high birth rate and its declining mortality rate. More than 40% of Kenyans are under the age of 15 because of sustained high fertility, early marriage and childbearing, and an unmet need for family planning. Kenya’s persistent rapid population growth strains the labor market, social services, arable land, and natural resources. Although Kenya in 1967 was the first Sub-Saharan country to launch a nationwide family planning program, progress in reducing the birth rate has largely stalled since the late 1990s, when the government decreased its support for family planning to focus on the HIV epidemic. Government commitment and international technical support spurred Kenyan contraceptive use, decreasing the fertility rate (children per woman) from about 8 in the late 1970s to less than 5 children twenty years later, but it has plateaued at just over 3 children today.

Kenya is a source of emigrants and a host country for refugees. In the 1960s and 1970s, Kenyans pursued higher education in the UK because of colonial ties, but as British immigration rules tightened, the US, the then Soviet Union, and Canada became attractive study destinations. Kenya’s stagnant economy and political problems during the 1980s and 1990s led to an outpouring of Kenyan students and professionals seeking permanent opportunities in the West and southern Africa. Nevertheless, Kenya’s relative stability since its independence in 1963 has attracted hundreds of thousands of refugees escaping violent conflicts in neighboring countries; Kenya shelters more than 300,000 Somali refugees as of April 2017.

Age structure

0-14 years: 38.71% (male 10,412,321/female 10,310,908)

15-24 years: 20.45% (male 5,486,641/female 5,460,372)

25-54 years: 33.75% (male 9,046,946/female 9,021,207)

55-64 years: 4.01% (male 1,053,202/female 1,093,305)

65 years and over: 3.07% (male 750,988/female 892,046) (2020 est.)

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 69.8

youth dependency ratio: 65.5

elderly dependency ratio: 4.3

potential support ratio: 23.5 (2020 est.)

Median age

total: 20 years

male: 19.9 years

female: 20.1 years (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 195

Population growth rate

2.15% (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 37

Birth rate

26.78 births/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 41

Death rate

5.09 deaths/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 194

Net migration rate

-0.2 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 108

Population distribution

population heavily concentrated in the west along the shore of Lake Victoria; other areas of high density include the capital of Nairobi, and in the southeast along the Indian Ocean coast as shown in this population distribution map


urban population: 28.5% of total population (2021)

rate of urbanization: 4.09% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

Major urban areas - population

4.922 million NAIROBI (capital), 1.341 million Mombassa (2021)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.02 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.01 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 1 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 1 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 0.96 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.84 male(s)/female

total population: 1 male(s)/female (2020 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth

20.3 years (2014 est.)

note: median age at first birth among women 25-49

Maternal mortality rate

342 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 32

Infant mortality rate

total: 28.81 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 31.93 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 25.63 deaths/1,000 live births (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 61

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 69.32 years

male: 67.65 years

female: 71.03 years (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 177

Total fertility rate

3.36 children born/woman (2021 est.)

country comparison to the world: 41

Contraceptive prevalence rate

59.7% (2019)

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 89% of population

rural: 60.4% of population

total: 68% of population

unimproved: urban: 11% of population

rural: 39.6% of population

total: 32% of population (2017 est.)

Current Health Expenditure

5.2% (2018)

Physicians density

0.16 physicians/1,000 population (2018)

Hospital bed density

1.4 beds/1,000 population (2010)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 78.8% of population

rural: 41.2% of population

total: 51.2% of population

unimproved: urban: 21.2% of population

rural: 58.8% of population

total: 48.8% of population (2017 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate

4.2% (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 13

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS

1.4 million (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 7

HIV/AIDS - deaths

29,000 (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 6

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: very high (2020)

food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever

vectorborne diseases: malaria, dengue fever, and Rift Valley fever

water contact diseases: schistosomiasis

animal contact diseases: rabies

Obesity - adult prevalence rate

7.1% (2016)

country comparison to the world: 161

Children under the age of 5 years underweight

11.2% (2014)

country comparison to the world: 53

Education expenditures

5.3% of GDP (2018)

country comparison to the world: 46


definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 81.5%

male: 85%

female: 78.2% (2018)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 11 years

male: 11 years

female: 11 years (2009)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24

total: 7.4%

male: 7.3%

female: 7.4% (2016)

country comparison to the world: 151

NOTE: The information regarding Kenya on this page is re-published from the 2021 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency and other sources. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Kenya 2021 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Kenya 2021 should be addressed to the CIA or the source cited on each page.

This page was last modified 16 Dec 23, Copyright © 2023 ITA all rights reserved.