Vihiga County is an administrative region in the former Western Province of Kenya whose headquarters are in Mbale, the largest town in the county. The county has a population of 554,622(2009 census) and an area of 563 km2. Vihiga County was split from Kakamega County in 1990.In 2019’s census, Vihiga was found to have a population of 590, 013, an increase of 35, 391 from the 2009’s count.
The town is along the road between Kisumu and Kakamega, and only five kilometres north of the equator. Vihiga bears the same name as its county, Vihiga County. Vihiga municipality has a population of 118,696 (2009 census).
Vihiga municipality has six wards; two of them (Central Maragoli and Wamuluma) belong to Vihiga Constituency while the remaining four wards (Chavakali, Izawa, Lyaduywa and North Maragoli) are part of the Sabatia Constituency. In the 2002 general elections, all six civic seats were won by the National Rainbow Coalition.
Maragoli are the dominant ethnic group in the area and the town is also known as Maragoli. Tiriki, Idakho and Banyore are other ethnic groups in this locale. As a county, Vihiga has its administrative headquarters in Mbale township, located within the Vihiga municipality. Vihiga is also a name of one of its divisions. Other divisions include Sabatia, Hamisi, Lwanda and Emuhaya. The people living in Vihiga primarily identify themselves as “Maragoli” and speak a language called Maragoli. This language is quite distinct from other Luhya ethnic groups and was the first Luhya language that was used to translate the Bible. The majority of the Maragoli people were primarily converted into the Quaker denomination of Christians, which is practiced to this day.