Country Listing

Ethiopia Table of Contents



Population: Mid-1992 population estimated at 54 million, with a 3 percent or higher annual growth rate. Urban population estimated at about 11 percent of total population.

Ethnic Groups and Languages: Distinguishable ethnolinguistic entities, some speaking the same language, estimated at more than 100; at least seventy languages spoken as mother tongues. Largest group is the Oromo, about 40 percent of total population. Roughly 30 percent of total population consists of the Amhara, whose native language--Amharic--is also spoken by additional 20 percent of population as second tongue. Amharic is Ethiopia's official language. The Tigray, speaking Tigrinya, constitute 12 to 15 percent of total population. Large number of smaller groups include Somali, Gurage, Awi, Afar, Welamo, Sidama, and Beja.

Religion: About 50 percent of population Ethiopian Orthodox; Orthodoxy identified mainly with Amhara and Tigray peoples but accepted by other groups as well. About 2 percent Protestant and Roman Catholic combined. Approximately 40 percent adherents of Islam. Remainder of population practiced various indigenous religions.

Education: In 1985/86 ( Ethiopian calendar year--see Glossary), 3.1 million children were enrolled in grades one through twelve. Nearly 2.5 million, or 42 percent, of primary school-age children enrolled in 7,900 primary schools (grades one through six); 363,000 students attended 964 junior secondary schools (grades seven and eight); more than 292,000, or 5.3 percent of secondary school-age children, enrolled in 245 secondary schools (grades nine through twelve). Vocational schools emphasized technical education; in 1985/86 more than 4,200 attended nine technical schools. Intense competition for admission to approximately twelve colleges and universities; more than 18,400 students in various institutions of higher education.

Literacy: Less than 10 percent during imperial regime; had increased to 63 percent by 1984, according to Ethiopian government. Revolutionary government undertook major national literacy campaign, which made significant gains, especially among women.

Health: Malaria and tuberculosis major endemic diseases; also health problems from parasitic and gastroenteritis infections, leprosy, venereal diseases, typhus, typhoid, trachoma, conjunctivitis, and childhood diseases. All complicated by insufficient health facilities, shortage of medical personnel, unsanitary practices, and nutritional deficiencies. Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) becoming a greater problem.

Life Expectancy: Fifty years for males and fifty-three for females in 1992.

Data as of 1991