Tribes in Kenya
Kenya is a land of great diversity in its people and cultures. There are three main language groups in Kenya from which the tribes can be divided, These are the Bantus, Nilotes and Cushites, it is from these three ethnic groups that we have the 42 tribes which make up the Kenyan population. Bantu is the largest division making up about 70% of Kenya’s population
There are three main language groups in which the tribes in Kenya can be divided into, they are the;
Central Bantu: Kikuyu, Akamba, Meru, Embu, Tharaka, Mbere Western Bantu: Gussi, Kuria, Luhya Coastal Bantu: Mikikenda, Swahili, Pokomo, Segeju, Taveta, Taita
Plains Nilotic: Maasai, Samburu, Teso, Turkana, Elmolo, Njemps Highland Nilotic: Kalenjin, Marakwet, Tugen, Pokot, Elkony, Kipsigis Lake River Nilotic: Luo
Eastern Cushitic: Rendille, Somali, Boran, Gabbra, Orma Southern Cushitic: Boni
List of The 42 Tribes in Kenya
There are about 42 Tribes in Kenya with various languages and customs that all joined become the unparalleled mix of the Kenyan culture.
- Kikuyu people
- Kalenjin people
- Luo people
- Luhya people
- Kamba people
- Maasai people
- Mijikenda people
- Turkana people
- Nilotic people
- Samburu people
- Kipsigis people
- Kuria people
- Kisii people
- Rendille people
- Gabra people
- Indians in Kenya
- Borana Oromo people
- El Molo people
- Swahili people
- Meru people
- Pokomo people
- Mbeere people
- Taita people
- Teso people
- Pokot people
- Bajuni people
- Okiek/Ogiek people
- Embu people
- Ilchamus people
- Jibana people
- Chonyi people
- Orma people
- Giriama people
- Suba people
- Sakuye people
- Nandi people
- Elgeyo people
Kenyan Tribes Map
Tribes in Kenya Map
The population of Tribes in Kenya
The largest tribe in Kenya by population is Kikuyu who mainly resides in the central province. The second-largest tribe is the Luhyas who are compromised of several subgroups including the Abanyala and Abanyore. The Luhya inhabit the western province. The third-largest tribe in Kenya is Luo also from the western part of Kenya.
The Kikuyu people are from the Bantu family and are the largest ethnic group in Kenya, the main economic activities of the Agikuyu are trade, agriculture and livestock keeping.
The Kikuyu make up about 20% of Kenya’s population.
The Abaluyia people are from the Bantu family and they mainly inhabit the Western part of Kenya, Luhyas mainly practice farming and agriculture, sugarcane being their largest activity in fact most maximum of the sugar used in Kenya is produced in Mumias which is a Luhya land.
The Luhya people have a population of around 6.5 million.
The Luo people are from the Nilotic family and they mainly inhabit the Western part of Kenya, For Luos inhabiting the rural areas, freshwater fishing in Lake Victoria is the main economic activity with some of the fish being exported while the rest is consumed locally.
The Luo people in Kenya have a population of over 6.1 million.
The Kalenjin people are from the Nilotic family and they are divided into the Kipsigis, Nandi, Keiyo, Marakwet, Sabaot, Pokots, Tugen, Terik, Lembus, and Ogiek who all speak the Kalenjin language, they mainly reside in what was formerly the Rift Valley province.
The Kalenjin people’s population is estimated at over 5.7 million.
The Kamba or Akamba are a Bantu ethnic group/tribe that lives in the eastern and southeastern areas of Kenya. The Kamba are identified to be skilled craftsmen with a specialty in iron/metal, carvings, making drums, ornaments, as well as their expertise in medicinal herbs.
The population of the Kamba stands at around 4.1 million.
Mijikenda’s are from the Bantu family and they mainly inhabit the coastal region of Kenya. The Mijikenda are mainly involved in agriculture, with one of the crops they plant being the coconut palm, whose products bear oil extracts and palm wine. Its fronds are also utilized for roofing and as material for making baskets, mats, brooms, and other weaved products.
Their population is around 1.9 million.
The Maasai are from the Nilotic family and occupy some parts of the northern, central and southern Kenya. Their main economic activities include keeping Livestock such as cattle, goats, and sheep.
Their population was just over 800,000 in the 2009 census.
The Turkana are from the Nilotic family and mainly occupy the northwest parts of Kenya. Their economic activities are mainly in livestock. Cattle, camels, donkeys, sheep, and goats
Their population is about 800,000.
Frequently Asked Questions About Tribes of Kenya
How many tribes are there in Kenya?
42 tribes as of 2020. We have about 42 tribes in Kenya as of 2020 with different languages and cultures that all merge to become the unique mix of Kenyan culture.
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What are the main tribes in Kenya?
Top 5 Tribes In Kenya
- Kikuyu: The Kikuyu tribe is the most populous one, inhabiting Kenya’s Central region.
- Luhya: The Luhya tribe forms the second-largest tribe among the tribes in Kenya that form 14% of the Kenyan population.
- Kisii: The Kisii tribe lives in the highly fertile highlands in Nyanza in Western Kenya.
- Mijikenda: The Mijikenda tribe comprises of nine sub-tribes whose culture revolves around clans and age-sets.
- Maasai: The Maasai tribe is one of the most popular tribes in Kenya renowned for their closeness to their culture and history, which they have harmoniously integrated with the modern ways of life.
Which are the largest tribes in Kenya?
Top 8 Largest Tribes in Kenya
- Kikuyu tribe – 20% of Kenya’s population
- Luhya tribe – around 6.5 million
- Luo tribe – over 6.1 million
- Kalenjin tribe – over 5.7 million
- Kamba tribe – around 4.1 million
- Mijikenda tribe – around 1.9 million
- Maasai tribe – over 800,000
- Turkana tribe – about 800,000
Which tribe is the richest in Kenya?
The Kikuyu tribe is ranked the largest and the richest among the Kenyan tribes.
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