Population Size and Composition
The 2012 population of Busia was estimated to be 816,452 with females numbering 425,622 (53.13%) and the males 390,830 (47.87%) respectively. By the year 2017, the population is estimated to have grown to a total of 953,337(456,356 males and 496,981 females). Out of the estimated total population in 2012, a total of 144,616 (17.71%) people were below the age of five years while in 2017 the number is expected to be 168, 862.
Population Density and Distribution
The settlement pattern of the people in Busia County ranges from evenly distributed in Matayos Sub-county to sparsely distributed in both Teso South and Teso North Sub-counties. Fairly high concentration of people is found in the main urban areas of Busia, Port Victoria, Bumala, Nambale, Malaba and Funyula. However, the hilly areas in Funyula and Budalang’i Sub-counties and the wetland areas especially in the southern part of Budalang’i have low concentration of people.
Human Development Approach
The human development paradigm takes people as the primary actors in improving their own welfare through economic, social and political empowerment. The basic objective of development is to create an enabling environment in which people can enjoy long, healthy and creative lives. People are the real wealth of nations and counties. Article 27 of the Constitution of Kenya (2010) stipulates that measures should be put in place to encourage affirmative action programmes, plans and policies to address past inequalities. Economic and social rights to all are also recognized in Article 43. Whereas the significance of GDP growth and economic stability should not be understated, the ultimate yardstick for measuring progress is people’s quality of life. This quality is measured using the Human Development Index (HDI).The HDI provides a composite measure of three dimensions of human development: living a long and healthy life (measured by life expectancy), being educated (measured by adult literacy and enrolment at the primary, secondary and tertiary level) and having a decent standard of living (measured by purchasing power parity, PPP, income).The Kenya Human Development Report (2009) introduced a new measure for youth development in Kenya, the Youth Development Index (YDI). The index was at 0.5817 nationally but also depicted variations across the regions. The index is a composite of education, income and survivorship (health) dimensions. The YDI average for Western region was 0.5351. For Busia County, the critical Human Development Indicators are: life expectancy, infant mortality, adult literacy, school enrolment, retention, performance, and transition in primary, secondary and tertiary levels, gender parity and GDP per capita.
The County’s life expectancy is 47 years compared to national average of 56 years. The infant mortality in the county is estimated at 65/1000 against a national average of 74/1000. The County literacy level stands at 75.3 per cent of population aged 15 years and above who can read and write as compared to national figure of 79 per cent. The primary school Gross Enrolment Rate (GER) was 81 per cent of all the children aged between 6 and 13 years in 2012. Total enrolment in secondary school was 20 per cent of the secondary school going age of between 14-17 years. The low enrolment rates can be attributed to poverty, inadequate physical infrastructure and poor retention, poor performance at primary levels, and low transition rates from primary to secondary. Regarding gender equity and equality, the County, like the rest of Western Kenya experiences gender-based disadvantage in three dimensions—reproductive health, empowerment and the labour market. The Kenya Human Development Report (2009) indicates that the country’s overall Gender Inequality Index (GII) is 0.651. The GII index for Western region stands at 0.457. This is however, not equal everywhere as there are County and Sub-County disparities within the region. Improving equity in gender issues and reducing gender disparities will benefit all sectors and thus contribute to sustainable economic growth, poverty reduction and social injustices. Busia County poverty level is at 64.2 per cent compared to national poverty level of 45.9 per cent. This poverty level is very high by any standards and requires concerted efforts by all stakeholders in the County to address this menace.
To address the identified education and literacy challenges, there is need to mobilize additional resources to finance infrastructural facilities in the learning institutions in the county. Similarly, bursary funds should be set aside to cater for the bright and needy students so as to achieve the universal education as envisioned in the Kenya Vision 2030 and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The HIV and AIDs prevalence rate in the County was estimated at 7.4 per cent (KDHS 2009) in 2012 against a national average of 6.4 per cent. This affects virtually all the aspects of the Human Development Index (HDI). The County therefore needs to integrate its plans and programmes with development stakeholders including the National Government, Civil society, national and international development partners as well as private sector to ensure sustainable improvement of the County’s HDI.
Infrastructure and Access
Infrastructure relates to networks of communication such as roads, railways, ports, airstrips, mobile telephony, post offices and courier services. It also includes, water and sewerage systems, drainage systems, energy, strategic installations such as disaster response units, tools and equipment.