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Chinese Ethnic Groups

China is a multi-ethnic nation. Besides Han, which takes up over 90% of China's population, there are 55 minority ethnic groups living in China. Their costumes, festivals and customs can be unique and colorful.

The map below shows China's minority ethnicities mainly live in border regions and mountainous areas of the south and west.

Chinese Dialects and Minority Languages Map

China's Provinces and Regions

Refer to and click this map of China's provinces/regions for more about the areas where China's ethnicities live.

map of China Provinces

Zhuang Minority

Zhuang ethnic group has the largest population (almost 18 million) among all the 55 ethnic groups in China. Most of them inhabit in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and Yunnan Province. In South China's Guangdong, Hunan, Guizhou and Sichuan provinces, there are also some distributions of Zhuang People. Read more

Mongolian Minority

Mongolian ethnic group has a population of around 5.81 million, mostly living in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region in North China, and the rest residing in provinces of Jilin, Heilongjiang, Liaoning, Xinjiang, Hebei, and Qinghai Provinces. Mongolians are known as a nationality on the horseback, and animal husbandry is their leading industry. They boast good horsemanship, and like archery and wresting. Read more

Hui Minority

Hui ethnic group is China's most widely distributed ethnic minority, with a sizeable population of 9.8 million. Most of them inhabit in Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region in Northwest China, and there are concentrated Hui communities in many cities in Gansu, Xinjiang, Qinghai, Hebei, Henan, Yunnan and Shandong Provinces. Read more

Miao Minority

qiandongnanA Miao girl

Miao ethnic group is one of the few minority nationalities that have an extensive population existing in and out of Mainland China. Scattered worldwide, the Miao diaspora exists on five continents and many countries, including Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, France, Britain, Canada, Australia, and the United States, among others. In China, they inhabit a wide range of land in South-Central China, including settlements in Guizhou, Hunan, Yunnan, Sichuan, Guangxi, Hubei, and Hainan Provinces. Approximately four million Miao reside in present-day Guizhou, a population that accounts for over half of the Miao in China. Census reports have the Miao situated in rural and urban environments across the prefectures and counties of Guizhou. Read more

Dong Minority

Dong people, a Chinese ethnic minority which numbers about 2,514,000 according to the 1990 Chinese state census, are found mainly in the provinces of Guizhou and Hunan, as well as in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. Read more

Uygur Minority

Uygur, signifying unity or union, is the nickname used for members of The Uygur ethnic group. With a population of 9.9 million, the Uygur people mainly live in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. Others are scattered in Hunan and Henan Provinces. Their religion is Islamism. Read more

Manchu Minority

Manchu ethnic group has a population of more than 10 million, mostly living in three provinces in Northeast China (provinces of Liaoning, Heilongjiang and Jilin), with Liaoning Province having over half of the Manchu population. Since the founding of the Qing Dynasty (1616–1912), because of the intermarriage and mingling between the Han nationality and the Manchu nationality, the difference between the two had gradually reduced. The Manchu people believe in Shamanism, later they also believe in Buddhism. Read more

Tibetan Minority

With a population of more than 5 million, Tibetan nationality mainly live in Tibet Autonomous Region in Southeast China, and neighboring provinces of Qinghai, Gansu, Sichuan and Yunnan. Tibetan people have their own spoken and written language. Tibetan language belongs to Cambodian branch, Sino-Tibetan language system. Read more

Yao Minority

yao-minority-longshengLong haired Red Yao women of Longsheng, Guilin.

Yao ethnic group has a population of over 2.6 million, and mainly inhabit in Guangxi, Hunan, Yunnan, Guangdong, Guizhou and Jiangxi Provinces. Most of the Yao people are farmers living together in small groups distributed widely throughout the mountainous areas. Read more

Some Other Ethnic Groups in China

Discover more about China's Minorities with a Tailor-Made China Tour

If you want to explore China's ethnic villages. See our China's Festival Tours, or simply contact us for a tailor-made tour.

Further Reading

Marriage customs of ethnic groups are various and unique. Guizhou Museum of Marriage Customs of  Ethnic Minorities is the only museum in China that features marriage customs of ethnic minorities. See also China's Top Minority Cities and Southern Minority Food.