The history of organized statistical activities in Kenya goes back to the 1920’s. The Colonial Government appointed its first Official Statistician in 1925. In 1926, the statistician was assigned to work for the Conference of Governors of the three East African territories of Kenya, Uganda and Tanganyika and this foreshadowed the creation of the East African Statistical Department (EASD). The EASD was formally established in 1948. The EASD collected, processed and published statistical data for the three territories. The department published, on a regular basis, the East African Economic and Statistical Bulletin. In 1948 the first population census in Kenya was undertaken but the results were published in 1952.
CBS expanded its operations in the 1960’s and 1970’s both at the headquarters in Nairobi and at the field level. During this period, it undertook a wide range of data collection activities and kept a healthy publication programme. This impetus continued up to the mid 1980’s when CBS greatly expanded its field survey programme to respond to the need for district-level statistical data following the adoption of the District Focus for Rural Development (DFRD) strategy in 1983. However, a deteriorating trend set in mid 1980’s and continued into the 1990’s. This period was characterized by low level data collection efforts, minimal processing and analysis of collected data and discontinuation of issuance of publications which, in the past, used to be regular features of CBS activities. The factors responsible for the downward trend include inadequate budgetary allocation as a result of reduction in government expenditure and inadequate number of professional staff particularly at senior levels.