Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples' Region

Coordinates: 6°30′N 37°06′E / 6.5°N 37.1°E / 6.5; 37.1
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Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples' Region
የደቡብ ብሔር ብሔረሰቦችና ሕዝቦች ክልል
Flag of Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples' Region
Official seal of Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples' Region
Map of Ethiopia showing Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People's Region (1992 to 2020 boundaries)
Map of Ethiopia showing Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People's Region (1992 to 2020 boundaries)
Coordinates: 6°30′N 37°06′E / 6.5°N 37.1°E / 6.5; 37.1
Country Ethiopia
Administrative headquartersHawassa
ISO 3166 codeET-SN

The Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples' Region (often abbreviated as SNNPR; Amharic: የደቡብ ብሔር ብሔረሰቦችና ሕዝቦች ክልል, romanizedYädäbub Bḥer Bḥeräsäbočna Hzboč Kllə) was a regional state in southwestern Ethiopia. It was formed from the merger of five kililoch, called Regions 7 to 11, following the regional council elections on 21 June 1992.[1] Its government was based in Hawassa.

The SNNPR bordered Kenya to the south (including a small part of Lake Turkana), the Ilemi Triangle (a region claimed by Kenya and South Sudan) to the southwest, the South West Ethiopia Region to the west, the Oromia Region to the north and east, and the Sidama Region to the east. The region's major cities and towns included Arba Minch, Sodo, Jinka, Dila, Boditi, Areka, Butajira, Welkite, Bonga, Hosaena and Worabe.

The regional government of the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples' Region was based in the city of Hawassa. Following the formation of the Sidama Region in June 2020, Hawassa is located outside of the boundaries of the region. The regional government is planning to move to a city within the region's boundaries after two consecutive national electoral cycles.[2] The largest cities in the region are Sodo with the population of 194,977 and Arba Minch with the population of 151,013.[3]

On 19 August 2023 the South Ethiopia Regional State was created following the 2023 South Ethiopia Region referendum with remainder of the SNNPR becoming the Central Ethiopia Regional State, thus dissolving the SNNPR.


Kambaata family in front of their tukul in the Kembata Tembaro Zone

Based on the 2007 Census conducted by the Central Statistical Agency of Ethiopia (CSA), the SNNPR regional state had an estimated total population of 14,929,548, of whom 7,425,918 were men and 7,503,630 women. 13,433,991 or 89.98% of the population are estimated to be rural inhabitants, while 1,495,557 or 10.02% are urban; this makes the SNNPR Ethiopia's most rural region. With an estimated area of 105,887.18 square kilometers, this region has an estimated density of 141 people per square kilometer. For the entire region 3,110,995 households were counted, which results in an average for the region of 4.8 persons to a household, with urban households having on average 3.9 and rural households 4.9 people.[4] The projected population for 2017 was 19,170,007.[5]

In the previous census, conducted in 1994, the region's population was reported to be 10,377,028 of whom 5,161,787 were men and 5,215,241 were women. At the time of the census, the rural population of the Region accounted for 93.2% of the total population. Semien Omo, Wolayita, and Gurage were the three zones with the highest population. The population is concentrated mostly in eastern, northern and central part of the SNNPR while the western and southern part of the region is sparsely populated.

The SNNPR Water Resources Bureau announced that as of the fiscal year ending in 2006, they had increased the area of the region that had access to drinkable water to 54% from 10 to 15% 15 years ago.[6] In August 2008, the head of public relations for the Bureau, Abdulkerim Nesru, announced that 94 million birr had been spent to further increase the availability of drinkable water in the region from 58% in the previous year to 63.6%. Priority was given to certain zones, such as Sidama, Welayta and Gurage, as well as the Alaba special woreda and several resettlement areas.[7]

Values for other reported common indicators of the standard of living for the SNNPR as of 2005 include the following: 10.7% of the inhabitants fall into the lowest wealth quintile; adult literacy for men is 57% and for women 22.4%; and the Regional infant mortality rate is 85 infant deaths per 1,000 live births, which is greater than the nationwide average of 77; at least half of these deaths occurred in the infants' first month of life.[8]

Historical population
1994 10,377,028—    
2007 14,929,548+43.9%
2017 19,170,007+28.4%


Religion 1994 Census 2007 Census[4]
Protestants 21.8% 38.5%
Orthodox Christians 34.6% 41.86%
Muslim 15.2% 14.1%
Traditional religions 26.4% 2.4%
Roman Catholics 3% 3.2%
Other religious affiliations 0.5%


Mursi people
Surma people
Daasanach people

The SNNPR, being an amalgam of the main homelands of numerous ethnicities, contains over 45 indigenous ethnic groups:

Largest ethnicities
People 1994 Census 2007 Census[4]
Welayta 12% 10.59%
Hadiya - 7.98%
Gurage 15% 19.54%
Gamo - 7%
Kafficho - 5.44%
Silt'e - 5.37%
Amhara - 4.10%
All ethnicities in region

The ethnicities native to the SNNPR, with percentages of the population as reported in the 2007 national census and organized by linguistic grouping, include:[4]


The 2007 census reported that the predominantly spoken mother tongue languages include Sidama (19.59%), Welayta (10.48%), Hadiya (8%), Gurage (7.13%), Gamo (6.9%), Kafa (5.36%) and Amharic (4.10%). Other languages spoken in the State include Kambaata, Melo, Gofa, Gedeo and Dime; because of the relatively few number of speakers of most of the languages in the region, the working language of the state is Amharic (the most widely spoken language in Ethiopia and formerly the only official language).[4]

The 1994 census reported that the predominantly spoken languages include Sidamo (18%), Gurage (14.72%), Welayta (11.53%), Hadiya (8.53%), Kafa (5.22%), and Kambaata (4.35%). Other languages spoken in the State include Gamo, Melo, Gofa, and Gedeo.[10]

Amharic is still the working language although most pupils get eight years of primary education in their home language and all secondary and further education is in English.[11]


A Kambaata woman extracting the edible part of an enset (a major staple crop of the SNNPR) with a traditional tool.

The CSA reported that for 2004–2005 100,338 tons of coffee were produced in the SNNPR, based on inspection records from the Ethiopian Coffee and Tea authority. This represents 44.2% of the total production in Ethiopia.

Farmers in the Region had an estimated total 7,938,490 head of cattle (representing 20.5% of Ethiopia's total cattle), 3,270,200 sheep (18.8%), 2,289,970 goats (17.6%), 298,720 horses (19.7%), 63,460 mules (43.1%), 278,440 asses (11.1%), 6,586,140 poultry of all species (21.3%), and 726,960 beehives (16.7%).[12]

Enset is a major indigenous local crop in the SNNPR.

List of Chief Administrators[edit]

Administrative zones[edit]

Waterfalls in Arba Mich

The following table shows administrative zones and special woredas (an administrative subdivision which is similar to an autonomous area) is based on information from 2022; the list of second administrative level bodies maintained by the United Nations Geographic Information Working Group dates from 2002.[15]

Zones and Special Woredas in SNNPR
Number Zone Seat
1 Gamo Zone Arba Minch
2 Gofa Zone Sawula
3 Gedeo Zone Dilla
4 Gurage Zone Welkite
5 Hadiya Zone Hosaena
6 Kembata Tembaro Zone Durame
7 Silt'e Zone Worabe
8 Debub Omo Zone Jinka
9 Wolayita Zone Sodo
10 Alaba Zone Halaba Kulito
11 Amaro special woreda Kele
12 Alle Special Woreda
13 Basketo special woreda Laska
14 Burji special woreda Soyama
15 Dirashe special woreda Gidole
16 Konso Zone Karat
17 Yem special woreda Fofa

Former zones[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Lyons, Terrence (1996). "Closing the Transition: The May 1995 Elections in Ethiopia". Journal of Modern African Studies. 34 (1): 135. doi:10.1017/S0022278X00055233. JSTOR 161741. S2CID 155079488.
  2. ^ "NEWS: SNNPRS Council approves legal framework which makes Hawassa city accountable to future Sidama Regional State". Addis Standard. 2019-10-18. Archived from the original on 2021-06-29. Retrieved 2021-06-16.
  3. ^ "Population Projection Towns as of July 2021" (PDF). Ethiopian Statistics Agency. 2021. Archived (PDF) from the original on 7 July 2022. Retrieved 31 May 2022.
  4. ^ a b c d e Central Statistical Agency: The 2007 Population and Housing Census of Ethiopia: Statistical Report for Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples' Region; Part I: Population Size and Characteristics Archived 2017-04-06 at the Wayback Machine. July 2010.
  5. ^ Population Projection of Ethiopia for All Regions At Wereda Level from 2014 – 2017. Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia Central Statistical Agency. Archived from the original on 6 June 2018. Retrieved 4 June 2018.
  6. ^ "Potable water expansion works underway with over 60mln birr in SNNP State". Walta Information Center. 28 November 2006. Archived from the original on 7 October 2007.
  7. ^ "SNNP State builds, repairs water facilities with over 94 mln birr". Walta Information Center. Archived from the original on 25 May 2011. Retrieved 2 March 2009.
  8. ^ Macro International Inc. "2008. Ethiopia Atlas of Key Demographic and Health Indicators, 2005." (Calverton: Macro International, 2008) Archived 2010-11-05 at the Wayback Machine, pp. 2, 3, 10 (accessed 28 January 2009)
  9. ^ "Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples' Region population statistics". Archived from the original on 2018-09-24. Retrieved 2019-07-02.
  10. ^ "FDRE States-Basic Information, Southern nations and Nationalities". Archived from the original on 18 June 2008. Retrieved 10 May 2006.
  11. ^ Kathleen Heugh: Margins, Diversity and Achievement: System-Wide Data and Implementation of Multilingual Education in Ethiopia, p. 48, at Google Books. In: Durk Gorter, Victoria Zenotz, Jasone Cenoz (eds.): Minority Languages and Multilingual Education: Bridging the Local and the Global. Springer 2013, ISBN 978-94-007-7317-2.
  12. ^ "CSA 2005 National Statistics" (PDF). Tables D.4–D.7. Archived from the original (PDF) on 18 November 2008.
  13. ^ a b c "Ethiopia Regions". Archived from the original on October 4, 2013. Retrieved October 1, 2013.
  14. ^ a b "Ethiopia: Dessie Dalke Appointed As Chief of South Ethiopia State". Ethiopian Radio and Television Agency. July 13, 2013. Archived from the original on May 25, 2015. Retrieved October 1, 2013.
  15. ^ "Names and codes for January 2000, Ethiopia". World Health Organization. Archived from the original on 2009-04-20. Retrieved 2020-10-05. The information in the WHO spreadsheet is built on information received 18 September 2002 from the Ethiopian Ministry of Federal Affairs.

External links[edit]