Kenya Demographics

What is the population of Kenya?

Population 53,527,936
Population - note 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
Population Growth Rate 2.27%
Urban Population 24.000000
Population in Major Urban Areas NAIROBI (capital) 3.363 million; Mombassa 972,000
Nationality Noun Kenyan(s)
Ethnic Groups Kikuyu 22%, Luhya 14%, Luo 13%, Kalenjin 12%, Kamba 11%, Kisii 6%, Meru 6%, other African 15%, non-African (Asian, European, and Arab) 1%
Language Note English is an official language and is widely used, especially for business and official purposes. However, Kiswahili (also called Swahili) was proclaimed the national language after independence and is therefore also official.

One of the reasons Kiswahili is not a difficult language is that it's pronunciation never changes from word to word. A as the ‘a’ in ‘father’, E as the ‘e’ in ‘best’, or the ‘a’ in ‘hay’ , I as the ‘ee’ in ‘bee’, O as the ‘o’ in ‘cold’, U as the ‘ou” in “you”, Dh as the ‘th’ in ‘this’, Ng’ as the ‘ng’ in ‘sing’.

Kenya Learning

What is school like in Kenya?


The children in the lower primary class 1, 2 and 3 report to school at 7:00 AM. They have a recess at 10:00 AM which lasts for 30 minutes. There is another recess at 11:00 AM before going home for lunch at 12:45 PM. A class lesson takes 30 minutes and there are no meals served during the recess. When they go home for lunch they come back the following day. In addition grades 4-6th report to school at 6:30 AM.  7th grade students report to school at 6:00 AM and the 8th grade comes at 5:30 AM. 
Grades 4-7th go for recess at 10:00 AM and again at 11:30 AM which lasts for 30 minutes each.  8th grade goes for break once at 10:00 AM for 20 minutes.  Grades 4-7 go home for lunch at 12:45 PM and return to school at 1:45 PM.  The 8th grade children have lunch at school which must be paid by their parents/guardians. They eat greens and ugali.   Grades 4-7th  go for games at 3:10 PM .  After playing games the 4-6th grades are released to go back home while the 7th and 8th grades remain to study until about  5:00 PM or 6:00 PM respectively.  The number of children per teacher varies between 70 to 110 students.

Kenya Population Comparison

Kenya Health Information

What are the health conditions in Kenya?

Life Expectancy at Birth 63.290000
Death Rate - deaths/1,000 population 7.12
Infant Mortality Rate - total deaths/1,000 live births 42.180000
Health Expenditures - percent of GDP 4.5%
Physicians Density - physicians/1,000 population .18
Hospital Bed Density - beds/1,000 population 1.4
Major Infectious Diseases - degree of risk high
Drinking Water Source - percent of urban population improved 82.300000
Maternal Mortality Rate - deaths/100,000 live births 360
Mean Age for Mother's First Birth (age 25-49) 19.8
Contraceptive Prevalence Rate - female 12-49 45.5%
Total Fertility Rate - children born/woman 3.76
Obesity - adult prevalence rate 4.2%
Sanitation Facility Access - percent of urban population improved 31.300000
Underweight - percent of children under five years 16.4%

Kenya Life Expectancy

How long do people live in Kenya?

Life Expectancy at Birth 63.290000
Median Age 18.900000
Contraceptive Prevalance Rate - female 12-49 45.5%
Infant Mortality Rate 42.180000
Maternal Mortality Rate - deaths/100,000 live births 360
Total Fertility Rate - children born/woman 3.76

Kenya median age, birth rate and death rates

Birth Rate - births/1,000 population 30
Median Age 18.900000
Net Migration Rate - migrant(s)/1,000 population -0.23
Population Growth Rate 2.27%
Sex Ratio at Birth - male/female 1.020000
Age Structure 40.870000
Contraceptive Prevalance Rate - female 12-49 45.5%
Infant Mortality Rate 42.180000
Maternal Mortality Rate - deaths/100,000 live births 360
Mother's mean age at first birth 19.8
Total Fertility Rate - children born/woman 3.76

Kenya Medical Information

What are the health conditions in Kenya?

Medical Facilities and Health Information

Adequate medical services are available in Nairobi. Frequent outbreaks of cholera and malaria are endemic in Kenya outside Nairobi. In addition, diseases such as Ebola, Rift Valley Fever, and anthrax from handling sheep skins occur periodically. Travelers, who become ill with a fever or flu-like illness while traveling in a malaria-risk area, and up to one year after returning home, should seek prompt medical attention and tell the physician their travel history and what anti-malarial drugs they have been taking. For additional information on malaria, protection from insect bites, and anti-malarial drugs, please visit the CDC Travelers' Health web site.

Tuberculosis is an increasingly serious health concern in Kenya. For further information, please consult the CDC's Information on TB.

On May 17, the CDC issued a Travel Notice regarding an outbreak of dengue in Mombasa, Kenya’s second-largest city and a major tourist destination. Dengue is spread by mosquitoes, and travelers to Kenya’s coastal areas should plan to protect themselves from mosquito bites through covering exposed skin by wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and hats, and using insect repellent as directed on the packaging. For more information on dengue, please visit the CDC web page on dengue.

The CDC issued a Travel Notice on June 3, regarding the recent diagnosis of polio in Kenya. All travelers to Kenya and surrounding countries should be fully vaccinated against polio. In addition, adults previously vaccinated as children should receive a one-time booster dose of polio vaccine.

Health Expenditures - percent of GDP


Hospital Bed Density - beds/1,000 population


Physicians Density - physicians/1,000 population


Kenya Education

What is school like in Kenya?

Education Expenditures - percent of GDP 6.7%
Literacy - female 79.7%
Literacy - male 90.6%
Literacy - total population 85.1%
Literacy Definition age 15 and over can read and write
Total School Life Expectancy - (primary to tertiary) 11.000000

Kenya Literacy

Can people in Kenya read?

Literacy - female 79.7%
Literacy - male 90.6%
Literacy - total population 85.1%
Literacy Definition age 15 and over can read and write

Kenya Crime

Is Kenya a safe place to visit?

Crime Information

Violent and sometimes fatal criminal attacks, including armed carjackings, grenade attacks, home invasions and burglaries, and kidnappings can occur at any time and in any location. U.S. citizens, including U.S. Embassy employees, have been victims of such crimes within the past year. Crime is high in all regions of Kenya, particularly Nairobi, Mombasa, Kisumu, and at coastal beach resorts. There are regular reports of attacks against tourists by groups of armed assailants. Pickpockets and thieves carry out "snatch and run" crimes on city streets and near crowds. Visitors have found it safer not to carry valuables, but rather to store them in hotel safety deposit boxes or safe rooms. However, there have been reports of safes being stolen from hotel rooms and hotel desk staff being forced to open safes. Walking alone or at night, especially in downtown areas, public parks, along footpaths, on beaches, and in poorly lit areas, is dangerous and discouraged.

Nairobi averages about ten vehicle hijackings per day and Kenyan authorities have limited capacity to deter and investigate such acts. Matatus (public transportation) tend to be targeted since they carry up to 14 passengers. Although these attacks are often violent, victims are generally not injured if they do not resist. There is also a high incidence of residential break-ins and occupants should take additional security measures to protect their property. Thieves and con artists have been known to impersonate police officers, thus U.S. citizens are strongly encouraged to ask for identification if approached by individuals identifying themselves as police officials, uniformed or not. U.S. citizens have fallen victim to such crimes within the past year. U.S. citizens in Kenya should be extremely vigilant with regard to their personal security, particularly in public places frequented by foreigners such as clubs, hotels, resorts, upscale shopping centers, restaurants, and places of worship. U.S. citizens should also remain alert in residential areas, at schools, and at outdoor recreational events.

Thieves routinely snatch jewelry and other objects from open vehicle windows while motorists are either stopped at traffic lights or in heavy traffic. Vehicle windows should be up and doors locked regardless of the time of day or weather. Thieves on matatus, buses, and trains may steal valuables from inattentive passengers. U.S. citizens should guard their backpacks or hand luggage and ensure these items are not left unattended. Purchasing items from street vendors is strongly discouraged – visitors should only use reputable stores or businesses. Many scams, perpetrated against unsuspecting tourists, are prevalent in and around the city of Nairobi. Many of these involve people impersonating police officers and using fake police ID badges and other credentials. Nevertheless, police checkpoints are common in Kenya and all vehicles are required to stop if directed to do so.

Highway banditry is common in much of Mandera, Wajir, Garissa, Marsabit, and northern Tana River counties, as well as Turkana county. These areas are remote and sparsely populated. Incidents also occur occasionally on Kenya's main highways, particularly after dark. Due to increased bandit activity, air travel is the recommended means of transportation when visiting any of the coastal resorts north of Malindi. Travelers to North Eastern Kenya and the North Rift Valley Region should travel with police escorts or convoys organized by the government of Kenya.

There have been reports of armed banditry in or near many of Kenya's national parks and game reserves, particularly the Samburu, Leshaba, and Masai Mara game reserves. In response, the Kenya Wildlife Service and police have taken steps to strengthen security in the affected areas, but the problem has not been eliminated. Travelers who do not use the services of reputable travel firms or knowledgeable guides or drivers are especially at risk. Safaris are best undertaken with a minimum of two vehicles so that there is a backup in case of mechanical failure or other emergency. Camping alone is always risky.

The Kenyan mail system can be unreliable and monetary instruments (credit cards, checks, etc.) are frequently stolen. International couriers provide the safest means of shipping envelopes and packages, although anything of value should be insured.

Do not buy counterfeit and pirated goods, even if they are widely available. Not only are the bootlegs illegal in the United States, if you purchase them you may also be breaking local law.

Kenya Penalties for Crime

Criminal Penalties

While you are traveling in Kenya, you are subject to its laws even if you are a U.S. citizen. Foreign laws and legal systems can be vastly different than our own. In some places, you may be taken in for questioning if you do not have your passport with you. In some places, it is illegal to take pictures of certain buildings. Driving under the influence could land you immediately in jail. There are also some activities that might be legal in Kenya, but illegal in the United States, and you can be prosecuted under U.S. law. For example, engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime prosecutable in the United States. If you break local laws in Kenya, your U.S. passport will not help you avoid arrest or prosecution. It is very important to know what is legal and what is not where you are going.

Persons violating Kenya's laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Penalties for possessing, using, or trafficking illegal drugs in Kenya are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. Kenya has recently enacted strict legislation regulating the sale and consumption of alcohol and cigarettes. Please see the Special Circumstances section below.

Arrest notifications in host country:

Kenya is a signatory to the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (VCCR), and is required by the VCCR to ask any detained U.S. citizen if he/she would like the U.S. Embassy to be notified and to contact the U.S. Embassy if the detained U.S. citizen requests it. Kenya does not routinely comply with its VCCR obligation. Any U.S. citizen who is detained should request U.S. Embassy notification if he/she would like consular assistance. U.S. citizens are encouraged to carry a copy of their U.S. passport with them at all times, so that proof of identity and U.S. citizenship is readily available if questioned by local officials.

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