Quilts of Southwest China: Ethnic Minority Groups


The People’s Republic of China officially recognizes 56 ethnic groups within China. The Han ethnic group is the largest, accounting for over 90% of the roughly 1.3 billion Chinese citizens. The largest minority ethnic group is the Zhuang (nearly 17 million), who live mostly in the mountainous regions of southwest China (shown in pink above). Other large ethnic groups in this same region include the Miao, often referred to in the West as Hmong (9.4 million), Dong (2.8 million), Buyi (2.8 million),Yao (2.7 million), Bai (1.9 million), and Dai (1.2 million). Many of these ethnic groups have distinctive sub-groups, for instance, the “Red” Miao or the “Baiku” (White Trouser) Yao. 

The Chinese provinces of Guangxi, Guizhou, and Yunnan form the heart of southwest China and are where most of the country's ethnic minority groups are concentrated.

中华人民共和国官方认定的民族有56个。其中汉民族是最大的,占中国13亿人口的90%以上。在少数民族中人口最多的是壮族,根据2011年的统计数据,壮族人口将近有1700万,他们主要居住在中国西南地区。这一地区的其他人口比较多的少数民族包括苗族(940万)、侗族(280万)、布依族(280 万)、瑶族(270万)、白族(190万) 和傣族(120万)。

Next: Scenes from Ethnic Minority Life