The Largest Ethnic Group in the World: Han Chinese of China
Among the numerous ethnic groups in China, Han Chinese is the largest one. Nearly 91.59% of the Chinese population belongs to the Han Chinese ethnic group. The number of Han Chinese population is approximately 1.2 billion. Predictably, Han Chinese is the largest ethnic group in the world.
Other than the majority Han Chinese, there 55 other recognized ethnic groups in mainland China. The other groups have a collective population of approximately 105 million. Most of the minor ethnic groups in China are mainly concentrated in the northwest, north, northeast, south, and southwest regions of China. Some of them have presence in central and interior areas also.
MAIN CHINESE ETHNIC GROUPS
Among the numerous minority ethnic groups in China, the most prominent are: Zhuang (16.1 million), Manchu (10.6 million), Hui (9.8 million), Miao (8.9 million), Uyghur (8.3 million), Tujia (8 million), Yi (7.7 million), Mongol (5.8 million), Tibetan (5.4 million), Buyei (2.9 million), Dong (2.9 million), Yao (2.6 million), Korean (1.9 million), Bai (1.8 million), Hani (1.4 million), Kazakh (1.2 million), Li (1.2 million), and Dai (1.1 million). The percentage of each of these minor ethnic groups in China to the Chinese population is very miniscule.
HANS CHINESE GROUP ACCOUNTS FOR 20% OF THE WORLD POPULATION
Hans Chinese is the largest ethnic group in the world. Approximately 92% of the population of the People’s Republic of China belongs to the Hans Chinese group. In Taiwan or the Republic of China, nearly 98% of the population is Hans Chinese. Hans Chinese constitutes nearly 78% of the population of Singapore. Hans Chinese accounts for approximately 20% of the world population.
There are many subgroups of the Han Chinese and these subgroups maintain considerable diversities arising out of genetic, linguistic, cultural and other social peculiarities. This is primarily due to the immigration and assimilation of various regional ethnicities and tribes within China. Many members of the Han Chinese and other groups call themselves "Descendants of the Yan Di (Yan Emperor) and Huang Di (Yellow Emperor)".
Map of ethnolinguistic groups in mainland China and Taiwan (Han is in brown)
‘HAN’ FROM HAN DYNASTY
The word ‘Han’ is from the Han Dynasty. The Qin Dynasty ruled for a short period and was succeeded by the Han Dynasty's. The first emperor of the Han Dynasty was originally the king of the region called 'Han Zhong'. This is the origin and source of the name Han. Literally, the word ‘Han’ in classical Chinese means the ‘Milky Way’ or the "Heavenly River".
The period of the Han Dynasty is considered a high point in Chinese civilization. Before the advent of the Han Dynasty, the Chinese were referred to as "Huaxia people". During the rule of the Han Dynasty, Chinese civilization flourished extensively and it could exert its influence in Central, Southeast and Northeast Asia. The Han Dynasty and the Chinese civilization grew in rival even with the contemporary Roman Empire in wealth, power and population. In consequence, the Han Dynasty's rose to prominence many Chinese considered it an honor to be known as the "people of Han". Since then the name Han was carried down to subsequent generations.
JACKIE CHAN, a member of the Han Chinese
HAN IN MAINLAND CHINA, MACAU AND HONG KONG
Approximately 1.2 billion Han Chinese live in the People's Republic of China (PRC). They constitute 92% of the population of the PRC. Han Chinese people are in majority in every province, municipality, and autonomous region with in the PRC. However, in the autonomous regions of Xinjiang (41% as of 2000) and Tibet (6% as of 2000), they are a minority. Around 95% of the population of Hong Kong and 96% of the population of Macau are Han Chinese.
HAN CHINESE IN TAIWAN
It is estimated that in Taiwan the Han Chinese population is close to 22 million. Han Chinese population from the coastal Chinese provinces migrated to Taiwan around 17th century. They chose locations which had geographical resemblance to the places they came from. In due course these groups got mixed with each other through intermarriages and cultural assimilation. Recent studies conducted by Chen Shun-sheng of the Kaohsiung Hospital’s psychiatric department have revealed that most of the Taiwan people are of a mixed descent of aboriginal bloodlines and Han Chinese.