Demographic Dynamics and Sustainable Rural Livelihoods in Jimma Arjo District, East Wollega Oromia, Ethiopia

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Addis Ababa University


Ethiopia is one of the countries with rapid population growth, dense settlement in the highland areas, inexorable environmental degradation, and insidious poverty. The intensity of the problem is high in rural areas where the majority of the population lives and their livelihood directly or indirectly depend on the natural resource. The current situation of the country shows that the rapidly growing rural population is exerting pressure on the environment to secure its livelihood. The short-term decision of rural households on the environment to secure their means of living affects the sustainability of their livelihood in the long run. In the light of this problem, this study was conducted with an objective of analyzing the role of demographic dynamics and changes in livelihood assets in sustaining livelihood. Primary data obtained fi·om 390 households randomly selected from three kebele administrations of Jimma Arjo District were used for the study. Both descriptive statistics and econometric model were used to analyze the data. The results of descriptive statistics showed significant mean difference in dependency ratio, labor force size, and livestock ownership. It was, however, insignificant for family size and land size. Households headed by females and younger persons were found to have limited access to livelihood assets. The households had limited access to credit services and saving. Most households live at reasonably shorter distance from main road. Given the livelihood assets they have, farming is the main source of livelihood and the contribution of diversification of activities to rural livelihood was limited. Non-farm income contributed only 8.8 % to their income. The multivariate analysis showed decreasing probability of livelihood sustainability with increasing family size and dependency ratio. The livelihood of households headed by females, illiterates, persons of low decision making power in local organizations, and households with limited access to credit service was found to be less sustainable than their counterparts. At 5 % significance level, age group of household head, land size, labor force size, health status of households, saving, and participation in eBOs were found to be insignificantly related to sustainable livelihood. Based on the findings, the following points of recommendations are stated: increasing awareness of people about the disadvantages of large family size, improving households' access to livelihood assets, affirmative action for disadvantaged groups, and strengthening of rural local institutions. Key Words: Demographic Dynamics, Livelihood Assets, Sustainable Livelihoods



Demographic Dynamics;, Livelihood Assets;, Sustainable Livelihoods