Society of Kenya



Population per sq km: 81

Life expectancy: 64 years

Net primary enrolment: 85% (2012)

Population: 46,050,000 (2015), 25 per cent of people live in urban areas and nine per cent in urban agglomerations of more than a million people; growth 2.6 per cent p.a. 1990–2015; birth rate 34 per 1,000 people (51 in 1970); life expectancy 64 years (52 in 1970 and 60 in 1990).

The ethnic composition of the population is estimated as: Kikuyu 22 per cent, Luhya 14 per cent, Luo 13 per cent, Kalenjin 12 per cent, Kamba 11 per cent, Kisii six per cent and Meru six per cent. There are Maasai, Arab, Asian and European minorities.

Language: Kiswahili and English are official languages. Each of the ethnic groups has its own language.

Religion: Christians 84 per cent (mainly Protestants 48 per cent and Roman Catholics 24 per cent), Muslims 11 per cent, and most of the rest hold traditional beliefs (2009 census).

Media: English-language daily newspapers include Daily Nation, The Standard (established 1902) and The Star. Taifa Leo is published daily in Kiswahili. Weeklies include The East African (for an international audience). Newspapers from Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania are widely circulated in the country.

Radio is the main source of news and information for most Kenyans. The Kenya Broadcasting Corporation provides public radio services in English, Kiswahili and 15 other Kenyan languages, and public TV services in English and Kiswahili. Many private radio stations and TV channels compete with public services, particularly in urban areas, and private radio stations increasingly provide national services and broadcast in other national languages as well as Kiswahili.

Some 28 per cent of households have TV sets (2009).

Public holidays: New Year’s Day, Labour Day (1 May), Madaraka Day (1 June), Moi Day (10 October), Kenyatta Day (20 October), Jamhuri Day (Independence Day, 12 December), Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

Religious and other festivals whose dates vary from year to year include Good Friday, Easter Monday and Eid al-Fitr (End of Ramadan, three days).