Kisumu County covers an area of 2, 085. Sq Km and a population of 968,909 (according to the 2009 National Census). It receives annual relief rainfall between 1200 mm and 1300 mm and a mean annual temperature of 23. 0C and ranges between 20 degrees and 35 degrees. The county has 5 Local Authorities (Municipal Council of Kisumu, County Council of Kisumu, County Council of Nyando, County Council of Muhoroni and Town Council of Ahero) Kisumu Town is the administrative capital.
Kisumu shares a border with Siaya County to the West Vihiga County to the North, Nandi County to the North East and Kericho County to the East. Its neighbour to the South is Nyamira County and Homa Bay County is to the South West. The county has a shoreline on Lake Victoria, occupying northern, western and a part of the southern shores of the Winam Gulf.
Kisumu County constitutes 9 sub-counties namely, Nyakach,Nyando, Muhoroni, Kisumu East,Kisumu Central, Kisumu west and Seme constituencies
Kisumu was identified by the British explorers in early 1898 as an alternative railway terminus and port for the Uganda railway, then under construction. It was to replace Port Victoria, the then an important centre on the caravan trade route, near the mouth of Nzoia River. Kisumu was ideally located on the shores of Lake Victoria at the cusp of the Winam Gulf, at the end of the caravan trail from Pemba, Mombasa , Malindi and had the potential for connection to the whole of the Lake region by steamers. In July 1899, the first skeleton plan for Kisumu was prepared. This included landing places and wharves along the northern lake shore, near the present day Airport Road . Demarcations for Government buildings and retail shops were also included in the plan.
Another plan was later prepared in May, 1900, when plots were allocated to a few European firms as well as to Indian traders who had travelled to Kisumu on contracts to build the Uganda Railway and had decided to settle at the expanding terminus. The plan included a flying boat jetty (now used by the Fisheries Department). In October 1900, the 62-ton ship Sir William Mackinnon,1st Baronet, built and registered in Kisumu, made its maiden voyage to Entebbe , marking the beginning of the Lake Marine Services. The Winfred and the Sybil were later added to the fleet in 1902 and 1904, respectively. On Friday, December 20th 1901, the railway line reached the Kisumu pier, with the centre adopting a new name, Port Florence.
By February 1902, the railway line had been opened for goods and passenger transportation. Kisumu was also privileged to host the first flight in East and Central Africa; the current police workshop was the first hangar in Kenya and entire East Africa. Before the jet airline era, the city was a landing point on the British flying boat passenger and mail route from Southampton to Cape Town. Kisumu also linked Port Bell to Nairobi.
In the meantime, it was realised that the site originally chosen for the township north of the Nyanza Gulf was unsuitable for the town's expansion, due to its flat topography and poor soils. An alternative site was therefore identified and the town's location moved to the ridge on the southern shore of the Gulf, where the town sits today. Consequently, another plan was prepared in 1902, which provided the basic layout of the new town on the southern ridge. This was followed by the construction of a number of Government buildings, notably the former Provincial Commissioner''s Office (now State Lodge) and the Old Prison (now earmarked for the construction of an Anglican Cathedral).
In 1903, the township boundaries were gazetted and some 12,000 acres, including water, set aside for its development. The new township reverted to its original name, Kisumu, in substitution of Port Florence. At this time, there was an ‘Old Kisumu', that consisted of two rows of Stalls (Dukas) on Mumias Road, north of the Gulf. It was later demolished in the twenties when new plots became available on Odera and Ogada Streets in the present day Kisumu, hence the new area acquired the name ‘New Bazaar''.
Currently, Kisumu is one of the fastest growing cities in Kenya. It is thriving with rich sugar and rice irrigation industries who’s contribution to the National economy is immense due to its natural resources and as the epicenter for business in the East Africa.
Kisumu County is most known for its association with Lake Victoria the largest lake in Africa.The lake contributes a very large part to the economy of the county since it supports the fishing and fish processing industry the county’s main economic activity. Opportunities exist in further developing this sector for local and export markets.
Agriculture is also a common economic activity with Sugar and rice irrigation industries employing a a good number of its residents There are opportunities for further investment in this sector.
With attractions such as the Kisumu Museum, the Impala sanctuary, the Hippo Point, Kit Mikaye rock formation and others, Kisumu is a popular tourist destination.