Butere is linked by road to Mumias (in north) and Kisumu (SE). A branch railway line from Kisumu ends at Butere. Passenger service on the branch line was resumed in January 2007 after lengthy suspension.
The name Butere comes from one of the main clans in the division the Abatere subclan who reside in areas such as Muyundi, Masaba and around the township. Abatere were the inhabitants of Butere before the whites made the town its administration station.
Butere's: Economic Mainstay is subsistence maize production though the division is an important supplier of raw sugar cane to Mumias sugar company. Residents of this division are also small scale cattle and bee keepers as well as fish keepers.
The people of Butere have traditionally been small scale farmers planting soghum, millet and vegetables which they traded with their neighbours from south Nyanza with fish from Lake Victoria.
The introduction of maize saw a change of stable food from ugali made from soghum to maize meal.
The district is inhabited predominantly by the Marama (Abamukhula) Sub-tribe of the larger Luhya tribe with a significant element of Luo immigrants from the neighbouring Siaya District. Other subtribes in butere include Abatere, Abashirotsa Abashisa, Aberecheya and Abachenya. The Marama's most popular dance is the lipala dance and eshiremba (a funeral ceremony dance performed by abashibanga clan) which seems to be vanishing with modernity. The marama have been very close to the Wanga and the wanga king Nabongo Mumia was a son to a marama woman
Former Kenyan vice president Moody Awori was born in Butere. Other notable figures who hail from Butere include politician Martin Shikuku, Prof. George Eshiwani, Prof. Oniang'o, Communications expert and video producer Abwao Peter, musician Sukuma bin Ongaro, Prof Ruth Oniango, former nominated MP, Arch. Mohammed Munyanya former chairman Architectural Association of Kenya and Mr linani Omucheni who is a senior technologist at the university of Nairobi.
Also from Butere are Khainga Fanuel Okwaro, a Public Health Officer,Mutakha Kangu, a Lawyer and lecturer, Moi University, William Odera Musando, a young Accountant in USA, Achero Mzalendo Mufuayia, a young lawyer, David Bwakali, a writer and environmentalist, Patrick Sakwa,an aviation safety expert,currently working with Kenya Airways having worked for Kenya Civil Aviation Authority before, Peter Nehondo also former Manager Wilson Airport Authority, Absalom Omusula, currently a senior manager at Mumias sugar company, Ashiembi John Omurumba,a Clinician in the Ministry of Medical Services and Fredrick Omukubi Otswong'o, a patent examiner and renowned scientist/scholar in Butere-Shatieta Village,Owade Director at the ministry of Higher education and Renowned Tutor Richard Shikanda the region Drama Festivals Chairman.
The politics of Butere have been dominated by clan rivalries. Martin Shikuku the area MP since independence represented the constituency with short breaks until he was ousted by Jesse Eshikhati Opembe in 1988 who served briefly until his death. Then former University of Nairobi Lecturer, Dr. Amukowa Anangwe in the 1997 general elections. Anangwe was however in 2002 ousted by flamboyant Wycliffe Oparanya whose popularity was boosted by his youth soccer programme in the division.
The 2007 elections were won by Wyclif Oparanya as the constituency seemed to abandon Musikari Kombo's Ford Kenya in favour of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) now led by Prime Minister and Langata MP Raila Odinga. This was evidenced by an apparent rush by most politicians to troop to the party among them former Minister Dr. Amukowa Anangwe, and Arch. Mohammed Munyanya. The March 2013 elections will see clan rivalries emerge again.
The formation of United Democratic Forum Party (UDFP) arising from the systematic breakaway of the Pentagon in a rival party wil have a major impact in the forthcoming elections on 4 March 2013. At recent by elections, UDF managed to show its national strength by emerging second in Kangema Constituency.
In Bukura civic ward in Butere, the hitherto dominance of coalition partner ODM was shown to have given in to emerging UDF forces as UDF gannerd close to hald the votes showing a similar drop in the incumbent coalition partner.
Butere electorate comprises highly educated individuals and have vowed to consider the individuals performance and character. The usual political wave appears to be blowing in favour of the new UDF party whose Presidential candidate is the Deputy Prime Minister Hon. Wycliffe Musalia Mudavadi. He was recently received by a huge crowd at Sabatia trading Centre which shares a name with his Constituency.
The division is predominantly Anglican though other denominations claim a significant percentage of followers. The outgoing Bishop of Butere ACK diocese, Horace Etemesi successfully used the ACK influence to plant Dr. Anangwe as area MP in 1997 over Martin Shikuku a catholic but his influence was insignificant in the wake of the 2002 NARC wave.
The district has one National and one Provincial secondary school(s):- Butere Girls' High School, which is the National school, and Butere Boys' High School, which is the Provincial school. The district also has numerous day secondary schools with Lunza Secondary School being the largest in terms of student population and perennial good performance. Others are Bukolwe,Shiatsala,Shikunga and Bumamu Secondary School.
The introduction of the Constituency Development Fund saw Buchenya Girls' School being chosen as a centre of academic excellence due to its central location. Mabole Boys has also been recently established.
There are several primary schools in the district with Butere Primary School and Buchenya Primary being more famous.