About The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics

Driving Kenya's Progress with Data; Keeping You Informed.

The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) is a vital institution in Kenya, founded in 2006 with a mandate to collect, analyze, and disseminate statistical data. KNBS provides essential economic indicators like GDP, inflation rates, and unemployment rates, enabling informed policy decisions. Beyond economics, it supports county governments, conducts population censuses, and addresses regional challenges such as water and sanitation needs. KNBS ensures data-driven approaches to education and environmental conservation. With its commitment to reliable statistics, KNBS plays a central role in Kenya’s development journey.

KNBS Mandate

Collecting, analysing and disseminating statistical data in Kenya

The Bureau shall be the principal agency of the Government for collecting, analysing and disseminating statistical data in Kenya and shall be the custodian of official statistical information

Without prejudice to the generality of subsection (1), the Bureau shall be responsible for;

(a) planning, authorising, co-ordinating and supervising all official statistical programmes undertaken within the national statistical system;

(b) establishing standards and ensuring the use of best practices and methods in the production and dissemination of statistical information across the national statistical system;

(c) collecting, compiling, analyzing, abstracting and disseminating statistical information on the matters specified in the First Schedule;

(d) conducting the Population and Housing Census every ten years, and such other censuses and surveys as the Board may determine;

(e) maintaining a comprehensive and reliable national socio-economic database.

(f) developing and maintaining sampling frames of the Bureau;

(e) maintaining a comprehensive and reliable national socio-economic database.

(f) developing and maintaining sampling frames of the Bureau;

(g) collaborating with and assisting the county governments or any other institutions in the production of official statistics;

(h) providing technical advice on statistics to other state entities;

(i) promoting co-ordination among producers, users and suppliers of official statistics by forming appropriate sector committees; and

Vision Statement:

To be a global leader in the provision of quality statistical services.

Mission Statement:

To provide, manage and promote quality statistical services through utilization of best practices for evidence-based decision making.

Core Values

What We Stand For

Professionalism
Integrity
Confidentiality
Customer Focus
Innovation
Teamwork

A well-functioning data bureau is essential for any nation that wishes to make informed decisions and effectively plan for its future. Accurate and timely data is the foundation for sound policy-making, and without it, we risk basing our decisions on assumptions and guesswork. The work of our data bureau is crucial to ensuring that we have the information we need to build a better future for all of our citizens.

- President William Ruto

History of KNBS

Quae eius autem nascetur mus. Hac a veniam

The Beginning

The Colonial Government appointed its first Official Statistician in 1925.

The history of organized statistical activities in Kenya goes back to the 1920’s.  The Colonial Government appointed its first Official Statistician in 1925. In 1926, the statistician was assigned to work for the Conference of Governors of the three East African territories of Kenya, Uganda and Tanganyika and this foreshadowed the creation of the East African Statistical Department (EASD).

Establishment of the East African Statistical Department (EASD)

The East African Statistical Department (EASD) was formally established in 1948.

The East African Statistical Department (EASD) was formally established in 1948. The EASD collected, processed and published statistical data for the three territories. The department published, on a regular basis, the East African Economic and Statistical Bulletin.

In 1948 the first population census in Kenya was undertaken but the results were published in 1952.

Decentralization of the EASD

The first time that a fully-fledged Statistical Unit was set up in Kenya.

In 1956, the EASD was decentralized into three separate Statistical Units to serve Kenya, Uganda and Tanganyika at the territorial level while retaining the EASD to deal with statistical needs common to the three territories. This was the first time that a fully-fledged Statistical Unit was set up in Kenya. The enactment of the Statistics Act on 4th July 1961 fully integrated the Kenya Statistical Unit within the government machinery as the government Statistical Office. The Statistics Unit was formally established as the Economics and Statistics Division of the Treasury.In 1962, the Division undertook the second Population Census in Kenya prior to attainment of Independence.

Establishment of the Ministry of Economic Planning and Development

In 1963, the Ministry of Economic Planning and Development was established and the Division was transferred from the Treasury to the new Ministry.

In 1963, the Ministry of Economic Planning and Development was established and the Division was transferred from the Treasury to the new Ministry. Subsequently, the Division was split into two units that were elevated to departments namely the Planning Department headed by a Chief Economist and the Statistics Department headed by a Chief Statistician. However, Agricultural Statistics Section of the former Economics Planning and Development was physically located in the Ministry of Agriculture, an arrangement which continued up to 1972.

The Formation of the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS)

In 1972, the Statistics Department of the Ministry of Planning and Development was renamed the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) and the head of the Department was designated “Director” instead of Chief Statistician.

CBS expanded its operations in the 1960’s and 1970’s both at the headquarters in Nairobi and at the field level.  During this period, it undertook a wide range of data collection activities and kept a healthy publication programme. This impetus continued up to the mid 1980’s when CBS greatly expanded its field survey programme to respond to the need for district-level statistical data following the adoption of the District Focus for Rural Development (DFRD) strategy in 1983. However, a deteriorating trend set in mid 1980’s and continued into the 1990’s. This period was characterized by low level data collection efforts, minimal processing and analysis of collected data and discontinuation of issuance of publications which, in the past, used to be regular features of CBS activities. The factors responsible for the downward trend include inadequate budgetary allocation as a result of reduction in government expenditure and inadequate number of professional staff particularly at senior levels.

Establishment of KNBS

The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) was established by the Statistics Act of 2006 to replace CBS.

It was therefore axiomatic that effective measures were needed to reverse this negative trend and to prepare CBS for the challenge of the 21st century. To this end, the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) was established by the Statistics Act of 2006 to replace CBS. The Act establishes KNBS as a Semi-Autonomous Government Agency incorporated under the Ministry of State for Planning, National Development and Vision 2030. Its core mandate is collection, compilation, analysis, publication and dissemination of statistical information for public use, with an additional role of coordinating, monitoring and supervising the National Statistical System (NSS).