Kenya: Atheists in Kenya Dispute Census Figures, Claim They Are More Than 1 Million

24 February 2020

Atheists in Kenya (AIK) Society has disputed data from the 2019 Census showing that there are slightly above 700,000 nonbelievers in Kenya.

In a statement on Sunday, AIK rejected the figures by the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS), stating that the number of atheists in Kenya is about 1.5 million.

POPULATION

According to the final report of the 2019 Population Census released on Friday by KNBS, the number of Kenyans who do not believe in God stands at 755,750.

"We find these statistics to be grossly inaccurate and not fit for purpose. We contend that we have well over 1.5 million atheists in Kenya, and the number is growing steadily," read a statement by AIK President Harrison Mumia.

He added that an independent survey of their members revealed that some KNBS employees deliberately skipped asking whether one is an atheist during the 2019 census. We have evidence that many atheists were undercounted and miscounted.

Kilifi County led with the highest number of atheists at 146,669, more than double the number of nonbelievers in Nakuru (67,640), which is second.

Nairobi was third with 54,841 followed by Narok (45,617), Kiambu (30,770), Kitui (23,778), Meru (20,985) and Mombasa (11,148).

DECLINE

The society further accused KNBS enumerators of deliberately failing to tally atheists during the 2019 census.

Mumia questioned why the number of atheists had declined from the 922,128 in the 2009 census.

According to the 2009 population census report released by the same institution, the number of Kenyans who said that they were not affiliated to any religion was said to be 922,128.

"We find it odd that the 2019 census report indicates that the number of atheists has declined by almost 200,000 in a span of 10 years, yet the population of Kenyans has increased by 10 million over the same period. This undermines the accuracy of not just the atheist data, but the entire KNBS 2019 census report," Mumia said.

Atheists in Kenya (AIK) society was registered with the office of the Registrar of Societies in February 2017 by Harrison Mumia.

Three months later, the government quashed the registration but it was reinstated after they successfully challenged the suspension in the High Court.

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