Despite having the highest overall wealth, Nairobi is not the top richest county in Kenya because of its high population and inequality. This is also because the county has zero agricultural GDP as per the 2009 census classifications.
A recent World Bank report ranked Kiambu as Kenya’s richest county and Mandera the poorest. The report, however, differed with the Commission on Revenue Allocation’s (CRA) June 2013 report, which named Kajiado as the richest county based on multiple national surveys.
According to the World Bank, below are the top 20 richest counties in Kenya based each and every county’s GDP per capita;
1. Kiambu: $1,785
Kiambu County which is within Greater Nairobi generates about 60% of Kenya’s wealth.
Also known as ‘The Birmingham of Kenya’, Thika town is popular for the pineapple plantations and the heavy industrial activity. Several industries including the Broadways Bakery, Bidco Oil Refineries, CMC motor vehicle assembly line and Thika Coffee Mills are based here. The town has also witnessed rapid growth due to the explosive real estate boom in the county.
Kiambu County is also a hub of tea and coffee, among other cash crops.
2. Nyeri: $1,503
With a population of 661,156, Nyeri County residents are predominantly farmers growing tea and coffee as cash crops alongside food crops such as maize, beans, assorted vegetables and sweet potatoes.
Tourism and agriculture are the backbones of the town’s economy as it neighbours rich agricultural fields and popular tourist attractions such as the Aberdare National Park and Mount Kenya.
3. Kajiado: $1,466
Kajiado County is a county in the former Rift Valley Province of Kenya. It has a population of 687,312 . Amboseli National Park, formerly Maasai Amboseli Game Reserve, is one of the county’s top tourist attraction.
4. Nakuru: $ 1,413
Nakuru County is the fourth largest county in Kenya after Nairobi, Kakamega and Kiambu.
With a population of 1,603,325, Nakuru County is home to Lake Nakuru and Lake Naivasha some of the Rift Valley soda lakes. Lake Nakuru is best known for its thousands, sometimes millions of flamingoes nesting along the shores. The surface of the shallow lake is often hardly recognisable due to the continually shifting mass of pink. The number of flamingoes on the lake varies with water and food conditions and the best vantage point is from Baboon cliff. Also of interest, an area of 188 km around the lake fenced off as a sanctuary to protect Rothschild giraffe and black rhinos.
5. Kwale: $1,406
Kwale County is a county in the former Coast Province of Kenya. Its capital is Kwale, although Ukunda is the largest town. The county has a population of 649,931.
Kwale is mainly an inland county, but it has coastline south of Mombasa. Diani Beach is part of the Msambweni division. Shimba Hills National Reserve and Mwaluganje elephant sanctuary are other attractions in the county.
6. Laikipia: $1,226
Laikipia County is one of the 47 counties of Kenya, located on the Equator in the former Rift Valley Province of the country. The county has two major urban centres: Nanyuki to the southeast, and Nyahururu to the southwest. Its capital is Rumuruti.
Economic activity in the county consists mainly of tourism and agriculture, chiefly grain crops, ranching and greenhouse horticulture.
7. Muranga: $1,090
Murang’a County is one of the counties of Kenya’s former Central Province. Its largest town is Murang’a its capital, called Fort Hall in colonial times (before 1963). It is inhabited mainly by and is considered the home of the Kikuyu, the largest community in Kenya. The county has a population of 942,581 (2009 census). Many have travelled to Muranga to enjoy the lush foliage
8. Nairobi: $1,081
The capital and largest city of Kenya. It is famous for having the Nairobi National Park, the world’s only game reserve found within a major city.
With a population of 3.36 million in 2011, Nairobi is the second-largest city by population in the African Great Lakes region after Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. According to the 2009 census, in the administrative area of Nairobi, 3,138,295 inhabitants lived within 696 km2(269 sq mi). Nairobi is the 14th-largest city in Africa, including the population of its suburbs.
9. Mombasa: $935
It is the nation’s second-largest city, after the capital Nairobi, with an estimated population of about 1.2 million people in 2016. Its metropolitan region is the second largest in the country and has a population of approximately two million people.
A regional cultural and economic hub, Mombasa has an extra-large port and an international airport, and is an important regional tourism centre. Located on the east coast of Kenya, in Mombasa County and the former Coast Province, Mombasa’s situation on the Indian Ocean made it a historical trading centre, and it has been controlled by many countries because of its strategic location.
10. Machakos: $913
Machakos has a beautiful hilly scenery that is perfect for camping and hiking. This consists of tricky terrain that would challenge any camper. It is also the home town of some of the world’s most beautiful sculptures made in Wamunyu. Kaloleni near Ngelani, is famous for “water flowing against gravity”. It is located on Kituluni Hill, 12 east of Machakos town.