Kenya’s fertility rate, defined as the number of live births a woman would have in a reproductive life span of between 15 and 49 years, has decreased from approximately eight children per woman in 1963 to an average of 3.4 births per 1,000 women in 2022, according to the 2022 Economic Survey. However, there are wide regional variations.
Women in Mandera, Wajir and Marsabit counties give birth to seven children whereas women in Nairobi are likely to give birth to only two children, suggesting that socio-economic and cultural factors play a major part in fertility rates.
Marriage and Contraceptives
The Performance Monitoring for Action Kenya 2022 noted that some of the counties with the highest fertility rates also record the lowest number of women using modern contraceptives.
The Economic Survey revealed that the Singulate Age at Marriage (SMAM) was 27.3 years for males, and 23.1 for females, indicating the timing of first marriages, showing that young people have been delaying marriage.
Mandera county has the highest fertility rate at eight births per woman, followed by Marsabit (7), Wajir (6.7), Turkana (6.4), West Pokot (5.7), Tana River (5.2), Samburu (4.9), Garissa (4.4), Kwale (4.3), Isiolo (4.1) and Baringo (4).
By contrast, Nyamira, Kiambu, Kirinyaga and Machakos recorded 2.7 births per woman, with Kisii and Makueni on 2.8 births per woman, and Nyeri, Embu, Meru, Mombasa and Tharaka Nithi at 2.9 births per woman.