What you need to know about Kenya's 2019 Census

Acting National Treasury CS Ukur Yattani (PHOTO: FILE)
The government is set to conduct Kenya’s sixth national census this month on the night of 24th.

The practice of counting the population dates back to ancient times. The previous population Censuses were held in 1948, 1962 (pre-independence), 1969, 1979, 1989, 1999 and 2009.

Historical records show that ancient rulers needed to count their people in order to calculate the amount of taxes they would expect.

Censuses have therefore formed the basis for planning of resources for many centuries.

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This will be the first Census exercise being conducted since the promulgation of the new constitution and it will help in improved allocation of resources to the counties.

For the first time, the enumeration process will be carried out using digital gadgets, a paperless process that will guarantee accuracy, speed of processing and security of the data.

"Besides extensive use of technology, this census would also have more details on agriculture to cover the type of crops cultivated by households, aquaculture and livestock," KNBS Director General Zachary Mwangi said in a previous interview.

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The census will focus on eight key areas, among them population characteristics, disability, education, labour force, ICT, livestock, agriculture, housing conditions and amenities as well as household assets.

Mwangi said the agency also planned to capture the homeless, immigrants and people at hotels to ensure everyone was counted.

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Here are some the frequently asked questions as carried in KNBS website

What’s a population census?

A population census is the process of counting all people in a country at a specified time. The process of capturing census information is referred to as enumeration. Census is the total process of collecting, compiling, evaluating, analysing, and publishing demographic, social, and/or economic data at a specified time, pertaining to all persons in a country or a well-defined part of a country.

Who will be counted during the Census?

All persons who will be within the borders of Kenya on the census night will be counted. This will include persons found in the households, outdoor sleepers, persons on transit, individuals in hotels and lodges, and institutions such as hospitals, prisons and army barracks among others.

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How will the Census data be captured?

For the first time, all the data required for the Census will be captured electronically through a tablet computer. The questions are being loaded on to the gadget and the whole enumeration process will therefore be paperless. This guarantees that the data will be captured faster than has been the case during previous censuses. It also ensures that the data will be more secure and that the census results will be available sooner than was previously possible.

Is there confidentiality of the census data?

Yes. Census data is strictly confidential. All information collected is strictly for use by census officials. All census officials will swear an “Oath of Secrecy” as embodied in the Statistics Act 2006. The Oath forbids census officials from divulging the information collected to unauthorized persons. The Bureau has adhered to international guidelines which advocate for the values of professionalism, transparency, accountability and integrity required of statistical systems in maintaining credibility and public confidence.

What will show that a household has been enumerated?

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After enumeration, the officials will write a number on the door or at any visible place on the structure to indicate that counting has been conducted in the household. In the event that there is no structure, a structure numbering card will be issued to the household after enumeration.

How is the census data used for planning?

The census is the primary source of reliable and detailed data on the size, distribution and composition of the population in the country at a specified time. The information collected when analysed gives an accurate picture of how many people are living in the country, the distribution across every administrative level and their living conditions as well as access to basic services. This will inform planners on policy formulation and targeting of development plans.

At what time of the day will the census officer call at the household?

Counting of people will start on the night of 24th August 2019 and continue up to the 31st August 2019 when counting is scheduled to end. People will be counted with reference to where they spent the night of 24th/25th August 2019. This is referred to as the Census Reference Night.

How long will it take to complete an interview for a household?

It is expected that enumerators will spend about 30 minutes in each house, though this may be shorter or longer depending on the size of the household.

What happens if one is not counted on the night of 24th/25th August 2019?

It may not be possible to reach everyone everywhere on the night of 24th August 2019.  The Census teams will proceed with enumeration throughout the week, but all information will be provided with reference to the night of 24th August – the Census Reference Night. Those not enumerated by 31st August 2019, should report to the local administrative office. However, care must be taken to ensure that you have indeed not been enumerated. It is not uncommon for members who are momentarily away from their households to be enumerated in absentia.

Will Kenyans in the diaspora be counted?

No. Kenyans in the diaspora will not be counted. However, household members will be asked some questions about members of their households who migrated to other countries in the last 15 years.

When will the results be released?

It is expected that preliminary results will be released three months after the end of the exercise. The basic reports of the census are expected to be released within six months, while the detailed analytical reports will be released within one year after the census enumeration.

Will data on ethnic composition be collected?

Yes, information on tribe or ethnicity and nationality will be collected due to its statistical and cultural value. Ethnic origin data paint a picture of Kenya’s cultural diversity and provide insight into the changing in-migration patterns and increasing diversity. Governments, community groups, ethnic and cultural organisations, school boards, hospitals, and researchers use ethnicity data to assess the socio-economic characteristics of people of differing backgrounds.

All previous censuses conducted in Kenya have collected data on ethnicity, reflecting a long-standing and continuing widespread demand for information about ethno-cultural characteristics of the Kenyan population.

What safeguards against data manipulation have been put in place?

Several quality assurance measures are in place to ensure complete and accurate information is collected. Experts and key stakeholders from various institutions will train the field personnel and oversee the actual enumeration. Qualified and well-trained ICT and Content Supervisors will control quality at the field level, while census committees will oversee the exercise nationally. Additionally, an independent team of experts in census-taking is expected to monitor the exercise nationally. Structures are in place to ensure secure transmission of data and adherence to the oath of secrecy and professionalism by census personnel.

What are the security arrangements?

The security agencies are fully involved and are part of the national and county census committees. Enumerators will have official identity cards and reflector jackets for ease of identification. They have been recruited from where they live and are therefore, known to the locals. Enumerators will also be accompanied by village elders, leaders of residence associations and in certain cases, assistant chiefs who are well known by the heads of households.

Whom do I contact in case my household is not covered?

In case your household will not have been contacted by 31 August, a toll-free number will be provided for you to contact KNBS to send an enumerator to enumerate your household.

If I have visitors on the night of the 24th/25th August, should they be counted as part of my household?

Anyone who will be present in your household on the night of 24th/25th August 2019 will be counted together with your household. Everyone will be counted depending on where they will be on the night of 24th/25th August 2019. However, there will be exceptional cases, for example, those who will be on duty working such as nurses on that night will be counted with the household that they will return to the following day after work.

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