Ethiopia population is extremely diverse. With a total population of over 76 million, the country is home to more than 80 different ethnic groups. The three most important ethnic groups that make up nearly 70% of the population include Oromo, Amhara, and Tigray. The rest of the population comprises a number of ethnic groups, most of which are different from each other. Some of the ethnic groups in the country are very small in number – just about 10,000 people in a group.
The two most important religions followed by the people in Ethiopia include Christianity and Islam. According to latest statistics, more than 60% of the Ethiopia population is Christian, making Christianity the most dominant and the most followed religion in the country. Nearly 33% of the population is Moslem, making Islam the second biggest religion in the country. The people who follow the traditional African religion constitute around 6% of the population. Ethiopia was once home to a very small Jewish minority, but most of the Jews have migrated to Israel over the years.
While the Christians in the country mostly live in the highlands, the lowlands are occupied mostly by the Moslems. Apart from this, the followers of animist religions are found in the southernmost regions of the country.
The languages spoken by the Ethiopia population include Amharic, Oromigna, Tigrinya, Somali, Guragigna, Sidamo, and a number of other local languages. Apart from these languages, Arabic and English are the major foreign languages taught in schools all over the country. The Italian minority in the country speak Italian as well.
As far as the numbers are concerned – around 33% of the population speaks Amharic, 32% of the population speaks Oromigna, and 7% of the population speaks Tigrinya. Since English is taught as the major foreign language in most schools, tourists from English speaking countries find it easier to converse with the educated locals here in the country.
Interestingly, the Semitic speaking Ethiopians and Eritreans in the country, irrespective of the religions they follow, collectively call themselves ‘Habesha’ or ‘Abesha’. The Arabic form of the term ‘Habesha’ is ‘Al-Habasha’, which is the etymological basis of the term ‘Abyssinia’ – the former name of Ethiopia in English and a number of other major European languages.
Ethiopia population has a growth rate of around 3.2%. Among the 76 million Ethiopians, nearly 43% are literate. The literacy rate is around 50% in males and 35% in females. Apart from the native population, Ethiopia is also home to a number of refugees from Somalia, Sudan, and Eritrea.