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Here’s all you need to know about the upcoming Kenya Population and Housing Census that is set to cost $185 million

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  • Kenyan’s 2019 census is expected to cost taxpayers Sh18.5 billion.
  • Data collection will be completed between August 24th and 25th, with the results expected in six months.
  • Kenyans who fail to offer information during the census risk a Sh100,000 ($1000) fine or a year in jail.

Kenya is planning to conduct a national Population and Housing Census before the end of August. The country usually conducts its household census every 10 years.

This year’s census, which is expected to kick off in 11 days, will cost Kenyan taxpayers Sh18.5 billion.

The collection of population data is set to start on the night of August 24 and end on August 25, with results expected in six months.


Kenya Population and Housing Census, 2019. (knbs)

According to earlier communication from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS), the survey will require 170,000 enumerators, 27,000 supervisors and 2,700 ICT supervisors.

Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology and Moi University were contracted to supply 164,700 tablets to conduct the census. The tablets are installed with tracking software, questionnaires and area maps.

Why it matters to you

KNBS Director General Zachary Mwangi during a press conference on the upcoming census on July 8, 2019. (the star)


KNBS Director General Zachary Mwangi during a press conference on the upcoming census on July 8, 2019. (the star)

KNBS Census questionnaire shows the government is seeking to establish a comprehensive database of household wealth including employment status, livestock owned, electronics, and even internet connection.

The government will also be keen to know whether Kenyans own the houses they live in or have rented them.

The enumerators will also seek to describe whether the houses are built from mud, brick or concrete. They will look out for the nature of the roof and pick out iron sheets, tiles or grass thatch.

President Uhuru Kenyatta gives his address during a meeting with Kenyans living in Namibia on March 21, 2019


President Uhuru Kenyatta gives his address during a meeting with Kenyans living in Namibia on March 21, 2019

Kenyans will also be required to state the number of livestock they own or rear. The State will seek to know the size of land Kenyans have put under farming and whether the farming activity is irrigated or rain-fed.

The state will be asking to know the number of electronic gadgets owned.

A Maasai herder with his cows


A Maasai herder with his cows

Those connected to the Internet and those with pay-television will also be asked to reveal these details.

Other household assets to be declared include bicycles, motorcycles, cars, truck or lorries, refrigerators, animal-drawn carts or motorboats.

Why is the government seeking this data?

A Kenyan holding two flags.


A Kenyan holding two flags.

The census report, according to the KNBS, provides information that is essential for “evidence-based development planning, making administrative and policy decisions, and research.”

The population data gathered from the census is shared among key government ministries and departments to guide in resource allocation and wealth distribution.

The results will also be used by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) in the planned border demarcation ahead of the 2022 General Election.

“It is, therefore, extremely important that the data collected in the census is complete and accurate,” the KNBS said. 

Kenyans who fail to offer information during the census risk a Sh100,000 ($1000) fine or a year in jail, according to regulations published by the Treasury last year.