Oromia Zone is one of the zones in the Amhara Region of Ethiopia. Oromia is named for the Oromo people, who settled along the edge of the Ethiopian highlands that form this Zone. Oromia Zone is bordered on the southwest by Semien Shewa, on the northwest by Debub (South) Wollo and Argobba special woreda, and on the east by the Afar Region. Kemise is the administrative center of the Zone; other towns include Bati.
The Oromia Zone was created in the late summer of 1994, according to one account in response to pressure from the Oromo Liberation Front, which was actively agitating for autonomy for Afaan Oromo-speaking populations during late 1991 and early 1992. Four woredas were taken from Debub Wollo—Bati, Dewe, Esseya Gulla and Artuma—and two woredas from Semien Shewa—Fursi and Senbete—and appointing Kemise to be the Zonal capital. The new zone was organized into five woredas by combining Artuma and Fursi into one, and renaming Esseya Gola to Chefa Gola. The numbers and areas of the constituent woredas have since changed.
Based on the 2007 Census conducted by the Central Statistical Agency of Ethiopia (CSA), this Zone has a total population of 457,278, a decrease of -1.23% from the 1994 census, of whom 227,328 are men and 229,950 women; with an area of 3,470.04 square kilometers, Oromia has a population density of 131.78. While 51,728 or 11.31% are urban inhabitants, a further 2,005 or 0.44% are pastoralists. A total of 101,442 households were counted in this Zone, which results in an average of 4.51 persons to a household, and 97,957 housing units. The two largest ethnic groups reported in Oromia Zone were the Oromo (86.07%), and the Amhara (12.54%); all other ethnic groups made up 1.39% of the population. Afaan Oromo was spoken as a first language by 82.13%, and 16.99% spoke Amharic; the remaining 0.88% spoke all other primary languages reported. 97.07% were Muslim, and 2.4% of the population said they practiced Ethiopian Orthodox Christianity.
The 1994 national census reported a total population for this Zone of 462,951 in 97,025 households, of whom 232,461 were men and 230,490 women; 39,666 or 8.57% of its population were urban dwellers at the time. The three largest ethnic groups reported in Oromia Zone were the Oromo (65.34%), the Amhara (31.79%), and the Argobba (2.29%); all other ethnic groups made up 0.58% of the population. Afaan Oromo was spoken as a first language by 65.08%, and 34.29% spoke Amharic; the remaining 0.63% spoke all other primary languages reported. 98.01% were Muslim, and 1.92% of the population said they practiced Ethiopian Orthodox Christianity.
According to a May 24, 2004 World Bank memorandum, 5% of the inhabitants of Oromia Zone have access to electricity, this zone has a road density of 23.9 kilometers per 1000 square kilometers (compared to the national average of 30 kilometers), the average rural household has 0.6 hectare of land (compared to the national average of 1.01 hectare of land and an average of 0.75 for the Amhara Region) and the equivalent of 0.5 heads of livestock. 10.9% of the population is in non-farm related jobs, compared to the national average of 25% and a regional average of 21%. 25% of all eligible children are enrolled in primary school, and 3% in secondary schools. 100% of the zone is exposed to malaria, and none to Tsetse fly. The memorandum gave this zone a drought risk rating of 565.
- Sarah Vaughan, "Ethnicity and Power in Ethiopia" (University of Edinburgh: Ph.D. Thesis, 2003), p. 240 n. 259
- "Field Trip to North Shewa, Oromo and South Welo Zones of Region 3 (Amhara) 31 August - 3 September 1994" UNDP Emergencies Unit for Ethiopia report, dated September 1994 (accessed 13 January 2009)
- Census 2007 Tables: Amhara Region, Tables 2.1, 2.4, 2.5, 3.1, 3.2 and 3.4.
- 1994 Population and Housing Census of Ethiopia: Results for Amhara Region, Vol. 1, part 1, Tables 2.1, 2.11, 2.14, 2.17 (accessed 6 April 2009)
- "Ethiopia - Second Road Sector Development Program Project", p.3 (World Bank Project Appraisal Document, published 19 May 2003)
- Comparative national and regional figures comes from the World Bank publication, Klaus Deininger et al. "Tenure Security and Land Related Investment", WP-2991 (accessed 23 March 2006).
- World Bank, Four Ethiopias: A Regional Characterization (accessed 23 March 2006)