Kenya is a multi-ethnic state in the southern Great Lakes region of East Africa. It is primarily inhabited by Bantu and Nilotic populations, with some Cushitic ethnic minorities in the north. Its total population is estimated at 41 million inhabitants as of 2011.
A national census was conducted in 1999, but its final results were never released. A new census was undertaken in 2009, but it turned out to be controversial, as the questions about ethnic affiliation seemed inappropriate after the ethnic violence of the previous year. Preliminary results of the census were published in 2010.
Kenyan population was reported as 38.6 million in 2009, compared to in 28.7 million in 1999, 21.4 million in 1989 and 15.3 million 1979, an increase by a factor of 2.5 over 30 years, or an average growth of more than 3% per year. The population growth rate has been reported as somewhat reduced during the 2000s and is now estimated at 2.7% (as of 2010), resulting in an estimate of a total population 41 million in 2011.
The Turkana are a Nilotic people native to the Turkana District in northwest Kenya, a semi-arid climate region bordering Lake Turkana in the east, Pokot, Rendille and Samburu to the south, Uganda to the west, and Sudan and Ethiopia to the north. They refer to their land as Turkan.
According to the 2009 Kenyan census, Turkana number 855,399, or 2.5% of the Kenyan population, making Turkana the third largest Nilotic ethnic group in Kenya, after the Kalenjin and the Luo, slightly more numerous than the Maasai, and the tenth largest ethnicity in all of Kenya. Although this figure was initially controversial and rejected as too large by Planning Minister Wycliffe Oparanya, a court ruling (Feb 7, 2012) by Justice Mohammed Warsame stated that the Kenyan government accepts the 2009 census figures for Turkana.
The language of the Turkana, an Eastern Nilotic language, is also called Turkana; their own name for it is ŋaTurkana or aŋajep a ŋaTurkana.
The Turkana people call themselves ŋiTurkana (The Turkana). The name means the people of Turkan. They are mainly semi-nomadic pastoralists.
The Turkana are noted for raising camels and weaving baskets. In their oral traditions they designate themselves the people of the grey bull, after the Zebu, the domestication of which played an important role in their history. In recent years, development aid programs have aimed at introducing fishing among the Turkana (a taboo in some sections of The Turkana society) with very limited success.