Chinese Ethnic Groups

China Ethnic Groups Distribution Map
Ethnic Groups
Distribution Map
(Click to enlarge)

As a large united multi-national state, China is composed of 56 ethnic groups. Among them Han Chinese account for 91.59% of the overall Chinese population and the other 55 make up the remaining 8.41% according to the Fifth National Population Census of 2000. As the combined population of these other minorities is far fewer than that of the Han, they form the 55 minorities of China.

These numerous ethnic groups share China's vast lands but at the same time many live in their individual communities. The relationships between them have been formed over many years.

 Chinese Han People

Miao Ethnic Minority in China
Miao Minority in Guizhou

With a population of 1159.4 million, the Han Chinese can be found in almost every part of China. However, they mainly live in the middle and lower reaches of the Yellow River, Yangtze River and the Pearl River, and also in the Northeast Plain Region (Songliao Plain). They form the largest ethnic group within China and also the largest in the world. The Han people have their own distinctive way of life.

 55 Minorities in China
Although they make up only a small proportion of the overall Chinese population, the 55 minority ethnic groups are distributed extensively throughout different regions of China. The regions where they are most concentrated are Southwest China, Northwest China and Northeast China. No matter whether it is Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang, Ningxia, Guangxi, Tibet, Yunnan, Guizhou, Qinghai or Sichuan, Gansu, Hubei, Hunan or another province, one can find Chinese minorities. From the areas listed above, the greatest number of minorities can be found in Yunnan Province (25 ethnic groups). Zhuang has the largest population (more than 16 million) of minority ethnic groups.

Tibetan People
Tibetan People
In order to ensure that the 56 Chinese ethnic groups live together in harmony, the government introduced a series of policies including ones to secure the equality and unity of ethnic groups, give regional autonomy to ethnic minorities and promote respect for the faith and customs of ethnic groups. Among these the policy of regional autonomy for minorities is the most fundamental. Under this policy, five autonomous regions; Inner Mongolia, Xinjiang, Guangxi, Ningxia and Tibet, as well as numerous autonomous prefectures, counties, nationality townships and towns have been set up. With guidance from the Chinese government, the minorities in areas that have been given regional autonomy are entitled to deal with their own affairs. Together with the Han people, the Chinese minorities are making great efforts to build a prosperous China.

 List of 55 Chinese minorities:
























































 Photos of Chinese Minority People
Tibetan People Photos      Photos of Minorities in Yunnan
Guizhou Minority Photos      Xinjiang Minority People Photos

 Ethnic Minority Tour:
Tibet Tours     Silk Road Adventure    Yunnan Tours    Guizhou Minority Tour

- Last updated on Dec. 19, 2023 -
Questions & Answers on Chinese Ethnic Groups
Asked by Jossie from CHINA | Dec. 19, 2023 03:14Reply
Who's the author for this report?
I'm writing an essay and need this passage to be one of my reference!!! Thanks a lot to who can answer!!!
Answers (1)
Answered by TravelChinaGuide | Dec. 19, 2023 19:21

Hi, we are glad to be helpful and you can just refer the author as TravelChinaGuide.
Asked by Heather from USA | Aug. 21, 2018 21:33Reply
I was curious what ethnic minorities are in Zhengzhou.
My son was found in Xinmi City outside of Zhengzhou. One day I'd love to do 23 and Me but was just curious. He has fair skin and brown hair so was wondering if he might be one of the ethnic minorities.
Answers (1)
Answered by Vicos from AUSTRALIA | Aug. 22, 2018 20:31

Manchu, the Hui nationality, the Mongol nationality, Uyghur nationality Among them, the Hui nationality cover the most population.
Asked by Marie from USA | May. 20, 2016 16:29Reply
What minority in Yunnan province would be located near Burma
Answers (4)
Answered by Tina | May. 21, 2016 04:09

There are many of them, including Dai, Hani, Yi, Yao, Miao and Zhuang.
Answered by Marie from USA | May. 21, 2016 19:34

My daughter was found somewhere near the Stone forest in Yunnan. She looks very different from my other adopted Chinese daughters. She has large eyes and dark skin. I am wondering what ethnicity she is?
Answered by Gregory from CANADA | May. 22, 2016 20:45

It is quite hard to say what nationality she is just according to her appearance.
For all I know, the major nationality around the Stone Forest is Yi. Maybe she is one of them.
Answered by Lu from CHINA | Mar. 11, 2019 06:41

Agree with you.
Asked by Josh from AUSTRALIA | Feb. 20, 2016 19:51Reply
What are the main 3 ethnic groups in China?
Answers (1)
Answered by Rita from MALAYSIA | Feb. 20, 2016 20:25

The three with the largest population are Zhuang, Man and Hui Minorities.
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