Ethiopia  United States
Capital Addis Ababa  Washington, D.C
Population 85,237,338 (July 2010 estimate)
Note: Estimates for this country take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS.
307,212,123 (July 2010 estimate)
Languages Amarigna 32.7%, Oromigna 31.6%, Tigrigna 6.1%, Somaligna 6%, Guaragigna 3.5%, Sidamigna 3.5%, Hadiyigna 1.7%, other 14.8%, English (major foreign language taught in schools) (1994 census) English 82.1%, Spanish 10.7%, other Indo-European 3.8%, Asian and Pacific island 2.7%, other 0.7% (2000 census)
Religions Orthodox 43.5%, Muslim 33.9%, Protestant 18.6%, traditional 2.6%, Catholic 0.7%, other 0.7% (2007 Census) Christian 78.5% (Protestant 51.3%, Roman Catholic 23.9%, other Christian 3.3%), Jewish 1.7%, Buddhist 0.7%, Muslim 0.6%, other or unspecified 2.5%, unaffiliated 12.1%, none 4% (2007 est.)
Literacy rateDefinition: Age 15 and over can read and write.
Male: 50.3%Female: 35.1% (2003 estimate) Male: 99%Female: 99% (2003 estimate)
Percentage of population using improved drinking water sources Urban: 96%Rural: 31%
(2006 estimate)
Urban: 100%Rural: 94%
(2006 estimate)
Percentage of population using adequate sanitation facilities Urban: 27%Rural: 8%
(2006 estimate)
Urban: 100%Rural: 99%
(2006 estimate)
Climate Tropical monsoon with wide topographic-induced variation Mostly temperate, but tropical in Hawaii and Florida, arctic in Alaska, semiarid in the Great Plains west of the Mississippi River and arid in the Great Basin of the southwest; low winter temperatures in the northwest are warmed occasionally in January and February by Chinook winds from the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains.
Percentage of population urbanized 17%
(2008 estimate)
(2008 estimate)
Life expectancy Male: 52.92 yearsFemale: 57.97 years (2010 estimate) Male: 75.65 yearsFemale: 80.69 years (2010 estimate)
Under-5 mortality rate 109/1,000
(2008 estimate)
(2008 estimate)
GDP per capita $900 (2009 estimate) $46,000 (2009 estimate)
Monetary unit birr (ETB) U.S. dollar (USD)
Number of people living with HIV/AIDS 980,000 (2007 estimate) 1.2 million (2007 estimate)
Percentage of population living below
$1.25 a day
39% (1992-2007) Data not available
Sources for facts: The World Factbook, 2010; The State of the World’s Children, 2009



Ethiopia is a country beset by years of war, severe drought, and epidemics, and crippled economically and socially. One of the oldest countries in the world, Ethiopia is Africa’s second most populous nation.

• One in ten children die before their first birthday.
• One in six children die before their fifth birthday.

• 60 percent of children in Ethiopia are stunted because of malnutrition.
• 1.5 million people in Ethiopia are infected with HIV (sixth highest country in the world).
• 720,000 children have been orphaned by AIDS alone, and there are 5 million orphans
• Half the children in Ethiopia will never attend school. 88 percent will never attend secondary school.
• Ethiopia’s doctor to children ratio is 1 to 24,000.


Religion is a secure and accepted element of everyday life in Ethiopia; even the language is full of references to God.

On the central plateau, the Ethiopian Orthodox church dominates. Priests and deacons abound in their often colorful robes, carrying their staffs and ornate crosses that people frequently kiss as they pass. Christianity came to Ethiopia in ancient times and became the official Ethiopian religion in the fourth century. The Orthodox Church has many connections with ancient Judaism.

Islam is also very strong in many parts of Ethiopia, frequently existing peaceably alongside Christianity. The city of Harar, in the east of the country, is officially the fourth most holy Muslim site in the world. In the lowland areas, animistic and pagan religions are still commonly found among tribal peoples who live in simple communities.

The constitution provides for freedom of religion and the government generally respects this right in practice; however, on occasion government authorities infringe on this right. The government officially recognizes both Christian and Muslim holy days and continues to mandate a two-hour lunch break on Fridays to allow Muslims to go to a mosque to pray.

Source: U.S. Department of State, International Religious Freedom Report 2004, released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor

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