Census: The 20 constituencies where Kenya’s wealthiest live

Aerial view of Lang'ata area bordering Kibera slums.

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Langata might not be the richest constituency in Kenya, but it is one of the places where the country’s wealthy retreat to spend their nights.

An analysis of the data from the recently released census figures shows that the constituency leads in the number of households that own luxurious homes built using expensive roofing and flooring materials.

Further, most of the households in the area have assets like cars, Internet connections, computers and refrigerators, the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) numbers show.

But the country’s rich do not live in Langata alone, and neither are they restricted to Nairobi County. An analysis of the census data shows most of the richest households in the country are also found in Kiambu, Kisumu, Mombasa and Kajiado counties.

They enjoy functional services like piped water, but most of them do not get their drinking water from the taps - instead, they buy bottled water.

And as more wealthy people put up or buy homes outside the city, the number of households in areas like Athi River and Kajiado North with cars is increasing.

READ ALSO: Census report: This is where Kenya's wealthiest live

After crunching the data from KNBS, The Standard can list 20 constituencies from seven counties whose households consistently feature when measured against several key socio-economic indicators, including owning their houses.

Pricey materials

Most of these families live in towns such as Eldoret, Nairobi, Kiambu, Kisumu and Athi River, where property ownership costs are pretty high.

The data shows a number of residents of Lang’ata, where the Karen suburb is located, own houses built using expensive roofing and flooring materials.

These include parquet, a geometric mosaic of wood pieces used to provide a decorative effect in flooring, and which costs a small fortune to maintain. They also need to be replaced fairly regularly.

For roofing, these households use attractive shingles, which comprise individual overlapping elements that typically come in various shapes.

The 20 constituencies that host the country’s wealthy are concentrated in Nairobi, Kiambu and Mombasa counties. The other counties that feature are Kajiado, Machakos, Kisumu and Nyeri.

An average 38 per cent of the households in these counties have built homes using concrete blocks. Kasarani, Mvita and Embakasi constituencies lead in the fraction of houses built with stone at 50 per cent, 48 per cent and 46 per cent, respectively.

Surprisingly, on the list of the top 20, no constituency featured from Nakuru, which was ranked as the second-largest economy after Nairobi in the inaugural 2019 Gross County Product (GCP) report.

The reason for this might lie in the fact that while GCP measures the monetary value of all the goods and services produced in a county, the census data addresses the well-being of residents in a given administrative unit.

Other counties that were ranked highly by the ground-breaking report due to their impactful economic activities but do not host any of the top 20 constituencies favoured by the wealthy include Nyandarua and Elgeyo Marakwet.

READ ALSO: 2019 census: Embakasi is Nairobi’s most populous region

The KNBS report found that residents of Nairobi were the third most productive after those in Nyandarua and Elgeyo Marakwet, which had the first and second-highest GCP per capita (per person), respectively.

The dissonance between GCP and household assets may be a result of the fact that the richest people, some who manage and run critical sectors of the economy, do not necessarily spend the night where they work.

The national statistician calculated GCP per capita by dividing the total value of all finished goods and services produced in a county by its population.

The report sought to debunk the oft-repeated myth that Nairobi contributes more than half of the country’s overall economy in what is likely to result in massive re-engineering of investment countrywide.

Find out more in the Financial Standard