Katakwi District was created in 1997. It was formerly part of Soroti District. The district is located in the Teso sub-region, home to an estimated 2.5 million people of Iteso and Kumam ethnicities, according to the 2002 national census. In June 2005, the western part of the district was carved out to create Amuria District. The eight Ugandan districts that constitute Teso sub-region are:
In 1991, the population of Katakwi District was estimated at about 75,200. The national census in 2002 estimated the population of the district at 118,900. The calculated population growth rate in the district is 4.3%. In 2012, the district population was estimated at approximately 176,800. The table below illustrates the population growth in the district between 2002 and 2012. All figures are estimates.
Subsistence agriculture and pastoral animal husbandry are the two main economic activities in Katakwi District. In recent years, attempts to start commercial agriculture have been initiated. Crops grown include the following: