Ethnic groups in Africa

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Ethnic groups in Africa
1996 map of the major ethnolinguistic groups of Africa, by the Library of Congress Geography and Map Division (substantially based on G.P. Murdock, Africa, its peoples and their cultural history, 1959). Color-coded are major 15 ethnolinguistic super-groups, as follows:
Afro-Asiatic
      Hamitic (Berber, Cushitic) + Semitic (Ethiopian, Arabic)
     Hausa (Chadic)
Niger Congo
     Bantu
     "Guinean" (Volta-Niger, Kru)
     "Western Bantoid" (Senegambian, Bak)
     "Central Bantoid" (Gur)
     "Eastern Bantoid" (Southern Bantoid)
     Mande
Nilo-Saharan (unity doubtful)
     Nilotic
     Central Sudanic+Eastern Sudanic
     Kanuri
     Songhai
other
     Khoi-San (unity doubtful; Khoikhoi, San, Sandawe, Hadza)
     Malayo-Polynesian (Malagasy)
     Indo-European (Afrikaaner)

Ethnic groups in Africa number in the thousands, each generally having its own language (or dialect of a language) and culture.

The largest ethnic groups mostly originate from major historic political kingdoms, such as in West Africa with the Sahelian kingdoms of the medieval period, like that of the Akan, deriving from Bonoman (11th century) then the Kingdom of Ashanti (17th century) [1] and in Central Africa with the Kanuri of the Kanem and Bornu Empires.

Overview[edit]

For more details on this topic, see Demographics of Africa.

The official population count of the various ethnic groups in Africa has in some instances been controversial because certain groups believe populations are fixed to give other ethnicities numerical superiority (as in the case of Nigeria's Hausa, Fulani, Yoruba and Igbo people).[2][3][4] The following ethnic groups number 10 million people or more:

Central Africa[edit]

Horn of Africa[edit]

North Africa[edit]

Southeast Africa[edit]

Southern Africa[edit]

West Africa[edit]

List of African populations[edit]

Central Africa[edit]

NameFamilyLanguageRegionCountryPopulation (million)Notes
AkaNilo-Saharan, PygmyAkaCentral/NorthernWestern Central African Republic, Northwest CongoThe Aka are one of three groups of pygmies, collectively called BaMbuti, of the Ituri Rainforest
BakaPygmyBakaCentral/NorthernWestern Equatoria in South Sudan0.25There is also another ethnic group called Baka living across West Africa.
BandaNiger-Congo, UbangianBanda languageChad BasinCentral African Republic[9]1.5
ChewaNiger–Congo, BantuChichewaCentral/SouthernBotswana, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe9
ChokweNiger–Congo, BantuChokweCentralAngola, Congo (Kinshasa), Zambia1.1
EféNilo-Saharan, PygmyEfeCentral/NorthernIturi Rainforest of CongoThe Efe are one of three groups of pygmies, collectively called BaMbuti, of the Ituri Rainforest
GbayaNiger-Congo, UbangianGbaya languageChad BasinCentral African Republic[9]1.5
KongoNiger–Congo, BantuKongoCentralDemocratic Republic of the Congo, Angola, Republic of the Congo10
KanuriNilo-Saharan, Western SaharanKanuriChad BasinNigeria,[5] Niger,[6] Cameroon,[8] Chad[7]10
LingalaNiger–Congo, BantuLingalaCentralDemocratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of the Congo, Angola, Central African Republic
LubaNiger–Congo, BantuLuba-Kasai, Luba-KatangaCentralDemocratic Republic of the Congo13
KotokoAfro-Asiatic, ChadicLagwanChad BasinCameroon, Chad< 1
MbundaNiger–Congo, BantuMbúùnda, Chimbúùnda, MpuunCentralAngola, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Namibia, Zambia0.5
MbunduNiger–Congo, BantuKimbunduCentralAngola2.4
MoghamoNiger-Congo, Southern BantoidMoghamoCentral/WestCameroon, Southern Cameroons0.018
MongoNiger–Congo, BantuMongoCentralDemocratic Republic of the Congo12
NgamamboNiger-Congo, Southern BantoidNgamamboCentral/WestCameroon, Southern Cameroons0.011
OvimbunduNiger–Congo, BantuUmbunduCentralAngola4.6
SaraNilo-Saharan, Central SudanicSaraChad BasinChad,[7] Cameroon,[10] Central African Republic[11]3.5
SuaNilo-Saharan, PygmySuaCentral/NorthernIturi Rainforest of CongoThe Sua are one of three groups of pygmies, collectively called BaMbuti, of the Ituri Rainforest
ZandeNiger–Congo, UbangianZandeChad BasinSouth Sudan,[12] Central African Republic[9]1-4
ZaghawaNilo-Saharan, Eastern SaharanZaghawaChad BasinChad, Sudan< 1

Horn of Africa[edit]

NameFamilyLanguageRegionCountryPopulation (million)Notes
AfarAfro-Asiatic, CushiticAfarHorn of AfricaEthiopia, Djibouti, Eritrea1.5
AgawAfro-Asiatic, CushiticAgawHorn of AfricaEthiopia, Eritrea1
AmharaAfro-Asiatic, SemiticAmharicHorn of AfricaEthiopia24
BejaAfro-Asiatic, CushiticBejaHorn of AfricaSudan, Eritrea2
BilenAfro-Asiatic, CushiticBilenHorn of AfricaEritrea0.2
GurageAfro-Asiatic, SemiticGurageHorn of AfricaEthiopia1.9
OromoAfro-Asiatic, CushiticOromoHorn of AfricaEthiopia, Sudan, Kenya30
SahoAfro-Asiatic, CushiticSahoHorn of AfricaEritrea, Ethiopia0.2
SidamaAfro-Asiatic, CushiticAf SidamaHorn of AfricaEthiopia3
SomaliAfro-Asiatic, CushiticSomaliHorn of AfricaSomalia, Ethiopia, Djibouti and Kenya16-19
Tigray-TigrinyaAfro-Asiatic, SemiticTigrinyaHorn of AfricaEthiopia, Eritrea9
TigreAfro-Asiatic, SemiticTigreHorn of AfricaEritrea, Sudan1.5

North Africa[edit]

NameFamilyLanguageRegionCountryPopulation (million)Notes
ArabizedAfro-Asiatic, SemiticArabic languagesMaghreb, Nile ValleyMauritania, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Sudan5
BerbersAfro-Asiatic, BerberBerber, Arabic languagesMaghrebMorocco, Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Tunisia150
CoptsAfro-Asiatic, EgyptianCopticNile ValleyEgypt, Sudan40
NubiansNilo-Saharan, Eastern SudanicNobiinNile ValleySudan, Egypt1.0[13]
Fur[13]Nilo-Saharan, Eastern SudanicFur languageNile ValleySudan1.0
ZaghawaNilo-Saharan, Eastern SaharanZaghawaChad BasinChad, Sudan< 1

Southeast Africa[edit]

NameFamilyLanguageRegionCountryPopulation (million)Notes
AlurNilo-Saharan, Nilotic, LuoAlurEast/CentralUganda, Democratic Republic of the Congo
AnuakNilo-Saharan, Nilotic, LuoAnuakSoutheast/HornSouth Sudan, Ethiopia
AcholiNilo-Saharan, Nilotic, LuoAcholiEastUganda, South Sudan
ChaggaNiger-Congo, BantuBantuKilimanjaroTanzania8
DinkaNilo-Saharan, Eastern SudanicDinka languageNile ValleySouth Sudan[12]5
GandaNiger–Congo, BantuGandaEastUganda3
LangiNilo-Saharan, Nilotic, LuoLangoEastUganda
HutuNiger–Congo, BantuRwanda-RundiEast, CentralRwanda, Burundi, DR Congo16
KambaNiger–Congo, BantuKambaEastKenya
KalenjinNilo-Saharan, Nilotic, HighlandKalenjinEastKenya3
KikuyuNiger–Congo, BantuGikuyuEastKenya5.3
KwamaNilo-SaharanKwamaEast/HornSouth Sudan, Ethiopia
Lugbara peopleNilo-Saharan, Central SudanicLugbaraEastUganda, Democratic Republic of the Congo11
LuoNilo-Saharan, Luo, River-LakeLuoEastKenya
LuhyaNiger–Congo, BantuLuhyaEastKenya5.4
MaasaiNilo-Saharan, Nilotic, PlainsMaasaiEastKenya, Tanzania0.9
MakondeNiger–Congo, BantuMakondeSoutheastTanzania, Mozambique1.3
AmeruNiger–Congo, BantuMeruEastKenya
NuerNilo-Saharan, Eastern SudanicNuer languageNile ValleySouth Sudan[12]3
SamburuNilo-Saharan, Nilotic, PlainsSamburuEastKenya0.1
ShillukNilo-Saharan, Eastern Sudanic, Nilotic, LuoShilluk languageNile ValleySouth Sudan[12]1.5
SwahiliNiger-Congo, BantuSwahiliEastTanzania, Kenya, Mozambique0.1
TutsiNiger–Congo, BantuRwanda-RundiEast, CentralRwanda, Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo3
Great Lakes Twa (Batwa)PygmyRundi, KigaEast, CentralRwanda, Burundi, Uganda, Democratic Republic of the Congo0.8

Southern Africa[edit]

NameFamilyLanguageRegionCountryPopulation (million)Notes
AfrikanerIndo-EuropeanAfrikaansSouthSouth Africa, Namibia3.0
San (Bushmen)KhoisanKhoisanSouthSouth Africa, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Mozambique, Swaziland, Botswana, Namibia, Angola0.09
Ambo (Ovambo, Owambo)Niger–Congo, BantuOvamboSouthNamibia0.9
BembaNiger–Congo, BantuBemba languageSouthZambia5.0
HereroNiger–Congo, BantuHereroSouthNamibia, Botswana, Angola0.2
WayeyiNiger–Congo, BantuShiyeyiSouthNamibia, Botswana, Angola0.3
HimbaNiger–Congo, BantuOtjihimbo (Herero dialect)SouthNamibia0.05
KhoikhoiKhoisanKhoekhoegowabSouth-
MakuaNiger–Congo, BantuMakuaSouth/EastMozambique, Tanzania1.1
North NdebeleNiger-Congo, Bantu, NguniSindebeleSouthZimbabwe1.5
South NdebeleNiger–Congo, BantuSouthern NdebeleSouthSouth Africa0.7
ShonaNiger–Congo, BantuShonaSouthMozambique, Zimbabwe10.6
SothoNiger–Congo, BantuSothoSouthLesotho, South Africa5.3
SwaziNiger-Congo, Bantu, NguniSwaziSouthSwaziland, South Africa, Mozambique3.5
TsongaNiger-Congo, Bantu, NguniSwaziSouthSwaziland, South Africa, Mozambique5.5
TswanaNiger–Congo, BantuTswanaSouthBotswana, South Africa4.5
VendaNiger–Congo, BantuVendaSouthSouth Africa, Zimbabwe1
XhosaNiger-Congo, Bantu, NguniXhosaSouthSouth Africa7.9
ZuluNiger-Congo, Bantu, NguniZuluSouthSouth Africa10.6

West Africa[edit]

NameFamilyLanguageRegionCountryPopulation (million)Notes
AkanNiger–Congo, KwaAkanWestSouth Ghana, Ivory Coast20An ethnic group of related sub-groups. The largest subgroups are the Ashanti and the Fante
Aku(Creole)AkuWestGambia0.01
BakaNiger Congo, UbangianBakaWest/CentralSoutheastern Cameroon, Northern Congo, Northern Gabon0.3-0.4The Baka are also known as Bebayaka, Bebayaga, or Bibaya, or (along with the other Mbenga peoples) the derogatory Babinga.
BambaraNiger–Congo, MandeBambaraWestMali3
BasaaNiger–Congo, BantuBasaaWestCameroon0.2
BassaNiger–Congo, KruBassaWestLiberia0.3
Beti-PahuinNiger–Congo, BantuEwondo, Fang, BuluWestCameroon, Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, São Tomé and Príncipe3.3group of 20 sub-ethnicities
BiafadaNiger–CongoBiafadaWestSenegal, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau0.04
Mole-DagbaniNiger–Congo, GurDagbaniWestGhana, Burkina Faso8.6Dagomba, Mamprusi, Nanumba, Mossi, Gurma
DendiNiger–CongoDendiWestBenin0.1
Edo (also called Bini or Benin)Niger–Congo, EdoEdoWestNigeria1.6
EfikNiger–Congo, Cross RiverIbibio-EfikWestNigeria, Cameroon, Southern Cameroons0.5
EketNiger–Congo, Cross RiverEket (Ibibio dialect)WestNigeria, Cameroon, Southern Cameroons0.3
EsanNiger–Congo, KwaEsanWestNigeria0.5
EweNiger–Congo, GbeEweWestTogo, Benin, Nigeria, Volta Region (British Togoland), Togoland4.8
FonNiger–CongoFonWestBenin, Nigeria3.5
FulaniNiger–Congo, SenegambianFulaWestGuinea, Nigeria, Cameroon, Senegal, Mali, Sierra Leone Central African Republic, Burkina Faso, Benin, Niger, Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Chad, Mauritania, Sudan, Togo, Ivory Coast27
GaNiger–Congo, KwaGa, Ga-AdangmeWestTogo, Greater Accra2
GwariWestNigeria1
HausaAfro-Asiatic, ChadicHausaWest/NorthernNigeria, Niger, Ghana, Benin, Chad, Cameroon, Sudan30-35
Igbo (Ibo)Niger–Congo, Volta–NigerIgboWestNigeria, Cameroon, Sierra Leone, Equatorial Guinea15-30[14]Includes various subgroups.
IjawNiger–Congo, IjoidIjawWestNigeria14[5]Sub-groups include Andoni, Ibani, Kalabari, Nembe, Ogbia and Okrika.
JolaNiger–Congo, SenegambianJola, KriolWestSenegal, The Gambia, Guinea-Bissau0.5
KanuriNilo-Saharan, Western SaharanKanuriChad BasinNigeria,[5] Niger,[6] Cameroon,[8] Chad[7]10
MandéNiger–Congo, MandeMandingoWest/CentralThe Gambia, Guinea, Mali, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Liberia, Guinea Bissau, Ghana, Benin, Niger, Nigeria, Mauritania, Chad13
MarkaNiger–Congo, MandeMarkaWest/NorthernMali0.4
MendeNiger–Congo, MandeMendeWestSierra-Leone2
PapelNiger–CongoPapelWestSenegal, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau0.1
SererNiger–Congo, SenegambianSerer, CanginWestFound mostly in Senegal and The Gambia. Small number Mauritania. Also found in the West.1.9[15][16]The Serer people include: Serer-Sine, Serer-Safene, Serer-Ndut, Serer-Palor, Serer-Niominka, Serer-Laalaa, Serer-Noon. Apart from the Serer-Sine, they speak Cangin languages rather than Serer.
Songhai[6]Nilo-SaharanSonghaiWestMali5
TivNiger–Congo, BantuTivWestNigeria, Cameroon2
UrhoboNiger–Congo, Volta–NigerUrhoboWestNigeria1-1.5
WolofNiger–Congo, SenegambianWolofWestSenegal, The Gambia, Mauritania4
YorubaNiger–Congo, Volta–NigerYorubaWestNigeria, Benin, Togo, Ghana, Ivory Coast[17] Sierra Leone[18]38
Zarma[6][19]Nilo-SaharanZarmaWestNiger5

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Cohen, Robin (1995). The Cambridge Survey of World Migration. Cambridge University Press. p. 197. ISBN 052-1-4440-55.  Wickens, Gerald E; Lowe, Pat (2008). The Baobabs: Pachycauls of Africa, Madagascar and Australia. Springer Science+Business Media. 2008. p. 360. ISBN 978-1-4020-6431-9. 
  2. ^ Onuah, Felix (29 December 2006). "Nigeria gives census result, avoids risky details". Reuters. Retrieved 2008-11-23. 
  3. ^ Lewis, Peter (2007). Growing Apart: Oil, Politics, and Economic Change in Indonesia and Nigeria. University of Michigan Press. p. 132. ISBN 0-472-06980-2. Retrieved 2008-11-23. 
  4. ^ Suberu, Rotimi T. (2001). Federalism and Ethnic Conflict in Nigeria. US Institute of Peace Press. p. 154. ISBN 1-929223-28-5. Retrieved 2008-12-18. 
  5. ^ a b c d "The World Factbook: Nigeria". World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency. Retrieved 2013-12-31. 
  6. ^ a b c d e "The World Factbook: Niger". World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency. Retrieved 2013-12-31. 
  7. ^ a b c d "The World Factbook: Chad". World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency. Retrieved 2013-12-31. 
  8. ^ a b c Peter Austin, One Thousand Languages (2008), p. 75, books.google.com/books?isbn=0520255607:"Kanuri is a major Saharan language spoken in the Lake Chad Basin in the Borno area of northeastern Nigeria, as well as in Niger, Cameroon, and Chad (where the variety is known as Kanembul[)]."
  9. ^ a b c "The World Factbook: Central African Republic". World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency. Retrieved 2013-12-31. 
  10. ^ Stefan Goodwin, Africas Legacies Of Urbanization (2006),p. 191, books.google.com/books?isbn=0739133489:"...and further west the even more numerous Sara [western Central African Republic, southern Chad, and northern Cameroon."
  11. ^ Peoples of Africa: Burkina Faso-Comoros - Volume 2 (2001), p. 86, books.google.com/books?isbn=076147160X:"The Central African Republic is a land of many different peoples... The Sara (SAHR) live in the grain-growing lands of the north as well as across the border in Chad."
  12. ^ a b c d "The World Factbook: South Sudan". World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency. Retrieved 2013-12-31. 
  13. ^ a b "The World Factbook: Sudan". World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency. Retrieved 2013-12-31. 
  14. ^ Sources vary widely about the population. Mushanga, p. 166, says "over 20 million"; Nzewi (quoted in Agawu), p. 31, says "about 15 million"; Okafor, p. 86, says "about twenty-five million"; Okpala, p. 21, says "around 30 million"; and Smith, p. 508, says "approximately 20 million".
  15. ^ Agence Nationale de la Statistique et de la Démographie. In Senegal alone, estimated figure for 2007 is 1,840,712.1
  16. ^ Gambia keep poor records of its ethnic minorities. Estimated Gambian figure is 31,900 (2006) Ethnologue.com
  17. ^ Joshua Project. "Yoruba". United States Center for World Mission. Retrieved March 3, 2014. 
  18. ^ National African Language Resource Center. "Yoruba" (pdf). Indiana University. Retrieved March 3, 2014. 
  19. ^ "The World Factbook: Sudan". World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency. Retrieved 2013-12-31.