States of Ethiopia

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Sidama achieved statehood as of 2020-06-18, following a referendum in which the overwhelming majority of voters favored more autonomy. [9] Previously, it was a subdivision of Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples state. ISO added a code for Sidama on 2021-11-25, but there is no GENC code (the replacement for FIPS code) assigned as of 2022-03-26.

I replaced the 2008 population projections (source [8]) with the actual 2007 census data (source [4]), which I think are more reliable.

ISO 3166-2 Newsletter number I-4, dated 2002-12-10, adds Dire Dawa administration to the list of subdivisions; changes the status of Addis Ababa from "capital city" to administration; and includes the Amharic names of the subdivisions. I have added the new code for Dire Dawa to the table below.

Change Notice 7 to FIPS PUB 10-4 is dated 2002-01-10. Previously, the FIPS standard listed thirty regions. In this update, those regions are expunged, to be replaced with eleven divisions (nine states and two administrations).

Country overview: 

Short nameETHIOPIA
ISO codeET
LanguageAmharic (am)
Time zone+3
CapitalAddis Ababa


Europeans have used the names Ethiopia and Abyssinia interchangeably for the country in this location. Italy had territorial ambitions over the region in the 19th century. However, as of 1900, Italy in fact controlled only Eritrea. Ethiopia's independence was recognized by the European powers in 1906. In 1935, Italy invaded, and in 1936-06 Ethiopia was made part of Italian East Africa (Africa Orientale Italiana), along with Eritrea and Italian Somaliland. The British expelled the Italians in 1941 and liberated Ethiopia. The United Nations voted to create a federation of Eritrea and Ethiopia, which lasted from 1952 until 1962, when Ethiopia annexed Eritrea. Eritrea became an independent country again on 1993-05-27. The boundaries of Ethiopia have changed somewhat during the century, and the border with Somalia has never been finally established.

Other names of country: 

  1. Amharic: Ityopia
  2. Danish: Etiopien
  3. Dutch: Ethiopië, Federale Democratische Republiek Ethiopië (formal)
  4. English: People's Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (formal)
  5. Finnish: Etiopia
  6. French: Éthiopie f
  7. German: Äthiopien n
  8. Icelandic: Etíópía
  9. Italian: Etiopia f
  10. Norwegian: Den føderale demokratiske republikk Etiopia (formal) (Bokmål), Den føderale demokratiske republikken Etiopia (formal) (Nynorsk), Etiopia
  11. Portuguese: Etiópia, República f Democrática Federal da Etiópia f (formal)
  12. Russian: Абиссиния (obsolete), Федеративная Демократическая Республика Эфиопия (formal)
  13. Spanish: Etiopía, República f Popular Democrática de Etiopía f (formal)
  14. Swedish: Etiopien
  15. Turkish: Habeşistan (obsolete), Etiyopya Federal Demokratik Cumhuriyeti (formal)

Origin of name: 

Greek Aithiopis, from aithe: burn, opsis: appearance (i.e. dark-skinned natives appeared burnt)

Primary subdivisions: 

Ethiopia is divided into ten kilil (states) and two astedader (administrations).

Addis AbabaET.AAET442,739,551530205
Dire DawaET.DDET48341,8341,213468
Gambela PeoplesET.GAET49307,09625,8029,962
Harari PeopleET.HAET50183,415311120
SidamaET.SI 3,104,9586,8332,638
Southern Nations, Nationalities and PeoplesET.SNET5411,824,590105,51040,738
12 divisions73,750,9321,127,127435,186
  • State: except for Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa, which are administrations.
  • HASC: Hierarchical administrative subdivision codes. If periods are replaced by
    hyphens, these are the same as the state codes from ISO standard 3166-2.
  • FIPS: Codes from FIPS PUB 10-4, a U.S. government standard.
  • Population: 2007-05-28 census (source [4]). When Sidama state was formed, I
    took the last official population and area of the former Sidama zone. Since Sidama zone was
    formerly a subdivision of Southern Nations, I subtracted the figures for Sidama from those of
    Southern Nations.


The total population in the 2007 exceeds the sum of the state populations by 96,754. The census report assigns that extra amount to an "Especial Enumeration Area."

Further subdivisions:

See the Zones of Ethiopia page.

As of 1953, there were twelve teklay ghizatoch (provinces), subdivided into 76 awraji ghizatoch (subprovinces), which were subdivided into wereda (districts), which were subdivided into mikitil wereda (subdistricts). By 1965, the number of provinces had increased to 14, and the number of subprovinces to 82. In 1974, the new military government changed the status of the fourteen provinces to kifle hager (regions), and reorganized their subdivisions. As a result, there were 102 awraja subdivided into 556 wereda. After the reorganization in 1991, there were about 600 wereda. The 2008 data show 63 zones and 529 wereda.

Territorial extent: 

In the territorial division which prevailed up until 1987, Gojam contained the island of Daga, or Dek, in Lake Tana. Eritrea contained many Red Sea islands, as described in the country listing for Eritrea.

Dire Dawa lies on the border between Oromia and Somali regions.

The UN LOCODE page  for Ethiopia lists locations in the country, some of them with their latitudes and longitudes, some with their ISO 3166-2 codes for their subdivisions. This information can be put together to approximate the territorial extent of subdivisions.

Origins of names: 

  1. Addis Ababa: Amharic for the new flower
  2. Harar: Amharic harar, corruption of a word meaning commercial station
  3. Somali: see Somalia

Change history: 

  1. 1936: Italian East Africa was formed by merging Italy's colonies, Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Italian Somaliland. It was subdivided into six governments: Amhara, Eritrea, Galla and Sidama, Harar, Shoa (Addis Abeba), and Somalia.
  2. 1952-09-15: Eritrea joined Ethiopia in a federation.
  3. 1962: Eritrea became a province of Ethiopia.
  4. Source [5] lists the following provinces of Ethiopia (modified to take into account the 1952 federation with Eritrea). The capitals are taken from an Ethiopian government source. I've added HASC codes in order to serve as a reference for the Zones of Ethiopia page.
GojjamET.GJ24,300Debre Markos
ShoaET.SH30,400Addis Ababa
Sidamo-BoranaET.SD39,500Yirga Alem
  1. ~1963: Bale province (capital Bale, HASC code ET.BL) split from Harar.
  2. ~1963: Capital of Gamo Gofa province moved from Chencha to Arba Minch.
  3. 1974: Provinces changed to regions.
  4. ~1978: Capital of Ilubabor province moved from Gorie to Metu; capital of Sidamo province moved from Yirga Alem to Awasa.
  5. 1981: Addis Ababa region split from Shewa; Aseb region split from Eritrea
  6. This was the division of Ethiopia prevailing in 1987:
Addis Ababa1,654,327218100Addis Ababa
Gamo GofaET051,395,33139,50015,3004Arba Minch
GojamET063,632,27661,60023,8007Debre Markos
ShewaET109,059,91785,20032,90011Addis Ababa
  • FIPS: Codes from FIPS PUB 10-4
  • Population: 1988 estimate
  • Awr: number of awraja by province
  1. 1987-09: Ethiopia reorganized into 25 administrative regions and five autonomous regions. The autonomous regions were Āseb, Dirē Dawa, Eritrea, Ogadēn, and Tigray. This new administrative structure may never have been fully implemented. Here is a table describing the new divisions. Note that this table shows 27 autonomous regions instead of the 25 expected. The Central Statistical Authority of Ethiopia doesn't mention Gamo Gofa or Nazrēt. The FIPS document doesn't mention East Shewa or South Omo, and uses the name Omo rather than North Omo.
RegionFIPSPop-1993Pop-1982Area(km.²)Area(mi.²)Alternate names
Addis AbabaET152,657,5592,379,5005,2002,000
Dirē DawaET22521,691476,00029,30011,300
East GojamET281,699,4601,563,20013,9005,400Misrak Gojam
East HārergēET292,774,3462,552,30090,60035,000Misrak Hārergē
East Shewa1,026,180934,50012,8004,900Misrak Shewa
Gamo GofaET39Gemu Gwefa
MetekelET24416,380383,30030,50011,800Metekel Nazaret
North GonderET192,038,1641,873,00062,00023,900Semēn Gonder
North OmoET323,046,8592,806,00029,90011,500Semēn Omo
North ShewaET202,570,1282,364,30027,00010,400Semēn Shewa
North WeloET211,621,5201,491,70030,80011,900Semēn Welo
South GonderET331,867,7661,719,90017,1006,600Debub Gonder
South Omo269,197248,00022,0008,500Debub Omo
South ShewaET343,235,7682,977,50016,8006,500Debub Shewa
South WeloET352,675,9952,461,70020,7008,000Debub Welo
West GojamET252,210,4662,032,80017,3006,700Mirab Gojam
West HārergēET261,482,6281,364,20033,20012,800Mirab Hārergē
West ShewaET272,934,4342,702,00023,2009,000Mirab Shewa
  • FIPS: Codes from FIPS PUB 10-4
  • Pop-1993: 1993 estimate
  • Pop-1982: 1982 estimate
  1. 1991: Ethiopia reorganized into twelve rasgez akababiwach (autonomous regions) and two chartered cities. This division didn't last long enough to be recognized by the FIPS standard. Sources differ about the names of these divisions. The best reconstruction I can make is that Addis Ababa and Harer were the chartered cities, and the autonomous regions were Afar, Agew, Amhara, Benishangul, Gambela, Gurage-Hadiya-Kambata, Kefa, Omo, Oromo, Sidamo, Somali, and Tigray.
  2. 1993-05-27: Eritrea became independent. Āseb and Eritrea ceased being regions of Ethiopia.
  3. 1994-12: Under a new constitution, Ethiopia reorganized into nine astedader akababiwach (administrative regions) and one federal capital district.
  4. ~1998: Dire Dawa became an administration.

Other names of subdivisions: 

Amharic uses its own alphabet. Many of the variants shown here are just different transliterations from the Amharic alphabet.

  1. Addis Ababa: Āddīs Ābaba, Addis Abeba, Adis-Abeba, Ādīs Ābeba (variant); Adís Abeba (Spanish)
  2. Afar: Affar (variant)
  3. Amhara: Amara (variant)
  4. Arsi: Arssi, Arusi, Arussi, Ārsī (variant)
  5. Bale: Balē, Mendebo (variant)
  6. Begemdir: Begemder & Semien (variant)
  7. Benshangul-Gumaz: Benishangul, Beni Shangul, Bénishangul, Benishangul-Gumuz, Binshangul Gumuz (variant)
  8. Eritrea: Ertra (variant; see also country listing for Eritrea)
  9. Gambela Peoples: Gambela Hizboch (Amharic); Gambella (variant)
  10. Gamo Gofa: Gamu Gofa, Gemu Gefa, Gemu Gofa, Gemu Goffa, Gemu Gwefa (with or without hyphen) (variant)
  11. Gojam: Gojjam, Gwejam (variant)
  12. Gonder: Bagemder, Begemder, Begemdir, Begemdir and Simen, Gondar (variant)
  13. Gurage-Hadiya-Kambata: Gurage-Hadiya-Wolayta, Gurage Kembatahadiya (variant)
  14. Harari People: Harer (variant); Hareri Hizb (Amharic)
  15. Harerge: Harar, Hararge, Harargue, Harer, Hārergē (variant)
  16. Ilubabor: Illabobor, Illubabor, Ilubbabor, Īlubabor (variant)
  17. Kefa: Kafa, Kaffa (variant)
  18. Oromia: Oromiya (variant)
  19. Shewa: Shawa, Shoa (variant)
  20. Sidamo: Sidama, Sīdamo, Sidamo-Boran, Sidamo-Borana (variant)
  21. Somali: Sumale (variant)
  22. Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples: S.N.N.P. (abbreviation); YeDebub Biheroch Bihereseboch na Hizboch (Amharic)
  23. Tigray: Tegré, Tigrai, Tigre (variant); Tigré (French)
  24. Welega: Walaga, Wallaga, Wallega, Wellega, Wollega (variant)
  25. Welo: Elo, Wallo, Wollo (variant)


  1. [1] Library of Congress country study  (retrieved 1999).
  2. [2] "People's Democratic Republic of Ethiopia Facts and Figures". Central Statistical Authority, Addis Ababa, 1990.
  3. [3] "Administrative Sub-divisions of Ethiopia" (as of 1964-07-07). Ministry of Interior, Central Statistical Office, Imperial Ethiopian Government. Addis Ababa, July 1964.
  4. [4] Population and Housing Census Report  - Country - 2007. Central Statistical Agency, 2010-07 (retrieved 2014-02-12).
  5. [5] Encyclopædia Britannica World Atlas, 1957 edition.
  6. [6] Europa World Year Book 2001. Europa Publications, London, 2001.
  7. [7] "Ershiyi (21) Shiji Shijie Diming Lu", Beijing, 2001.
  8. [8] A report on the website of the Central Statistical Agency of Ethiopia, headed "Section-B Population" (, dead link, retrieved 2008-03-15). It showed populations and areas for the primary, secondary, and tertiary subdivisions of Ethiopia. The populations were based on projections from the 1994 census. Areas were measured from maps used to take the census, and were missing for Afar and Somali regions. I used the CIA World Factbook to get the total area of the country.
  9. [9] Ethiopia Insight, "Sidama's Statehood Quest Beyond Recognition", 2021-06-17
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