Washington D.C. is the largest Ethiopian community outside of Africa. Ethiopians migrants have been settling in the D.C. area since 1970’s when Ethiopia was entrenched in civil war. Lower estimates suggest the number of Ethiopians in the D.C. area to be around 40,000, but the Ethiopian embassy states that the population is closer to 200,000. Some local community estimates are even higher. The Ethiopian yellow pages for the D.C. lists over 1200 Ethiopian-owned businesses.
Ethiopians represent dozens of people groups and significant religious diversity. Nearly one-third of Ethiopians are Muslim and approximately 40% are from the Ethiopian Orthodox tradition. Other subscribe to African traditional religions, B’hai, or a small Ethiopian Jewish community. In addition, a number of migrants & refugees from Eritrea, formerly a part of Ethiopia, have settled in the D.C. area.
Those with a heart for peoples and cultures from the Horn of Africa may desire to look to Washington D.C. as a potential mission field. Whether mobilizing Ethiopian believers or sharing good news with the unreached, Washington D.C., home to more than 1 million foreign born residents, is a dynamic and diverse mission field.