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Nov 16, 2006

People and Languages

Sugar cane salesSugar cane sales. (Nyole, Uganda)
People and Languages

There are 41 languages listed in the SIL Ethnologue. The main languages or language groupings are:

  • English (official)
  • Ganda or Luganda
  • other Niger-Congo languages
  • Nilo-Saharan languages
  • Swahili
  • Arabic

About 90% of Uganda's inhabitants live in rural areas. Approximately 70% of the people speak one of the Bantu languages Approximately 16% of the total number of Bantu speaking peoples live in Uganda. The largest Bantu ethnic groups, all of whom live in the southern half of the country, are the:

  • Baganda or Ganda (18% of total population)
  • Ankole
  • Soga
  • Chiga
  • Masaba
  • Nyoro
  • Toro

Other language groups in Uganda are the:

  • Western Nilotic (principally the Acholi, Lango, and Alur) who live in the north (15% of the population).
  • Eastern Nilotic (principally the Teso and Karamojong) who live in the northeast (10% of the population).
  • Sudanic (including the Lugbara, Aringa and Ma'di) who live in the northwest (5% of the population).

For a full listing of languages in Uganda go to the Ethnologue.

Between 1980 and 1985, thousands of refugees (mostly Tutsis) from Rwanda and Zaïre (now the Democratic Republic of Congo) settled in Uganda.

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