Find why over 40% of Kenya’s Population is Unemployed 

 July 12, 2016

By  BTK Staff

Have you ever given a thought on the unemployment rates in Kenya? Now here is a simple analysis of Kenya’s Unemployment: (Source: 2009 Kenya Population and Housing Census Data)


  • In 2006, 12% of Kenya’s population was unemployed.
  • Over 40% of Kenya’s population is unemployed, translating to 16 million of the whole population.
  • Only 3.8 million of youths are employed. 84% of these are vulnerable.
  • 70% of the employed youths are underpaid.

Kenya is one of the fastest growing economies in the world, and it is ranked 3rd in Africa, as one of the most promising economies.

Despite the growing economy, the unemployment trends are alarming. Since 2006, unemployment rates have increased from 16% to 40% of the whole population. The data shows that a majority of the labor market are inactive, or rather not actively involved in an economic activity.

So, why the high unemployment rates, despite a promising economy? Does it mean that businesses are being established and the youthful population is not being absorbed? These are the common questions people keep on asking themselves when the growth of the economy does not solve the unemployment menace.

The unemployment rates explain why there is too much hopelessness among the youths. Five years after completing tertiary courses, the dreams of young men and women continue being diminished due to lack of a formal employment.

Several decades ago, when our parents were our age, the problem of youth unemployment was not as pronounced as it is today. Actually, most of the senior civil servants got their jobs using the primary or secondary  qualifications. So what changed?

The day to day timetable of today’s graduates is characterized by walking around dropping letters or if lucky, doing manual jobs that pay you Ksh.300 on a good day. Ksh.300 is less than what our politicians spend on their 10.00 am tea-break, leave alone the breakfast.

Should we continue waiting for politicians to enact policies that will reduce the menace? We have done so for over two decades now, and it is time to try another way maybe. Which way is better? Let’s talk on the way forward.

BTK Staff

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