Nairobi Population 2021

4,922,192
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Nairobi's 2021 population is now estimated at 4,922,192. In 1950, the population of Nairobi was 137,456. Nairobi has grown by 187,311 since 2015, which represents a 3.96% annual change. These population estimates and projections come from the latest revision of the UN World Urbanization Prospects. These estimates represent the Urban agglomeration of Nairobi, which typically includes Nairobi's population in addition to adjacent suburban areas.

Nairobi is the capital of Kenya, which is located in Africa. In addition to being the capital, Nairobi is also the country’s largest city by population. The last official population was taken in 2009 and at that time was 3,138,369 in the city proper. That number has since grown to approximately 3.5 million. The metro area has over 6.5 million residents. This “Green City in the Sun” has a history dating back to 1899 and continues to grow as rural residents make their way to this big city for employment opportunities.

City Size and Population Density

The city of Nairobi is growing consistently and currently sprawls over a surface area of 696 kilometers squared (269 square miles). This area size - in combination with the total number of residents - brings us the current population density which is now approximately 4,850 residents per square kilometer. (12,600 people living per square mile).

Nairobi Demographics

The primary languages of Nairobi are Swahili and English. The city is the location of one of the largest slums in the world, and approximately 22% of the city’s residents live in poverty.

Nairobi is a very ethnically diverse city, and Kenya’s major ethnic groups all reside here, including Luo, Luhyia and Kamba. The population is made up of 20% Kikuyu. There are also many Asians, Europeans, and Somalis that call this city home. A large number of expatriates live here because of the job opportunities, which has led to the city’s explosive growth.

Nairobi History

Nairobi’s history goes back to 1899 when it became the site of the Uganda Railway’s headquarters. This railway line, meant to connect the East African interior with the rest of the world, had been named the "Lunatic Express" by skeptics doubting its economic worth. Prior to this, the city was uninhabited and was primarily swampland.

The original town was burned down during the 1900s after the plague hit its residents. The city was rebuilt, but in its earliest years, malaria was a growing issue, leading to attempts to move the town.

Under the rule of the British, the city grew. It was named as capital of the British protectorate and was named a municipality in 1919. The city continued to expand through the 1950s and 1960s. During this time, Nairobi would become a hot "big game hunting expedition" spot until independence came about. Following World War II, Kenya became independent and Nairobi was named as capital. In the early 1970s, the city continued its expansion, pouring $29 million into its airport.

In the 2000s, the city became even larger and mre modern, including the development of the Thika Superhighway. Today, the city is home to one of Adrica’s largest stock exchanges, is the site of international company headquarters including IBM, GE and Coca-Cola, and is known for Nairobi National Park, a popular destination for residents and tourists alike.

Nairobi Population Growth

Nairobi is one of the fastest growing cities in Africa, quickly becoming the second largest city of the African Great Lakes. The city is growing at a rate of over 4% annually, primarily because of the high birth rates and immigrants that come to Nairobi searching for employment opportunities. It is estimated that the city will continue on its upward trajectory in terms of population, reaching 5 million in 2025.

Nairobi Population 2021

Year Population Growth Rate (%) Growth
20358,499,4033.78%309,189
20348,190,2143.83%301,867
20337,888,3473.87%294,035
20327,594,3123.91%285,808
20317,308,5043.95%277,613
20307,030,8913.98%269,230
20296,761,6614.03%261,632
20286,500,0294.05%253,244
20276,246,7854.07%244,495
20266,002,2904.08%235,301
20255,766,9894.08%225,817
20245,541,1724.06%216,012
20235,325,1604.03%206,316
20225,118,8444.00%196,652
20214,922,1923.96%187,311
20204,734,8813.92%178,500
20194,556,3813.89%170,528
20184,385,8533.87%163,464
20174,222,3893.87%157,371
20164,065,0183.87%151,506
20153,913,5123.87%145,860
20143,767,6523.87%140,423
20133,627,2293.87%135,189
20123,492,0403.87%130,151
20113,361,8893.87%125,300
20103,236,5893.87%120,630
20093,115,9593.87%115,977
20082,999,9823.88%111,963
20072,888,0193.87%107,639
20062,780,3803.87%103,627
20052,676,7533.87%99,630
20042,577,1233.88%96,181
20032,480,9423.87%92,467
20022,388,4753.87%89,020
20012,299,4553.87%85,587
20002,213,8684.03%85,819
19992,128,0494.93%99,985
19982,028,0644.93%95,286
19971,932,7784.92%90,688
19961,842,0904.94%86,666
19951,755,4244.93%82,477
19941,672,9474.93%78,602
19931,594,3454.92%74,808
19921,519,5374.94%71,490
19911,448,0474.93%68,035
19901,380,0124.91%64,622
19891,315,3904.81%60,325
19881,255,0654.82%57,713
19871,197,3524.81%54,985
19861,142,3674.81%52,460
19851,089,9074.81%49,984
19841,039,9234.82%47,820
1983992,1034.81%45,559
1982946,5444.81%43,468
1981903,0764.81%41,415
1980861,6614.84%39,815
1979821,8464.98%38,976
1978782,8704.98%37,128
1977745,7424.97%35,319
1976710,4234.99%33,737
1975676,6864.98%32,092
1974644,5944.98%30,570
1973614,0244.97%29,081
1972584,9434.99%27,778
1971557,1654.98%26,424
1970530,7415.10%25,738
1969505,0035.76%27,485
1968477,5185.77%26,060
1967451,4585.76%24,604
1966426,8545.76%23,263
1965403,5915.76%21,966
1964381,6255.77%20,827
1963360,7986.02%20,483
1962340,3157.85%24,762
1961315,5537.84%22,931
1960292,6227.86%21,320
1959271,3027.85%19,741
1958251,5617.85%18,305
1957233,2567.84%16,950
1956216,3067.86%15,760
1955200,5467.85%14,593
1954185,9537.85%13,530
1953172,4237.84%12,530
1952159,8937.86%11,650
1951148,2437.85%10,787
1950137,4560.00%

Nairobi Population Data (Urban Area)

Name Population 2021 Growth
Nairobi4,922,1923.96%
Mombasa1,340,9133.47%
Eldoret410,6224.21%
Ruiru407,1294.65%
Nakuru395,1413.05%
Kisumu366,5103.22%

Other Cities in Kenya

  1. World Urbanization Prospects - United Nations population estimates and projections of major Urban Agglomerations

Sources