Kwale County is a county in the former Coast Province of Kenya. Its capital is Kwale, although Ukunda is the largest town. The County is one of the six counties in the coastal region of Kenya. It borders Taita Taveta County to the North West, Kilifi County to the North and North East, Mombasa County and Indian Ocean to the East and South East and the United Republic of Tanzania to the South West. The County is located in the Southern tip of Kenya lying between Latitudes 30.05º to 40.75º south and longitudes 38.52º to 39.51º east. Kwale County covers an area of about 8,270.2 Square Kilometers, of which 62 is water surface. The area excludes the 200 miles’ coastal strip known as the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ). Administrative and political units; the County is divided into four sub-counties namely; Kinango, Matuga, Msambweni and Lunga Lunga.
Population size and composition
The County population projections based on the 2009 Kenya Population and Housing Census by age cohort and gender is as follows; in 2017, the County population was estimated at 820,199 persons, 397,841 of which were males and 422,358 were females. The population is projected to rise to 909,929 in 2018. Further analysis shows that the projected population has a child rich population, where 0-14 year olds will constitute 47% of the total population. This is due to high fertility rates among women and improved antenatal care. The main challenge brought about by this population is the ever-growing need for social services such as health, education, and other social amenities. The working-age population (15-64-year-old) is projected to constitute 50% of the population.
The Gender Inequality Index (GII)
Kenya has an overall GII of 0.651(Draft 7th Human Development Report). This is however, not equal everywhere as there are regional disparities with counties located in Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALS) having high Gender Inequality Indices. In addition, there are certain groups which are more vulnerable to poverty due to many factors including, climate change. These include, women and children living in poor households, people living with disabilities & the elderly among others. Improving equity in gender issues and reducing gender disparities will benefit all sectors and thus contribute to sustainable economic growth, poverty reduction and social injustices.
The number of children under the age of one year was estimated to reach 31,120 in 2017 and projected to rise to 32,074 in 2018. This increase in the population under the age of one is attributed to a fertility rate of 4.7 children per woman and decline in mortality rate due to enhanced immunization programs that have been scaled up by the Health sector actors in the county. Preschool – age 4 – 5 years total population of children in this age group is projected to reach 91,070 in 2018. The primary school age 6 – 13 years total population in this age group is projected to stand at 201,971 in 2018 which constituted 14% of the county population.