Somalia occupies the area known as the "horn" of Africa, with coastline fronting the Gulf of Aden on the north and the Indian Ocean to the east. It is bordered on the northwest by Djibouti, on the west by Ethiopia, and by Kenya to the southwest. The country's borders contain some 638,000 sq km (246,300 sq mi). Since the 1990s, political disturbances and large numbers of nomads and refugees have rendered population estimates unreliable. The last official census was taken in 1975; in 2002, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency estimated the population at 7,753,310. Recent United Nations (UN) estimates place the national population at around 10 million, with as much as 25% living in urban areas.
Somalia is unique in Africa, being ethnically homogeneous. Over 95% of the population characterize themselves as "Somali." Nonetheless, divisions between family lineages ("clans"), have tended to weaken the unity of the national government and led to chaos in the 1990s. Somali is the official language and is spoken by almost all inhabitants. Arabic, English, Italian, and Swahili are also commonly spoken.
The great majority of rural Somalis earn a living from the herding of goats, sheep, camels and cattle. Indeed, livestock exports to the Arabian peninsula and Middle East are a major source of foreign exchange for the country. A small proportion of Somalis earn a living from fishing. In the southern region, irrigated farmlands produce citrus fruits and bananas for export. Grain is grown to a limited extent in the southern and northern regions of Somalia, but not in large enough quantities to guarantee a regular supply of staples for the country. As a result, Somalia has been a net food importer for the past several decades.