Oromia (sometimes spelled Oromiya, and spelled Oromiyaa in the Oromo language) is one of the nine ethnically-based regional states (kililoch) of Ethiopia. Covering 284,538 square kilometers stretching from the western border in an arc to the southwestern corner of the country, the 2007 census reported its population at over 27 million, making it the largest state in terms of both population and area. It includes the former Arsi Province along with portions of the former Bale, Hararghe, Illubabor, Kaffa, Shewa, Sidamo, and Welega provinces. Its current capital is Addis Ababa (Oromo: Finfinne); other important cities and towns include Adama, Ambo, Asella, Bishoftu, Dembidolo, Fiche, Gimbi, Goba, Jimma, Metu, Negele Boran, Nekemte, Shashamane and Waliso.
Prior to 2000, the regional capital of Oromia was Addis Ababa, also known as "Finfinne" (the original name in the Oromo language). The relocation of the regional capital to Adama sparked considerable controversy. Critics of the move believed the Ethiopian government wished to de-emphasize Addis Ababa's location within Oromia. On the other hand, the government maintained that Addis Ababa "has been found inconvenient from the point of view of developing the language, culture and history of the Oromo people."
On June 10, 2005, the Oromo People's Democratic Organization, part of the ruling coalition, officially announced plans to move the state capital back to Finfinne.
Oromia shares a boundary with every Region of Ethiopia except for the Tigray Region. This boundary has been disputed with Oromia's neighbors in a number of cases, most notably between Oromia and the Somali Region. One attempt to resolve the dispute between the two Regions was the October, 2004 referendum held in about 420 kebeles in 12 woredas across five zones of the Somali Region. According to the official results of the referendum, about 80% of the disputed areas have fallen under Oromia administration, though there were numerous allegations of voting irregularities in many of them. The results led over the following weeks to minorities in these kebeles being pressured to leave. In Oromya, estimates based on figures given by local woreda and kebele authorities suggest that a total of 21,520 people have been displaced in different border woredas, namely Mieso, Doba, and Erer in the Mirab and Misraq Hararghe Zones. On the other hand, Federal authorities believe that this number may be overstated by as much as 11,000. In Doba, the Ministry of Federal Affairs put the number of IDPs at 6,000. There are also more than 2,500 displaced persons in Mieso. In addition, there were reports of people being displaced in the border area of Moyale and Borena zones due to this conflict.
Based on the 2007 Census conducted by the Central Statistical Agency of Ethiopia (CSA), Oromia has a total population of 27,158,471, consisting of 13,676,159 men and 13,482,312 women; urban inhabitants number 3,370,040 or 11.3% of the population. With an estimated area of 353,006.81 square kilometers, this region has an estimated population density of 76.93 people per square kilometer. For the entire region 5,590,530 households were counted, which results in an average for the Region of 4.8 persons to a household, with urban households having on average 3.8 and rural households 5.0 people.
In the previous census, conducted in 1994, the region's population was reported to be 18,732,525, of whom 9,371,228 were men and 9,361,297 women; urban inhabitants number 621,210 or 14% of the population.
According to the CSA, as of 2004, 32% of the total population had access to safe drinking water, of whom 23.7% were rural inhabitants and 91.03% were urban. Values for other reported common indicators of the standard of living for Oromia as of 2005 include the following: 19.9% of the inhabitants fall into the lowest wealth quintile; adult literacy for men is 61.5% and for women 29.5%; and the Regional infant mortality rate is 76 infant deaths per 1,000 live births, which is about the same as the nationwide average of 77; at least half of these deaths occurred in the infants’ first month of life.
Figures of full ethnic background are disputed, since many ethnically mixed Ethiopians are difficult to categorize. Particularly, Shewa Oromos and urban Oromos are known to have assimilated with ethnic Amhara and others, while southwestern Oromos have mixed with the Sidama and other ethnicities. The census and the general system of governance has remained controversial and related to the politics of the country. For instance, mixed Ethiopians with an Oromo father and Amhara mother are registered into the census using only their father's ethnic label. Similarly, Ethiopians with an Amhara father (or from another ethnic background) and Oromo mother are registered using only their father's ethnic label, and hence counted as non-Oromo.
Religion in entire region:
Religion in urban areas:
Oromo (Oromiffa), presently written with Latin characters, is the most commonly spoken language, constituting 83.5% of the spoken language. Other major languages are Amharic (11%) (especially in eastern Welega and northern Shewa), Gurage languages (Sebat Bet Gurage, Soddo, Silt'e), Hadiya, Gedeo (0.98%), especially in western and eastern Shewa; and Tigrigna (0.25%). Omotic languages are spoken by significant minorities in Jimma, Illubabor and western Welega; and some Nilo-Saharan languages (including Komo, Majang, Gumuz, and Berta) are spoken in communities scattered in the west.
The CSA reported that for 2004-2005 115,083 tons of coffee were produced in Oromia, based on inspection records from the Ethiopian Coffee and Tea Authority. This represents 50.7% of the total production in Ethiopia. Farmers in the Region had an estimated total of 17,214,540 cattle (representing 44.4% of Ethiopia's total cattle), 6,905,370 sheep (39.6), 4,849,060 goats (37.4%), 959,710 horses (63.25%), 63,460 mules (43.1%), 278,440 asses (11.1%), 139,830 camels (30.6%), 11,637,070 poultry of all species (37.7%), and 2,513,790 beehives (57.73%).
According to a March 2003 World Bank publication, the average rural household has 1.14 hectares of land compared to the national average of 1.01 hectares, 24% of the population is in non-farm related jobs compared to the national average of 25%.
Presidents of the Executive Committee
Hassen Ali (1992? - 1995) Kuma Demeksa (OPDO) (1995 - 24 July 2001) Junedin Sado (28 October 2001 - 6 October 2005) Abadula Gemeda OPDO (6 October 2005 - September 2010) Alemayehu Atomsa OPDO (September 2010 – present)
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