Reduced Growth Rate, Household Size in Kenya Evidence of Contraceptives, Bishops Decry

Kenya's official 2019 population Census figures released by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) on November 4, 2019.
Credit: Public Domain

While Kenya’s overall population has increased by about nine million people since the last census in 2009, the report of the 2019 census released early this week shows not only a comparative downward trend in the rate of growth over the years but also a significant drop in the household size, results that seem to reveal, according to some Catholic clergy and laity in Kenya, the use of modern family planning methods including contraceptives.

According to the official 2019 population Census figures announced Monday, November 4 by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS), there are approximately 47.6 million people in Kenya, up from the reported 38.6 million during the 2009 census.

The weeklong exercise that started on the night of August 24, 2019 also shows that Kenya’s population growth rate has reduced from 2.9 percent to 2.2 percent between 1999-2009 and 2009-2019 respectively. In addition, Kenyans seem to be having comparatively less children, with the results showing a decline in the average household size from 5.1 in 2009 to 3.9 in 2019.

“It is true that the issues of contraceptives, abortion and what we call culture of death is affecting us in a very serious way," Bishop Dominic Kimengich of Lodwar told ACI Africa Tuesday, November 5 a day after the 2019 Kenya census results had been announced.

“When people for example stop having children, then we are going to have zero population and it is going to impact on us in a very negative way, because the wealth of a nation is its population,” Bishop Kimengich said, interpreting the reduction of Kenya’s population growth rate and the downward trend in the average household size as deliberate through birth control methods.

“We should look at life and having children as something which is very valuable. In our African culture, children are looked as gifts from God,” he said and emphasized, “We have to promote a culture of life in Kenya and really promote the family so that our families have children, they appreciate children and they support children.”

“This census has shown us that we have been raided and one of the greatest goods in our African culture has been taken, such that people have decided that the best wealth of having children is no longer our wealth,” said Archbishop Anthony Muheria of Nyeri in reference to the introduction of contraceptives, something contrary to African values and Catholicism.

He added, “The Catholic Church has always been saying that the greatest gift and this is our African culture is children, it is family.”

“Perhaps if the census had taken the number of cars you would have been very shocked, the number of TVs you would have been very shocked. We have changed children with cars and TVs, it is very unfortunate,” Archbishop Muheria, a member of the Opus Dei lamented.

According to Anthony Weru, a Catholic faithful of Nairobi Archdiocese, “Family planning whether within the confines of the Church or the conventional means is taking place at a great rate especially in the Central region and some parts of western Kenya.”

The 2019 census results were released against the backdrop of preparations around the United Nations’ (UN) International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD25), which various Church leaders have described as “destructive to humanity and the values around human life.”

“This ICPD conference is coming to sell neocolonialism to us,” Archbishop Muheria in an interview with ACI Africa and added, “It is coming to push us once more into a corruption of our families.”

 “We must wake up to the reality that our very culture and essence is being threatened. They (conference organizers) want to tell teachers to kill our children so that the land can be for them, this is a reality,” Archbishop Muheria told ACI Africa.

The census figures show that there are more women in Kenya (24 million) than men (23.6 million).

“The 2019 census results confirmed the widely unsaid known fact that the 2009 census was doctored to suit certain political expediency which has haunted the implementation of the Constitution in regard to revenue sharing and allocation of equal government funds based on population,” Anthony Weru, an Independent Public Policy Analyst based in Nairobi told ACI Africa.

This result should bring about sober policy decisions (non-political) on representation, allocation of resources as well as capacities of some counties with huge allocation without the absorption mechanism for utilization, Weru suggests.

Other demographic details of the Kenya’s population are yet to be released, including population distribution by age, socio-economic status, religion, education levels, housing, disability, among other relevant details. According to a government media report, “These reports will be released before end August 2020.”


ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.

Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa
[email protected]