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10 reasons central Kenya population is going down

The newly released Kenya Demographic Health Survey report by the government has shown a sharp decline in fertility rate (births) in Central Kenya while the same is on the rise in other regions.

But the big question is why is population going down in Central Kenya?

The Nairobi News did some digging – so you don’t have to –  and came with these 10 reasons:

1. Cheap illicit brews

In some areas, reports suggest that some nursery schools have closed due to lack of pupils or dwindling enrolments. This has been attributed to abuse of illicit brews that leave devastating effects on the men in the region.

For instance, Kareke Mbiuki, the Member of Parliament for Maara in Tharaka Nithi County which has the lowest fertility rate in Kenya, shocked many in 2011 when he pledged to give Sh5,000 to every woman who gives birth in the constituency.

Some health experts say alcohol abuse is partly to blame.

A December 2010 survey by Nacada showed that about two thirds of people in central Kenya think that alcohol consumption in their areas is high or very high.

A significant proportion of the respondents reported that in their areas there is alcohol consumption before noon, the most productive hours of the day.

2. Youth unemployment

This is a universal reason; it applies to all youth from any part of Kenya. According to the World Policy Journal, unemployment in Kenya as at 2013 stood at 40 per cent, and 70 per cent of those unemployed are between the ages of 15 and 35.

In essence, these are the child bearing ages. But most young Kenyans are increasingly delaying marriages as life becomes harder. Many then seek solace in alcohol and other drugs.

A Policeman talks to former leader of the Mungiki sect Maina Njenga. PHOTO |NAIROBI NEWS
A Policeman talks to former leader of the Mungiki sect Maina Njenga. PHOTO |NAIROBI NEWS

3. Mungiki menace

According to official reports by Kenya National Commission on Human Rights, a number of young Kenyans have disappeared from villages in Central Kenya due to the Mungiki menace.

If not shot dead by undercover policemen, they have simply relocated some to escape the wrath of the militia gang and others that of the police or vigilantes.

4. General insecurity

This is also universal. If you are not aware, a number of affluent Kiambu residents, for instance, have abandoned their posh houses after frequent break ins by burglars.

That means their births could be captured under Nairobi or other towns to which they have fled.

5. Assertive women

Central Kenya has the benefit of being close to the capital city. This translates to more enlightened people, women included, who are ready to stand up for their rights.

Few Kenyan men can stand to live with an assertive woman under the same roof for long.

6. Pressure on land

Over the years, population has been on a steady growth in Central Kenya. Hence, land has been sub divided to small pieces of land as parents seek to satisfy the attachment most Kenyans have on land.

Hence, many people see no reason to have many children since lack enough land to give to their children.

The size of farms in Central Kenya keep reducing. PHOTO | NAIROBI NEWS
The size of farms in Central Kenya keep reducing. PHOTO | NAIROBI NEWS

7. Drug abuse

From bhang to chewing of miraa, this problem could also be classified as universal. In the Meru region, for instance, some men have simply become dysfunctional as a result of consuming khat.

They also have no time for recreation as night-long miraa chewing sessions take up most of their time.

8. Urbanization

The proximity to Nairobi has seen most you people from Central Kenya “get lost” in Nairobi. Once in the urban centres, many factors are at play.

Their births are either captured under those towns, they might get caught up in the “let’s delay marriage or have few children” choruses.

9. High cost of living

As in every part of the country, this is a major reason for most people having few or no children at all. However, this is more likely to affect the more enlightened or educated Kenyans.

The reasoning is that if feeding oneself is a problem, why would you need to add two or more stomachs?

Such thoughts, though, would not cross the less educated who are mostly satisfied with life’s basics.

10. High mortality rate among young men

The causes vary. From high intake of toxic illicit brews to the high crime rate where you’re either snuffed out by trigger happy cops of criminals gangs, the list is endless.

However, some sociologists have suggested that the very enterprising nature of people from the region could be an undoing.

This is where most young men take up energy sucking jobs such at construction sites, pushing handcarts and digging, among others, which waste their bodies away.