Demographics of Kenya

Poverty and unemployment are major factors for this cultural hotspot, but there is still potential for gradual and steady social and economic growth. The nearly 11 million people who make up the majority of the population are between 15 and 54, and when combined with a growing middle class economy, this means an up-and-coming tenant pool and workforce for investors.

The people of Kenya

  • Population: 43,013,341 (as of July 2012)
  • Ethnic groups: 42 tribes with four distinct groups. The Bantu make up the largest group, followed by Gender ratio: The population is evenly divided by men and women of all ages (contrary to the belief that there are seven women for every one man).
    • The Nilotes
    • The Cushites
    • Non-Africans

Language and religion

Although English is the official language, each tribe in Kenya has its own distinct tribal language that represents the varying cultural identities. Swahili is the second national language and acts as symbol of national identity and unity.

Christianity is the dominant religion: 45% are Protestants and 33% are Catholic. The Muslim religion and indigenous beliefs accounts for more than 10% each.

Life expectancy

The life expectancy for the total Kenyan population stands at 63.07 years.

Urbanization and unemployment

As of the year 2010:

  • The urban population was 22% of the entire population, mostly in Nairobi
  • The rate of urbanization is expected to increase by 4.2% annually

The growing number of urban population is significantly driven by rural-to-urban and urban-to-urban migration specifically by people seeking employment in areas where the majority of industries and organizations are located. The downside is the growing number of the urban poor and increasing slum dwellings within the urban areas. This does not paint a good picture given the high rate of unemployment, which is now more than 40%.

Nevertheless, the middle class has been increasing rapidly. Because a strong middle class moves an economy, this is good news for investors in all sectors.

Real-estate demographics

The property market in Kenya is burgeoning in a bid to fill up the growing housing deficit that is placed at more than 155,000 units per year, corresponding with the rising population rate and increasing urban migration. The rate of home ownership in Kenya is high and can be compared to European economies although there is distinct difference between homeownership in urban and rural areas.

  • Approximately 69% of people living in Kenya are homeowners
  • 82% of homeowners are in rural areas
  • Only 18% own their own homes in urban areas

And for those who are not homeowners, they either rent or lodge.

Overall, Kenya paints a slightly risky but promising picture for investors, especially for an adventurous investor with an eye toward emerging economies.

The Kenyan government has its work cut out for them in lowering the unemployment rate and severe poverty levels, but the young and relatively untapped real-estate market shows signs of growth and promise.

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