There are between 45 and 86 languages spoken in Ethiopia. Amharic is the government’s official language and a widely used lingua franca, but as of 2007, only 29% of the population reported speaking Amharic as their main language. Oromo is spoken by over a third of the population as their main language and is the most widely spoken primary language in Ethiopia. Speakers of certain languages are concentrated in specific regions. Tigrinya is the primary language for over 95% of the population in Tigray, and Afar is the primary language for over 89% of the population of the Afar region.

Other sources of language data

Language data allows humanitarian organizations to better understand the languages people speak and understand, leading to better programming and accountability. These datasets and maps were primarily supported by the H2H Fund, a funding mechanism for H2H Network members. The fund is a rapid funding vehicle for network members responding to humanitarian crises.

Learn more about the project on our blog.

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Maps and resources:

Ethiopia Language Map: Static (EN)

Static map of the most common primary languages spoken in Ethiopia by zone. Data is from the 2007 census.

Languages of Ethiopia: Interactive (EN)

Interactive map showing the primary languages spoken by zone in Ethiopia. Data is from the 2007 Census.