Kenya to obtain 170,000 digital tablets for population census next year

Population census to shift from manual to digital. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Population census to shift from manual to digital. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Kenya will procure about 170,000 digital tablets to conduct its national population census next year in a switch from the previous manual exercise.

The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) on Thursday said the August 2019 household census, whose budget stands at Sh18.5 billion, will require 170,000 enumerators, 27,000 supervisors and 2,700 ICT supervisors.

Previous census have involved manual data entry.

“The tablets will enable enumerators to key in data and be relayed in real time. It will also minimise the margin of error, results of which will be vital in national planning,” KNBS director of population Macdonald Obudho said during the launch of a booklet on gender.

“The system will be designed in a manner that if you key in the wrong data, the erroneous data is rejected.”


The KNBS seeks to source the tablets early next year, which will be installed with a tracking software, area maps and questionnaires. Remote, off-grid areas will be supplied with solar chargers.

The KNBS plans to conduct a pilot census towards end of August this year that will involve 300 enumerators with tablets donated by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). The pilot results will lay the groundwork for next year’s household census.

Work to map out areas across the country is ongoing.

Kenya conducts its household census every 10 years, the last exercise being in 2009, which cost Sh8.4 billion, out of which Sh5 billion went to pay census personnel.

The population data is often shared with key government ministries and departments to guide resource in allocation and wealth distribution.

The 2009 exercise involved 111,696 enumerators, 22,323 supervisors, 5,788 senior supervisors and 100,000 village elders, a staff count that will grow next year.