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Pilot population census set to cover 12 counties

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The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) has kick-started a pilot census data collection exercise ahead of next year’s August Population and Housing Census.

The pilot programme, which started on the night of August 25, is set to take place in 12 counties. The counties are Nairobi, Kwale, Kilifi, Makueni, Nyeri, Tharaka Nithi, Mandera, West Pokot, Kericho, Busia, Kisumu and Kisii for the next seven days.

KNBS director-general Zachary Mwangi said that the programme will go on until August 31 and already a select sub-locations, 22 in number, have been selected for the exercise which aims to test various attributes and inform the planning process for the main census.

“Pilot census is supposed to be done exactly one year before the actual census itself. It is going to last seven days. We have 380 enumerators, 71 supervisors and a number of coordinators who have been trained,” said Mr Mwangi during the launch of the programme on Friday at Imara Daima, Nairobi.


An estimated Sh3.5 billion will go to buying 164,000 smart phones and relevant census hardware.

The remaining part of budget will pay the more than 190,000 staff to be hired for the exercise. Appearing before the National Assembly’s Constitution Implementation Oversight Committee in February this year, Mr Mwangi told the committee that the 2019 census preliminary figures will be released within one month, basic reports within three months while the comprehensive report will be released by June 2020.

The director-general explained that the pilot programme will assess census instruments (IT equipment, questionnaires, manuals and control forms) and validate the enumeration procedures.


It will also authenticate the list of historical events as an aid to age estimation and evaluate the recruitment and training procedures for enumerators and supervisors.

“Pilot census helps us test the questions to administer, the time it takes to administer them, the maps and also testing technical, logistics and personnel for the real exercise next year,” he said.

The country normally conducts census after every 10 years, which has consistently taken place since August 1969.

In preparation for the exercise, the State agency has so far mapped 28 counties and is scheduled to continue after the pilot census.