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Here’s why you are less likely to die in Nairobi

If you live in Siaya, you are more likely to die prematurely than a resident of any other county, a study has shown.

A Nation Newsplex review of Kenya’s statistics reveals that with estimated deaths of 20 per 1,000 people in 2016, a Siaya resident was three times more likely to die compared to a person living in Nairobi.

Kenya’s capital has the lowest estimated death rate of six per 1,000.

Siaya has maintained its top ranking since 2011 while Nairobi has featured in the top three counties with the lowest death rate during the same period.


With 14 homicides per 100,000 people, Siaya ranks seventh on the indicator.

Nairobi along with Samburu also have the third lowest homicide rate of one per 100,000 people.

Three other counties in the Nyanza are among the top 10 with the highest estimated death rates per 1,000 people.

Kisumu stands fifth with a death rate of 14.1, Homa Bay is seventh with 13.5, followed by Migori with 13.

In second place countrywide is Vihiga with a death rate of 17 per 1,000 people, followed by Elgeyo-Marakwet (15) and Taita-Taveta (14.7).


Vihiga has maintained its number two ranking since 2011.

In sixth place is Turkana (14) and in position nine is Bungoma (12.4). Rounding off the top 10 is Kakamega (12).

The number of homicides per 100,000 people in Vihiga is 11, placing the county among the top 10 with the highest murder rates.

The Newsplex death rate calculation factored in population by county, deaths reported and deaths coverage rates compiled from the 2015 and 2017 national and county statistical abstracts.


The deaths coverage rates were included because not all deaths are registered in the civil registration and vital statistics system.

For instance, 76 per cent of deaths in Embu were recorded in 2016, the highest percentage, but less than 10 per cent of deaths in Mandera and Wajir were reported.

For this reason, the first step to calculating the estimated death rate by county was to project what the figures would be if all deaths were reported.

The county with the second lowest death rate per 1,000 people is Isiolo (6.8) followed by Narok (6.9), Kajiado (7.3) and Embu (7.9).

Isiolo is the only county in which no homicide was reported in 2016.

Garissa, Mandera and Wajir counties were excluded from the review because the population given for the three counties in the statistical abstracts for 2011 and 2015 were the same as the population in 2009.

Therefore, only 44 counties were examined.

Although Nairobi has the lowest death rate, one in 14 deaths in 2016 occurred in the city, the highest proportion.


However, one in 10 Kenyans lives in Nairobi, which means the share of deaths was below the city’s share of the national population.

In 2016, a total of 189,930 deaths were reported, which was about 42 per cent of the deceased that year.

This puts the estimated deaths – recorded and undocumented – at 452,214.


Figures from the latest Economic Survey show that the major causes of reported deaths in Kenya are pneumonia (21,295), malaria (16,000), cancer (15,762), HIV/Aids (9,471) and anaemia (8,165).

The five diseases contribute to more than a third of reported deaths.

Two in five of all registered deaths in 2016 took place at home.

Vihiga County had the largest share of people who died at home, with 80 per cent.

In 21 counties, at least half of the reported deaths happened at home.