Counties of Kenya

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Updates: 

"Geopolitical Entities, Names, and Codes, Edition 2" (GENC), a U.S. standard that's supposed to correspond to ISO 3166-2, was issued on 2014-03-31. It gives codes for the new counties created in 2013. The ISO online search still lists only the pre-2013 provinces.

Update 11 to Geopolitical Entities and Codes (formerly FIPS 10-4) is dated 2013-04-30. It assigns codes to the new counties.

A new constitution for Kenya was enacted on 2010-08-27. It provides for devolved county government. There are 47 counties, as shown in the table below. The counties became active on 2013-03-27. They coincide almost exactly with the districts of Kenya as they were configured in ~1989. President Kibaki has stated that the number of counties will be increased in the future if this division proves unsatisfactory.

ISO 3166-2 has come out in a second edition, dated 2007-12-15. Unexpectedly, the code for Western province was changed from 900 to 800.

Country overview: 

Short nameKENYA
ISO codeKE
FIPS codeKE
LanguageEnglish (en), Swahili (sw)
Time zone+3
CapitalNairobi

 

At the start of the 20th century, British East Africa included the territory of Kenya and Uganda, plus some parts of Congo, Ethiopia, and Somalia. Kenya was split off as a British colony on 1905-04-01, under the same administration as the Kenya Protectorate, a coastal strip about ten miles wide owned by the Sultan of Zanzibar and leased to the British. The tiny Witu Protectorate was also included. The name British East Africa continued in use as a geographical term. Kenya became independent on 1963-12-12.

Other names of country: 

  1. Danish: Kenya
  2. Dutch: Kenia, Republiek Kenia (formal)
  3. English: Republic of Kenya (formal)
  4. Finnish: Kenia
  5. French: Kenya m
  6. German: Kenia n
  7. Icelandic: Kenía
  8. Italian: Kenia, Kenya m
  9. Norwegian: Kenya, Republikken Kenya (formal)
  10. Portuguese: Quénia, Quênia (Brazil), República f do Quénia m (formal)
  11. Russian: Республика Кения (formal)
  12. Spanish: Kenia, República f de Kenya f (formal)
  13. Turkish: Kenya Cumhuriyeti (formal)
  14. Swahili: Jamhuri ya Kenya (formal)
  15. Swedish: Kenya

Origin of name: 

after Mount Kenya, from Kikuyu kere-nyaga: Mountain of Whiteness

Primary subdivisions: 

Kenya is divided into 47 counties.

CountyHASCFIPSKBSPopulationArea(km.²)Area(mi.²)Pr
BaringoKE.BAKE10BAR555,56111,0154,253RV
BometKE.BOKE11BMT891,8352,7921,078RV
BungomaKE.BNKE12BGM1,375,0633,0321,171WE
BusiaKE.BSKE13BSA743,9461,695654WE
Elgeyo MarakwetKE.EMKE14EGM369,9983,0301,170RV
EmbuKE.EBKE15EBU516,2122,8181,088EA
GarissaKE.GAKE16GSA623,06044,17517,056NE
Homa BayKE.HBKE17HMA963,7943,1831,229NY
IsioloKE.ISKE18ISL143,29425,3369,782EA
KajiadoKE.KJKE19KAJ687,31221,9018,456RV
KakamegaKE.KKKE20KAK1,660,6513,0181,165WE
KerichoKE.KRKE21KCO590,6902,158833RV
KiambuKE.KBKE22KBU1,623,2822,543982CE
KilifiKE.KFKE23KLF1,109,73512,6104,869CO
KirinyagaKE.KYKE24KIR528,0541,479571CE
KisiiKE.KIKE25KSI1,152,2821,318509NY
KisumuKE.KUKE26KIS968,9092,086805NY
KituiKE.KTKE27KTU1,012,70930,49711,775EA
KwaleKE.KWKE28KLE649,9318,2703,193CO
LaikipiaKE.LKKE29LKP399,2279,4623,653RV
LamuKE.LMKE30LAU101,5396,2732,422CO
MachakosKE.MCKE31MCS1,098,5846,2082,397EA
MakueniKE.MKKE32MUE884,5278,0093,092EA
ManderaKE.MDKE33MDA1,025,75625,99110,035NE
MarsabitKE.MBKE34MAR291,16670,96127,398EA
MeruKE.MEKE35MRU1,356,3016,9332,677EA
MigoriKE.MGKE36MIG917,1702,5961,002NY
MombasaKE.MMKE37MBA939,37021985CO
Murang'aKE.MUKE38MRA942,5812,559988CE
NairobiKE.NBKE05NBO3,138,369695268NA
NakuruKE.NKKE39NKU1,603,3257,4952,894RV
NandiKE.NDKE40NDI752,9652,8841,114RV
NarokKE.NRKE41NRK850,92017,9336,924RV
NyamiraKE.NMKE42NYI598,252899347NY
NyandaruaKE.NNKE43NDR596,2683,2451,253CE
NyeriKE.NIKE44NER693,5583,3371,288CE
SamburuKE.SAKE45SMB223,94721,0228,117RV
SiayaKE.SIKE46SYA842,3042,530977NY
Taita TavetaKE.TTKE47TVT284,65717,0846,596CO
Tana RiverKE.TRKE48TAN240,07538,43714,841CO
Tharaka NithiKE.NTKE49TNT365,3302,6391,019EA
Trans NzoiaKE.TNKE50TRN818,7572,496964RV
TurkanaKE.TUKE51TUR855,39968,68026,518RV
Uasin GishuKE.UGKE52USG894,1793,3451,292RV
VihigaKE.VIKE53VHG554,622564218WE
WajirKE.WJKE54WJR661,94156,68621,886NE
West PokotKE.WPKE55PKT512,6909,1693,540RV
47 counties38,610,097581,309224,445
  • HASC: Hierarchical administrative subdivision codes.
  • FIPS: Codes from "Geopolitical Entities and Codes".
  • KBS: Codes used by the Kenya Bureau of Standards.
  • Population: 2009-04-15 census.
  • Pr: Former province containing this county.

Postal codes: 

Kenya uses five-digit postal codes. Generally a space is inserted after the first digit. The first digit indicates the province, with some exceptions.

Further subdivisions:

See the Districts of Kenya page.

When there were seven provinces, they were subdivided into 40 districts.

Territorial extent: 

Coast includes all the islands along Kenya's coast, such as Funzi, Wasini (Shimoni), and the Lamu Archipelago (Lamu, Pate, Manda, and others).

There are three sizable islands in Lake Turkana. North Island is entirely within Rift Valley, South Island is entirely within Eastern, and Central Island is split between the two.

Origins of names: 

  1. Nairobi: Masai for the cool place
  2. Rift Valley: contains the Kenyan section of the Great Rift

Change history: 

  1. 1909: Kenya consisted of six provinces: Kenia, Naivasha, Nyanza, Seyide, Tanaland, and Ukamba.
  2. ~1913: Jubaland and Northern Frontier provinces added, probably annexed from Somaliland and Uganda, respectively; Kenia and Naivasha provinces enlarged, probably at the expense of neighboring provinces. Spelling of Kenia changed to Kenya.
  3. ~1922: Seyide and Tanaland provinces merged to form Coast. Name of Kenya province changed to Kikuyu. Masai province created, probably split from Ukamba.
  4. 1925-06-29: Transjuba (everything west of the Juba River in modern Somalia) transferred from Kenya to Italian Somaliland.
  5. The divisions of Kenya at the time of the 1948 census were as follows, according to source [1].
ProvincePopulationArea(km.²)Capital
Central2,104,91077,705Nyeri
Coast501,12164,074Mombasa
Masai67,13039,451Nairobi
Northern Frontier187,451302,464Isiolo
Nyanza1,866,67728,751Kisumu
Rift Valley678,67766,361Nakuru
6 divisions5,410,281578,805
  • Province: except Masai, which was a district.
  • Population: 1948-02-25 census.
  1. ~1955: Name of Masai district changed to Nairobi. Name of Northern Frontier changed to Northern. Southern province formed; its capital was Ngong.
  2. 1962: Kenya reorganized into Central, Coast, Eastern, Northern, Nyanza, Rift Valley, and Western regions, and the Nairobi area. By 1970 the status of the regions had changed to provinces.
  3. 1963: North-Eastern province formed from Northern and part of Coast.
ProvinceHASCISOFIPSPcPopulationArea(km.²)Area(mi.²)Capital
CentralKE.CE200KE0114,383,74313,1915,093Nyeri
CoastKE.CO300KE0283,325,30783,60332,279Mombasa
EasternKE.EA400KE036,95,665,123159,89161,734Embu
Nairobi AreaKE.NA110KE0503,138,369684264Nairobi
North-EasternKE.NE500KE0672,310,757126,90248,997Garissa
NyanzaKE.NY600KE0745,442,71116,1626,240Kisumu
Rift ValleyKE.RV700KE082,310,006,805173,85467,125Nakuru
WesternKE.WE800KE0954,334,2828,3613,228Kakamega
8 divisions38,610,097582,648224,960
  • Province: except Nairobi, which is an "area".
  • HASC: Hierarchical administrative subdivision codes.
  • ISO: Codes from ISO 3166-2.
  • FIPS: Codes from FIPS PUB 10-4.
  • Pc: First digit(s) of postal codes for province.
  • Population: 2009-04-15 census.
  1. 2013-03-27: Kenya reorganized into 47 counties, which are shown in the main table above.

Other names of subdivisions: 

  1. Homa Bay: Asego (Swahili)
  2. West Pokot: Pokot (variant)
  3. Central: Kati (Swahili)
  4. Coast: Pwani (Swahili)
  5. Eastern: Mashariki (Swahili)
  6. Nairobi Area: Federal Area, Nairobi City, Nairobi District (variant); Masai District (obsolete)
  7. North-Eastern: Kaskazini Mashariki (Swahili)
  8. Nyanza: Nyanza (Swahili)
  9. Rift Valley: Bonde la Ufa (Swahili)
  10. Western: Magharibi (Swahili)

Population history:

Province 1962-08-15 1969-08-24 1979-08-25 1989-08-24 1999-08-24 2009-04-15
Central 1,334,9001,676,000 2,345,833 3,116,703 3,724,159 4,383,743
Coast 741,100 944,000 1,342,794 1,829,191 2,487,264 3,325,307
Eastern 1,556,9001,907,000 2,719,851 3,768,677 4,631,779 5,665,123
Nairobi Area 343,500 509,000 827,775 1,324,570 2,143,254 3,138,369
North-Eastern268,900 246,000 373,787 371,391 962,143 2,310,757
Nyanza 1,634,1002,122,000 2,643,956 3,507,162 4,392,196 5,442,711
Rift Valley 1,739,8002,210,000 3,240,402 4,981,613 6,987,036 10,006,805
Western 1,014,5001,328,000 1,832,663 2,544,329 3,358,776 4,334,282
Totals 8,636,30010,943,00015,327,06121,443,63628,686,60738,610,097

 

Notes: 1962 total includes 2,600 persons in transit at the time of the enumeration. 1962 figures proleptic to post-1963 boundaries.

Sources: 

  1. [1] Encyclopædia Britannica World Atlas, 1957 edition.
  2. [2] L'Évaluation des effectifs de la population des pays Africains, Tome I. Groupe de Démographie Africaine, Paris, 1982.
  3. [3] Kenya Open Data  is the source for 2009 census data (retrieved 2011-12-31).
  4. [4] http://www.provincialadministration.go.ke/ (dead link).
  5. [5] National Atlas of Kenya, 3rd ed. Survey of Kenya, 1970.
  6. [6] Central Bureau of Statistics census report (http://www.cbs.go.ke/census1999.html, dead link, retrieved 2004-01-10).

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