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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 Egyptians,[3] Arabs, Turks, Persians, Kurds, and Azerbaijanis[4] 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: Armenians, Assyrians, Arameans in the Qalamoun Mountains,[5][6][7][8][9][10] Baloch, Copts, Cypriots, Druze, Gilaks, Greeks, Jews, Kawliya, Kurds, Laz, Lurs, Mandaeans, Maronites, Mazanderanis, Mhallami, Nawar, Pontic Greeks, Rūm Christians, Samaritans, Shabaks, Talysh, Tats, Yazidis 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, Romanians, Romani, Serbs, 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[broken anchor]
 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
Aramaic-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", britannica.com, 21 September 2023
  2. ^ "Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures", su.se
  3. ^ "Egypt (12/01)". U.S. Department of State. Retrieved 2024-06-14.
  4. ^ Shoup, John A. (17 October 2011). Ethnic Groups of Africa and the Middle East: An Encyclopedia. Abc-Clio. ISBN 9781598843620. Retrieved 26 May 2014.
  5. ^ اثرنا في الايقليم السوري (in Arabic). 1960. p. 56. السريان في معلولا وجبعدين ولا يزال الأهلون فيها يتكلمون (The Syriacs in Maaloula and Jubb'adin still speak their language.…)
  6. ^ Western Neo-Aramaic The Dialect of Jubaadin (in English and Arabic). Cambridge Scholars Publishing. p. 2. Jubaadinis are very proud of their language and their Aramean identity and they have no trouble at all balancing their religious and ethnic identities.…
  7. ^ ”…The city of Jubaadin in Syria, which is close to Maaloula, is inhabited by Aramaic-speaking people who are Syriac Arameans…“, translated quote from the Arabic book (Atlas of Religions) معلولا السريان
  8. ^ The Semitic Heritage of Northwest Syria, p. 271
  9. ^ “…Maaloula Syriacs have maintained their Syriac identity since ancient times, and there is ample evidence of their Syriac heritage, especially in Maaloula, Ain Tineh, Bakhah, and Jubaadin…“, translated quote from the book إلياس أنطون نصر الله في معلولا, p. 45
  10. ^ "Hilfe für das Aramäerdorf Maaloula e.V. | an aid project in Syria".