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Census reveals that more than 20,000 Kenyans live on the streets

By Gatonye Gathura | February 24th 2020
Street children get a haircut in Kisii town. [File, Standard]

Census reveals that more than 20,000 Kenyans live on the streets

At least 20,095 Kenyans are homeless, a majority being men, the 2019 census shows.

The data shows 17,747 men sleep on the streets compared to 2,348 girls and women.

The majority of homeless people, 14,581, were found in urban centres compared to 5,520 in rural areas.  

Only 841 women are homeless in rural areas compared to 1,507 men.

Nairobi has the highest number of street people, 6,743. Of these, 679 are women.

Mombasa has the second-highest number of street individuals, 1,809, followed by Meru with 734.

Uasin Gishu, Kajiado, Nakuru and Kiambu counties have 600 street persons each.

Only one woman was found to sleep outdoors in Elgeyo Marakwet, two in Baringo, five in Kericho and six in Bomet – these are the counties with least number of street people.

Further, the data released by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) shows about 40 per cent of Kenyans live in rental houses.

However, most of those dwelling in rentals are in urban areas, 80 per cent.

In Nairobi for example, more than 90 per cent of residents live in rented houses.

Mathare has 97 per cent of people living in rented houses; the highest concentration of rented households in the city.

House ownership in Nairobi, the data shows, is highest in Langata sub-country at 20.4 per cent, Njiru (17.1 per cent) and Westlands (16.5 per cent).

In Mombasa, house ownership is slightly over 20 per cent, but this pales greatly when compared to the rural county of Kwale where 77 per cent of residents own houses.

In Kiambu, a county largely influenced by Nairobi due to its proximity to the city,  the house ownership numbers are low.

At least 62 per cent of Kiambu residents live in rented houses

 Ruiru and Thika West sub-counties have the highest number of rental houses in Kiambu County at 80 per cent.

Gatundu North and South have the highest house ownership rates at about 40 per cent.

In Isiolo, Marsabit, Baringo, Samburu counties, homeownership is high while in Nakuru the mumber of people renting houses and those owning their own abodes is equal.

In Kajiado, however, a county that is urbanising quickly, almost 60 per cent of families live in rentals while in Narok County homeownership is high at about 77 per cent.

The census data shows most women in Kenya are giving birth in health facilities.

Of the more than 1.34  million births recorded annually, less than 200,000 occurred outside a health facility.

The data shows more than 85 per cent of the births occurred in a health facility with only Samburu and Mandera falling under the 50 per cent mark.  

Nairobi county

Nairobi County has the highest hospital births at more than 98 per cent.

Births in rural areas greatly outnumber those in urban areas by a ratio of 2:1.

In the 12 months to the census, Nairobi recorded the highest births in the country at 135,229.

Followed by Kiambu at 69,596 births, Nakuru 64,797, Kakamega 49,974, Bungoma 47,722 and Kilifi 44,519.

The lowest number of births per county, less than 10,000, happened in Lamu, Isiolo, Tharaka Nithi and Taita Taveta in that order.

Some counties which have recorded high use of contraceptives such as Kiambu, Meru, Machakos, and Makueni still recorded a high number of births

Kirinyaga, the county where women get the least number of children in Kenya, about two, had 13,638 births which was among the lowest in central Kenya.

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