For several reasons, including high murder and death rates, one is more likely to die in Siaya than any other county in Kenya.
People living in Siaya face the highest risk of death, a Nation Newsplex review of Kenya’s vital statistics reveals. With estimated deaths of nearly 20 per 1,000 people in 2016, a Siaya resident was three times as likely to die as a person living in Nairobi, the county with the lowest estimated death rate (six deaths).
Siaya has maintained its top ranking since 2011 while Nairobi has featured in the top three counties with the lowest death rate during the same period.
One is 58 times more likely to die from a homicide in Lamu County than in Isiolo and Nakuru counties.
With 14 homicides per 100,000 people Siaya ranks seventh on the indicator. Nairobi along with Samburu also have the third lowest homicide rate of one death per 100,000 people.
Three other counties in Nyanza are among the 10 counties with the highest estimated death rates per 1,000 people. Kisumu places fifth with a death rate of 14.1. Homa Bay ranks seventh with a rate of 13.5, followed by Migori with 13.
In second place countrywide is Vihiga with a death rate of 17 per 1,000 people, followed by Elgeyo-Marakwet (15) and Taita-Taveta (14.7). Vihiga has maintained its number two ranking since 2011. In sixth place is Turkana (14) and in position nine is Bungoma (12.4). Rounding off the top 10 is Kakamega (12).
The number of homicides per 100,000 people in Vihiga is 11, placing the county among the 10 counties with the highest murder rates.
The Newsplex death rate calculation factored in population by county, deaths reported and deaths coverage rates compiled from the 2015 and 2017 national and county statistical abstracts.
The deaths coverage rates were included because not all deaths are registered in the civil registration and vital statistics system. For instance, 76 per cent of deaths in Embu were recorded in 2016, the highest percentage, but less than 10 per cent of deaths in Mandera and Wajir were reported. For this reason, the first step to calculating the estimated death rate by county was to project what the figures would be if all deaths were reported.
The county with the second lowest estimated death rate per 1,000 people is Isiolo (6.8) followed by Narok (6.9), Kajiado (7.3) and Embu (7.9). Isiolo is the only county in which no homicide was reported in 2016.
Garissa, Mandera and Wajir counties were excluded from the review because the population given for the three counties in the statistical abstracts for 2011 and 2015 were the same as the population in 2009. Therefore, only 44 counties were examined.
Although Nairobi has the lowest death rate, one in 14 deaths in 2016 occurred in the city, the highest proportion. However, one in 10 Kenyans lives in Nairobi, which means the share of deaths was below the city’s share of the national population.
In 2016, a total of 189,930 deaths were reported, which was about 42 per cent of the deceased that year. This puts the estimated deaths (recorded and undocumented) at 452,214.
In the six years to 2016, Nyeri County recorded the largest drop in the death rate. The county’s estimated death rate per 1,000 plunged by a third from 14 deaths to nine deaths. It was followed by Tharaka Nthi (15 per cent) and Nairobi (14 per cent).
On the opposite side of the scale, Elgeyo-Marakwet’s death rate per 1,000 people spiked by a similar margin from 11 to 15 deaths.
Nationally, the death rate increased 10 percentage points to 10 deaths per 1,000 people over the same period.
According to the World Health Organization, the chances of a woman in Kenya living to age 65 is 72 per cent while that of a man is 10 percentage points lower.
When causes of death are considered, Lamu County has the highest homicide rate while Nakuru and Isiolo counties have the lowest. One is 58 times more likely to die from a homicide in Lamu County than in Isiolo and Nakuru counties. According to the National Police Service, 76 people died from homicide in Lamu, which translates to a homicide rate of 59 per 100,000 people. Eight homicides were reported in Nakuru, which was equivalent to a rate of less than one per cent. The rates for the two counties were way below the national rate of six homicides per 100,000 people.
The homicide rates for half of the counties (23) were below the national rate of six homicides per 100,000 people.
The police define homicide as murder, manslaughter, infanticide, procured abortion, suicide and road accident deaths caused by drunk driving.
According to the police, homicides increased by four per cent to 2,751 deaths in 2016. Fourteen counties accounted for more than half of the deaths. Embu reported the most homicides at 208. It was followed by Siaya with (138), Nyeri (136), Turkana (128) and Kiambu (120).
World Health Organisation figures show that I in 42 women in Kenya will eventually die from a maternal cause. Four in five expectant and new mothers who die in hospital receive poor care where a different management could have saved their lives or that of their child, reveals the firstConfidential Enquiry into Maternal Deaths in Kenya which was launched this month. Of these, 394 (81 per cent) received substandard care where different care management could have resulted in a better outcome.
When it comes to the overall crime rate, Nyeri takes the prize. The county has a crime rate of 631 per 100,000 people, which is almost triple the national rate of 166. It is followed by Meru (348) and Lamu (339).
With 25 crimes per 100,000 people, Mandera has the lowest number of reported crimes. It is followed by Samburu (37) and Wajir (52).
While Isiolo had the lowest homicide rate, it experienced the highest jump in reported crime. In 2016, the county’s reported crime cases more than doubled to 507 from 213 the previous year. It was followed by Embu, where reported crime increased by 69 per cent, Machakos (68 per cent), Makueni (59 per cent) and Marsabit (44 per cent).
Figures from the latest Economic Survey show that the major causes of reported deaths in Kenya are pneumonia (21,295), malaria (16,000), cancer (15,762), HIV and Aids (9,471) and anaemia (8,165). The five diseases contribute to more than a third of reported deaths.
Place of death
Two in five of all registered deaths in 2016 took place at home. Vihiga County had the largest share of people who died at home, with 80 per cent. In 21 counties at least half of the reported deaths happened at home.