Area: 580,367 sq. km. (224,080 sq mi.); slightly smaller than Texas.
Cities: Capital–Nairobi (pop. 2.9 million; 2007 est.). Other cities–Mombasa (828,500; 2006 est.), Kisumu (650,846; 2005-6), Nakuru (1.3 million; 2005-6), Eldoret (193,830; 1999).
Terrain: Kenya rises from a low coastal plain on the Indian Ocean in a series of mountain ridges and plateaus which stand above 3,000 meters (9,000 ft.) in the center of the country. The Rift Valley bisects the country above Nairobi, opening up to a broad arid plain in the north. Highlands cover the south before descending to the shores of Lake Victoria in the west.
Climate: Tropical in south, west, and central regions; arid and semi-arid in the north and the northeast.
Nationality: Noun and adjective–Kenyan(s).
Population (August 2010 est.): 39 million.
Major ethnic groups: Kikuyu 6.6 million, Luhya 5.3 million, Luo 4 million, Kalenjin 5 million, Kamba 3.9 million, Kisii 2.2 million, Mijikenda 1.9 million.
Religions: Christian 82.6%, Muslim 11.2%, traditional African religions 5%, Hindu/Sikh/Baha’i/Jewish 1%.
Languages: English (official), Swahili (national), over 40 other languages from the Bantu, Nilotic, and Cushitic linguistic groups.
Education: First 8 years of primary school are provided tuition-free by the government. In January 2008, the government began offering a program of free secondary education, subject to some restrictions. Attendance–92% for primary grades. Adult literacy rate–74%.
Health: Infant mortality rate–57.4/1,000. Life expectancy–55.3 yrs (2007 est.).
Independence: December 12, 1963.
Branches: Executive–president (chief of state, commander in chief of armed forces), prime minister (head of government), and two deputy prime ministers. Legislative–unicameral National Assembly (parliament). Judicial–Court of Appeal, High Court, various lower and special courts, including Kadhi (Sharia) courts.
Administrative subdivisions: 140 districts, joined to form 7 rural provinces. The Nairobi area has special provincial status. The government has gazetted 37 new districts. The process of establishing these districts is ongoing.
Political parties: Over 40 registered political parties. Two coalitions, the Party of National Unity (PNU) and the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), dominate the political party scene. PNU membership is filled by parties representing Kikuyu and closely related ethnic groups; ODM membership ranks are filled by parties representing nearly everybody else. PNU and ODM agreed in February 2008 to form a grand coalition government in a power-sharing arrangement that ended the political crisis erupting after disputed national elections in December 2007.
Suffrage: Universal at 18.
GDP (2009): $29.5 billion.
Annual growth rate (2009): 2.6%.
Gross national income per capita (2008): $770 (Atlas Method).
Natural resources: Wildlife, soda ash, land.
Agriculture: Products–tea, coffee, sugarcane, horticultural products, corn, wheat, rice, sisal, pineapples, pyrethrum, dairy products, meat and meat products, hides, skins. Arable land–17%.
Industry: Types–petroleum products, grain and sugar milling, cement, beer, soft drinks, textiles, vehicle assembly, paper and light manufacturing.
Structure of economy (% of GDP): Services–59.5%; industry and commerce–16.7%; agriculture–23.8%.
Work force: Formal sector wage earners–1.95 million (public sector 30%; private sector 70%). Informal sector workers–6.4 million.
Trade (2008): Exports–$4.4 billion: tea, coffee, horticultural products, petroleum products, cement, pyrethrum, soda ash, sisal, hides and skins, fluorspar. Major export markets–Uganda, United Kingdom, Tanzania, Netherlands, United States, Pakistan. Imports–$9.9 billion: machinery, vehicles, crude petroleum, iron and steel, resins and plastic materials, refined petroleum products, pharmaceuticals, paper and paper products, fertilizers, wheat. Major suppliers–United Arab Emirates, India, China, South Africa, Japan.