The Largest Ethnic Groups In Ethiopia

Ethiopia Groups
Ethiopia Groups

Ethiopia is a Sub-Saharan country found in the Horn of Africa. According to a 2013 World Bank report, Ethiopia had a population of roughly 94.1 million people. The Country enjoys diverse cultures such as world-famous cuisines, woven cotton costume (Gabbi), the Rastafarian movement, and the Ethiopian Orthodox church.

These can be attributed to numerous ethnic groups in the Country. For example, Oromo is the largest ethnic group in Ethiopia.

The Largest Ethnic Groups In Ethiopia



The Oromo people mainly occupy Oromia, the central region of Ethiopia, and the number 40,000,000 people. It is believed that Oromia is their original homeland, and they speak the Oromo language. They practice subsistence farming and lead a nomadic pastoralist life. Oromos have a calendar that is based on astronomical observations.

The Oromos’ system of governance, famously known as Garda- is based on age-grades, with older generations ranking higher in the system. This is because they view ageing as an advancement in wisdom. Elders are consulted in times of disputes and at weddings.


The Amhara are among the second largest ethnic group in Ethiopia, and they speak Amharic, the official language of the Republic of Ethiopia. Their population is approximately 32,000,000 people. It is believed they are descendants of Shem, the eldest son of Noah in the biblical story. Amharas use proverbs, myths, and parables to teach moral lessons to their children. They are known for their spicy cuisines, consisting of chilli peppers, garlic, ginger, basil, and fenugreek.

Amharas are ranked among the highest coffee consumers. An exciting aspect of the Amharas is that they do not wear shoes. This is because they have a patriarchal system of governance where the males have authority over the females in the community.


Tigrayans constitute approximately 6.1% of the Ethiopian population, and their numbers total approximately 6,047,522 people in the Country. Most Tigrayans live in the northern region of Ethiopia. They use folktales, riddles, and poetry for entertainment. The naming ceremony is an essential rite of passage for the Tigyayans as it marks a child’s membership into the community. Therefore, a child who dies before the naming ceremony is not granted a funeral.


Somalis rank closely with the Tigrayans at 6.1% of the Ethiopian population, and their numbers are approximately 6,186,774 people. They are spread across Ethiopia, Djibouti, Kenya, and Somalia. Somalis are divided into social units known as clans. These clans are a core part of their culture. Islam is the predominant religion among Somalis.

Therefore, they borrow a lot of their social norms from Islam. For example, men and women do not touch while greeting each other. In Somali culture, the right hand is seen as the clean and polite hand. Left-handedness is a taboo among these ethnic groups.


The Largest Ethnic Groups In Ethiopia

RankEthnic GroupsPopulation
1Oromo 40,000,000