Kenya’s fertility rate has been on a worrying decline since 1966, falling from an average of 8.092 children per woman to 3.9 children per woman in 2015 and now 3.416 in 2020.
Kenya’s fertility rate is further expected to fall deeper to 3.0 children and further lower to 2.0 children in 2074 despite Kenya’s population growth is slow, Kenyan women are mostly not willing to have more than two children.
The North-Eastern parts of Kenya have the highest fertility rate while the Central region of Kenya has the least fertility rate.
A majority of Kenyan women are opting for fewer children whom they can afford to give what they consider a comfortable life financially while a majority of women also prefer to pursue their careers first before getting babies.
Counties Fertility Rate in Kenya
The Northeastern region of Kenya is considered to have the highest fertility rate with a woman giving birth to an average of 7 to 8 children.
Counties such as West Pokot has a fertility rate of 7.2, Turkana has a rate of 6.9 children while Samburu County has a rate of 6.3 children per woman.
The Central region deemed to have the lowest fertility rate in the Country averages a fertility rate of 2 to 3 children at a rate of 2.7.
Counties in the Central region such as Kirinyaga County has the lowest fertility rate at 2.3 while Nyeri, Kiambu, and Nairobi have 2.7 fertility rates.
Counties reported to have a very high prevalence of early childbearing are in the Nyanza region, the Rift Valley and Coastal region where girls as young as 12 are already mothers.
Factors Determining Kenya’s Fertility Rate
Fertility rates in Kenya are higher in rural women than in urban women which has been attributed to the level of illiteracy and access to family planning methods.
Women hailing from poor backgrounds are also found to have more children than those from well off backgrounds as most poor families are not able to finance their daughter’s education to the university level leaving them exposed to early marriages or sexual predators.
Most rural women are held from using family planning methods because of the myths that spread about the different methods
Education has also been mentioned as a possible effect as a number of women view children as a barrier to achieving their professional and academic dreams.
“15 percent of women age 15-19 have already had a birth, while 18 percent have begun childbearing,” says a 2014 report.
The Fewer Babies Better Economy Lie Kenyans Were Told
Renaissance Capital Limited’s Global Chief Economist Charles Robertson attributed low power consumption and a high fertility rate as factors that undermined Kenya’s potential of growing economically.
The decline in Kenya’s fertility rate is, however, doing very little to grow the economy but instead, the economy seems to dwindle together with the fertility rate with all Kenyans blaming corruption in the country.
Kenya currently lags behind in matters fertility rate in East Africa yet the Economy has refused to smile to the tightened wombs of the Kenyan woman, is it time to relook the solutions for the economy?