Indians in Kenya
India has the largest diaspora in the world & as per the Ministry of External Affairs, there are 3.2 Crores or 32 million Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) and Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) residing outside India.
As per the Ministry of External Affairs 2018 report, there are 80,000 (80 thousand) Indians residing in Kenya.
- Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) – 60,000 (60 thousand)
- Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) – 20,0000 (20 thousand)
read about the Population of Overseas Indians
Source: MEA report about overseas Indian population.
Kenya India population
Indians make up less than 1 % population of Kenya and approx population of Indians in Kenya as of 2023 is 1 Lakh. People of Indian Origin living in Kenya are descended from South Asian migrants in the 19th and 20th Centuries.
Significant Indian migration to modern-day Kenya began following the creation of the East Africa Protectorate in 1895. Among the local Indian ethnic populace, the vast majority of administrative roles were filled by Konkani Goans, Parsis, and Gujaratis, whilst the ranks of the British officered police and army mainly consisted of Punjabis.
Between 1896 and 1901 when some 32,000 indentured laborers were recruited from British India to build the Kenya-Uganda Railway. The majority of Indians trace their ancestry to the regions of Rajasthan, Gujarat, and Punjab. There are also large numbers who originate from Maharashtra, Odisha, Goa, and Tamil Nadu.
Indian community grew significantly during the colonial period, and in the 1962 census, Indians made up a third of the population of Nairobi and consisted of 176,613 people across the country. Despite accounting for only 2 percent of the overall population, Indians constituted one-third of the population of Nairobi, where their businesses dominated the main street. Before independence, Asians owned nearly three-quarters of the private non-agricultural assets in the country. The Gujarati community in particular thrived in a wide range of industries. Some of Kenya’s largest and most prominent companies to date are controlled by Gujaratis.
After Kenya achieved independence from Britain in 1963, the Indian population in Kenya declined from 179,000 in 1962 to 139,000 in 1969 and to 78,000 in 1979. Most Indians migrated to the United Kingdom. According to the 2019 Census, Kenyan Asians numbered 47,555 people, while Asians without Kenyan citizenship numbered 42,972 individuals. In 2017, they were officially recognized as the 44th tribe of Kenya.
Regions with significant populations
Religion of Indian population in Kenya
The majority of Indians in Kenya follow Hinduism & The next largest community is Muslims; the majority are Sunni Muslims, however, there is a significant Shia minority, including Ismailis, Bohras and Ithnā’ashariyyah. There are also sizeable communities of Sikhs and Jains, and smaller numbers of Roman Catholics.
Languages spoken by Indians include Marwari, Gujarati, Hindustani, Marathi, Konkani, Kutchi (as well as the creole language Kutchi-Swahili), Odia, Punjabi, Sindhi, and Tamil.
read more about religion in Kenya