The name Kitui means ‘a place where iron goods are made’. The Kamba iron-smiths who settled in the county many years before the colonial period are the ones who named the area Kitui.
According to the national census of 2009, Kitui County has a population of 1,147,200. There are more women (602,002) than men (545,195). The census recorded a population growth rate of 2.1 per cent, slightly below the national average of 2.6 per cent.