Even as the census results released Monday revealed that there are more women than men in Kenya, 15 counties have more males than females, with regions in arid and semi-arid areas dominating the list.
The data shows that Garissa County has the sharpest male-female deficit, with men exceeding women by more than 76,000. Wajir is second with at least 49,000 more males than females. Turkana (21,219 more males) and Marsabit (27,329) follow in that order.
Mombasa closes the top five list, having 12,211 more males than females. It is the only county with a large urban population that recorded the trend.
The others are Isiolo (11,027 more males), Lamu (10,290), Taita Taveta (6,010), Baringo (5,894) and Samburu (3,223).
The last five are Tana River (1,159 more males), Laikipia (338) Narok (237) and Elgeyo-Marakwet (166).
However, the provisional results released by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) did not give a breakdown of the numbers by age, which does not provide a clear picture as to whether there is a number of bachelors in the said counties who might struggle to get partners.
Is there an effect in a society where there are more males than females?
Scholarly articles reviewed by the Nation show varied thoughts on the impact of the surplus. The articles have been written mainly about Asian countries like China and South Korea where parents have been trying all means to have boys over girls.
“The consequences of this male surplus are largely speculative,” says one paper published in the US National Library of Medicine in 2006. “Many of the outcomes that we have described as consequences, for example increased levels of violence, are likely to be multifactorial in causation and therefore impossible to attribute simply to gender imbalance.”
But the authors of the document — Therese Hasketh of the University College of London and Zhu Wei Xing of Zhajiang Normal University — predicted that if the trend continued in China and India up to 2026, there would be a visible effect.
“These men will remain single and will be unable to have families in societies where marriage is regarded as virtually universal and social status and acceptance depend, in large part, on being married and creating a new family,” they said, also noting that the situation would make women selective, only marrying men with “favourable” qualities.
In another study published in 1995 by the US National Library of Medicine, three scholars argued that having more males than females in China risked causing an imbalance in marriages in the three decades that followed.
“Imbalances in first marriages (lack of matches between males and females) will be around 9 percent beginning after 2020,” they said.