Ethnic groups in the Middle East

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Ethnolinguistic distribution in Central and Southwest Asia of the Altaic, Caucasian, Afroasiatic (Hamito-Semitic) and Indo-European families.

Ethnic groups in the Middle East, in the 'transcontinental' region which is commonly a geopolitical term designating the intercontinental region comprising West Asia (including Cyprus) without the South Caucasus,[1] and also comprising Egypt in North Africa. The region has historically been a crossroad of different cultures and languages.[2] Since the 1960s, the changes in political and economic factors (especially the enormous oil wealth in the region and conflicts) have significantly altered the ethnic composition of groups in the region. While some ethnic groups have been present in the region for millennia, others have arrived fairly recently through immigration. The largest socioethnic groups in the region are Arabs, Turks, Persians, Kurds, and Azerbaijanis[3] but there are dozens of other ethnic groups that have hundreds of thousands, and sometimes millions of members.

Other indigenous, religious, or minority ethnic groups include: Assyrians, Armenians, Baloch, Coptic Christians, Cappadocian Greeks, Cypriots, Druze, Gilaks, Greeks, Jews, Kawliya, Laz, Lurs, Mandaeans, Maronites, Mazanderanis, Mhallami, Nawar, Pontic Greeks, Rūm Christians, Samaritans, Shabaks, Talysh, Tats, Kurds and Zazas.

Diaspora ethnic groups living in the region include: Albanians, Bengalis, Britons, Bosniaks, Chinese, Circassians, Crimean Tatars, Jews, Filipinos, French people, Georgians, Indians, Indonesians, Kawliya, Italians, Malays, Malayali, Pakistanis, Pashtuns, Punjabis, Romani, Sikhs, Sindhis, Somalis, Sri Lankans, Turkmens, and Sub-Saharan Africans.


Countries Demographics
 Bahrain Ethnic groups in Bahrain
 Cyprus Ethnic groups in Cyprus
 Egypt Ethnic groups in Egypt
 Iran Ethnic groups in Iran
 Iraq Ethnic groups in Iraq
 Israel Ethnic groups in Israel
 Jordan Ethnic groups in Jordan
 Kuwait Ethnic groups in Kuwait
 Lebanon Ethnic groups in Lebanon
 Oman Ethnic groups in Oman
 Palestine Ethnic groups in Palestine
 Qatar Ethnic groups in Qatar
 Saudi Arabia Ethnic groups in Saudi Arabia
 Syria Ethnic groups in Syria
 Turkey Ethnic groups in Turkey
 United Arab Emirates Ethnic groups in the United Arab Emirates
 Yemen Ethnic groups in Yemen

Middle East[edit]

Sub-Saharan Africans
Syriac-speaking peoples
Indo-European peoples
Turkic peoples


Ethnic map of Asia Minor and Caucasus in 1914
Indo-European peoples
Kartvelian peoples
Turkic peoples


Iranian Plateau[edit]

Geographic distribution of modern Iranian languages
Indo-European peoples
Kartvelian peoples
Turkic peoples
Peoples of the Caucasus in Iran

Diaspora populations[edit]

Because of the low population of many of the Arab States of the Persian Gulf and the demand for labor created by the large discoveries of oil in these countries there has been a steady stream of immigration to the region (mainly from South Asia). Ethnic groups which comprise the largest portions of this immigration include Afghans, Bengalis, Britons, Chinese, Filipinos, Indians, Indonesians, Malays, Nepalis, Pakistanis, Punjabis, Sikhs, Sindhis, Somalis, Sri Lankans, and Sub-Saharan Africans. Many of these people are denied certain political and legal rights in the countries in which they live and frequently face mistreatment by the native-born citizens of the host countries.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Middle East",
  2. ^ "Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures",
  3. ^ Ethnic Groups of Africa and the Middle East: An Encyclopedia. Retrieved 26 May 2014.