Except in Addis Ababa, Harer, Dire Dawa, and a few other urban centers, most houses are built of mud or mortar and have thatched or tin roofs. In the rural areas the traditional thatched hut (tukul) is still the most common dwelling. As of the mid-1980s, over two-thirds of all housing units were constructed of wood and mud, and a lesser number of wood and thatch. Housing shortages and overcrowding were still major concerns as of 2000. It has been estimated that 89% of the population is living in substandard housing. Homelessness is a big problem in urban areas; it has been estimated that 80% of the residents in Addis Ababa are homeless or in substandard housing.
The extended family arrangement is frequently found among Ethiopian families since children, male or female, who have married continue to live with their family.
In some cases, unmarried aunts, uncles, cousins and even close family friends continue to dwell with the nuclear family. This form of family arrangement has therefore been responsible for enlarging the membership of the extended family.
Most people in Ethiopia earn recognition through their extended family structure. The family’s honor is achieved through acceptable deeds and behaviors of the family members. The family is given emphasis in that family priorities should be met first before anyone else’s needs. An important part of many families in Ethiopia is animal stock, because all over the country it is essential to have either some cattle, horses, donkeys or even camels one cannot survive.
In the towns and cities houses are usually walled constructions fitted with a fixed metal or mud roof as is known from other cities around the world. Even tall skyscrapers are to be found in Addis Ababa. In such ways Ethiopia reunites ancient historical traditions like the Dorze traditional building style.
In Addis the newest trends in architecture ads in to this and creates a very fascinating mix that gives Ethiopia yet another dimension of “uniqueness”.