Ethiopia - Demographics

Demographics

Main article: Demographics of Ethiopia See also: People of Ethiopia
Population in Ethiopia
Year Million
1971 31.7
1980 37.9
1990 51.5
2000 65.5
2004 72.7
2008 80.7
2012 84.3

Ethiopia's population has grown from 33.5 million in 1983 to 84.32 million in 2012. The population was only about 9 million in the 19th century. The 2007 Population and Housing Census results show that the population of Ethiopia grew at an average annual rate of 2.6% between 1994 and 2007, down from 2.8% during the period 1983–1994. Currently, the population growth rate is among the top ten countries in the world. The population is forecast to grow to over 210 million by 2060, which would be an increase from 2011 estimates by a factor of about 2.5.

The country's population is highly diverse, containing over 80 different ethnic groups. Most people in Ethiopia speak Afro-Asiatic languages, mainly of the Semitic or Cushitic branches. The former include Amharic, spoken by the Amhara people; and Tigrinya, spoken by the Tigray-Tigrinya people. The latter include Oromo, spoken by the Oromo people; and Somali, spoken by the Somali people. Those four peoples make up about three-quarters of the population in Ethiopia.

Ethiopians and Eritreans, especially Semitic-speaking ones, collectively refer to themselves as Habesha or Abesha, though others reject these names on the basis that they refer only to certain ethnicities. The Arabic form of this term (Al-Habasha) is the etymological basis of "Abyssinia," the former name of Ethiopia in English and other European languages.

Nilo-Saharan-speaking Nilotic ethnic minorities also inhabit the southern regions of the country, particularly in areas bordering South Sudan. Among these are the Mursi and Anuak.

According to the Ethiopian national census of 2007, the Oromo are the largest ethnic group in Ethiopia, at 34.49% of the nation's population. The Amhara represent 26.89% of the country's inhabitants, while the Somali and Tigray represent 6.20% and 6.07% of the population, respectively. Other prominent ethnic groups are as follows: Sidama 4.01%, Gurage 2.53%, Wolayta 2.31%, Afar 1.73%, Hadiya 1.74%, Gamo 1.50%, Kefficho 1.18% and others 11%.

In 2009, Ethiopia hosted a population of refugees and asylum seekers numbering approximately 135,200. The majority of this population came from Somalia (approximately 64,300 persons), Eritrea (41,700) and Sudan (25,900). The Ethiopian government required nearly all refugees to live in refugee camps.

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