Ethnic groups in Nepal

Ethnic groups in Nepal are a product of both the colonial and state-building eras of Nepal. The groups are delineated using language, ethnic identity or the caste system in Nepal. They are categorized by common culture and endogamy. Endogamy carves out ethnic groups in Nepal.[citation needed]

Caste groups of Nepal (2022)[1]

  Chhetri (Khas) (16.59%)
  Brahman (Khas) (12.17%)
  Magar (7.12%)
  Tharu (6.56%)
  Tamang (5.81%)
  Newar (4.99%)
  Kami (4.75%)
  Nepalese Muslims (4.39%)
  Yadav (3.98%)
  Rai (2.34%)
  Gurung (1.97%)
  Damai (1.78%)
  Thakuri (Khas) (1.61%)
  Limbu (1.46%)
  Sarki (1.41%)
  Sharma (1.40%)
  Chamar (1.27%)
  Thakur (1.16%)
  Madheshi (12.07%)
  Other Adivasi/Janajati (4.67%)
  Other Khas (1.08%)
  Others (1.42%)
Nepal ethnic groups
Magar girls in ethnic dress. Magars are the most populous Janajati group in Nepal.
Nepali Gurkhas, the warriors of Nepal

Linguistic groupsEdit

 Gurung people from central Nepal playing one of their traditional drums, Khaijadi.

Nepal's diverse linguistic heritage evolved from three major language groups: Indo-Aryan, Tibeto-Burman languages, and various indigenous language isolates. According to the 2001 national census, 92 different living languages are spoken in Nepal (a 93rd category was "unspecified"). Based upon the 2011 census, the three major languages spoken in Nepal are Nepali, Maithili and Bhojpuri.[2]

Since Nepal's unification, various Nepalese ethnic group became united despite western attempt at instigating chaos. Tribhuvan University began surveying and recording threatened languages in 2010 and the government intends to use this information to include more languages on the next Nepalese census.[3]

Social statusEdit

 
Sunuwar, a division of Kirati people; one of the largest ethnic groups in Eastern Nepal

Hill Hindus of upper caste status i.e., Khas people (Brahmin/Bahun and Chhetri castes) and the upper-caste segments of Newars dominated the civil service, the judiciary and upper ranks of the army throughout the Shah regime (1768–2008). Nepali was the national language and Sanskrit became a required school subject. Children who spoke Nepali natively and who were exposed to Sanskrit had much better chances of passing the national examinations at the end of high school, which meant they had better employment prospects and could continue into higher education. Caste system, prevalent among Hindus, was made illegal in 1961 by Naya Muluki ain. [4][5][6][7][8]

List of ethnic / caste-groups in Nepal by populationEdit

The population wise ranking of 125 Nepalese castes groups as per 2011 Nepal census.[9][10][note 1][11]

Rank Caste & Tribal groups Broad Ethnic Category Population (2011) Percentage (%)
1 Khas Chhetri Khas 4,398,053 16.6
2 Hill Brahmin/Bahun Khas 3,226,903 12.18
3 Magar Janajati 1,887,733 7.12
4 Tharu Janajati 1,737,470 6.56
5 Tamang Janajati 1,539,830 5.81
6 Newar Janajati 1,321,933 4.99
7 Kami Khas (Dalit) 1,258,554 4.75
8 Musalman/Nepali Muslims Muslim 1,164,255 4.39
9 Yadav Madhesi (Middle) 1,054,458 3.98
10 Rai Janajati 690,989 2.34
11 Gurung Janajati 522,641 1.97
12 Damai/Dholi Khas (Dalit) 472,862 1.78
13 Thakuri Royal People 425,623 1.61
14 Limbu Janajati 387,300 1.46
15 Sarki Khas (Dalit) 374,816 1.41
16 SharmaBadhaee Tarai Brahman Madhesi (High) 369,688 1.4
17 Chamar/Harijan/Ram Madhesi (Dalit) 335,893 1.27
18 Kushwaha Madhesi (High) 306,393 1.16
19 Musahar Madhesi (Dalit) 234,490 0.89
20 Kurmi Madhesi (Middle) 231,129 0.87
21 Sanyasi/Dasnami Khas 227,822 0.86
22 Dhanuk Madhesi (low) 219,808 0.83
23 Kanu/Haluwai Madhesi (Middle) 209,053 0.79
24 Dusadh/Pasawan/Pasi Madhesi (Dalit) 208,910 0.79
25 Mallaha Madhesi (Low) 173,261 0.65
26 Kewat Madhesi (Middle) 153,772 0.58
27 Kathbaniya Madhesi (Middle) 138,637 0.52
28 Brahmin-Terai

(Maithil, Kanyakubja, Sharma

Maithil Brahmin (High) 134,106 0.51
29 Kalwar Madhesi (Middle) 128,232 0.48
30 Teli Madhesi (Low) 126,000 0.46
31 Kumal Janajati 121,196 0.45
32 Bhujel Janajati 118,650 0.44
33 Hajam/Thakur Madhesi (Low) 117,758 0.43
34 Rajbanshi Janajati 115,242 0.43
35 Sherpa Janajati 112,946 0.41
36 Dhobi Madhesi (Dalit) 109,079 0.4
37 Tatma/Tatwa Madhesi (Dalit) 104,865 0.38
38 Lohar Madhesi (Middle) 101,421 0.38
39 Khatwe Madhesi (Dalit) 100,921 0.35
40 Sudhi Madhesi (Middle) 93,115 0.32
41 Danuwar Janajati 84,115 0.32
42 Majhi Janajati 83,727 0.3
43 Barai Madhesi (Middle) 80,597 0.28
44 Bin Madhesi (Low) 75,195 0.27
45 Nuniya Madhesi (middle) 70,540 0.26
46 Chepang Tibetans 68,399 0.24
47 Sonar Madhesi (Middle) 64,335 0.24
48 Kumhar Madhesi (Low) 62,399 0.21
49 Sunuwar Janajati 55,712 0.21
50 Bantar/Sardar Madhesi (Dalit) 55,104 0.2
51 Kahar Madhesi (Low) 53,159 0.2
52 Santhal Janajati 51,735 0.19
53 Marwadi Others 51,443 0.17
54 Kayastha Madhesi (High) 44,304 0.16
55 Rajput/Terai Kshetriya Madhesi (High) 41,972 0.15
56 Badi Khas (Dalit) 38,603 0.14
57 Jhangar/Uraon Janajati 37,424 0.14
58 Gangai Janajati 36,988 0.12
59 Lodh Madhesi (High) 32,837 0.11
60 Badhaee Madhesi (High) 28,932 0.11
61 Thami Janajati 28,671 0.11
62 Kulung Janajati 28,613 0.1
63 Bengali Others 26,582 0.1
64 Gaderi/Bhediyar/Gangajali Madhesi (High) 26,375 0.1
65 Dhimal Janajati 26,298 0.09
66 Yakkha Janajati 24,336 0.09
67 Ghale Janajati 22,881 0.07
68 Tajpuriya Janajati 19,213 0.07
69 Khawas Janajati 18,513 0.06
70 Darai Janajati 16,789 0.06
71 Mali Madhesi (Low) 14,995 0.06
72 Dhuniya Madhesi (Low) 14,846 0.05
73 Pahari Janajati 13,615 0.05
74 Rajdhob Madhesi (Low) 13,422 0.05
75 Bhote Tibetans 13,397 0.05
76 Dom Madhesi (Dalit) 13,268 0.05
77 Thakali Janajati 13,215 0.05
78 Kori Madhesi (Dalit) 12,276 0.04
79 Chhantyal Janajati 11,810 0.04
80 Hyolmo Tibetans 10,752 0.04
81 Bote Janajati 10,397 0.04
82 Rajbhar Madhesi (Low) 9,542 0.03
83 Brahmu/Baramo Janajati 8,140 0.03
84 Punjabi Others 7,176 0.03
85 Nachhring Janajati 7,154 0.03
86 Yamphu Janajati 6,933 0.03
87 Gaine Khas (Dalit) 6,791 0.03
88 Chamling Janajati 6,668 0.02
89 Athpahariya Janajati 5,977 0.02
90 Jirel Janajati 5,774 0.02
91 Dura Janajati 5,394 0.02
92 Sarabaria Madhesi (Dalit) 4,906 0.02
93 Meche Janajati 4,867 0.02
94 Bantaba Janajati 4,604 0.02
95 Raji Janajati 4,235 0.02
96 Dolpo Janajati 4,107 0.02
97 Halkhor Madhesi (Dalit) 4,003 0.01
98 Byansi/Sauka Janajati 3,895 0.01
99 Amat Madhesi (Low) 3,830 0.01
100 Thulung Janajati 3,535 0.01
101 Lepcha Janajati 3,445 0.01
102 Pathakatta/Kushwadia Janajati 3,182 0.01
103 Mewahang Janajati 3,100 0.01
104 Bahing Janajati 3,096 0.01
105 Natuwa Madhesi (Dalit) 3,062 0.01
106 Hayu Janajati 2,925 0.01
107 Dhankar/Dharikar Madhesi (Dalit) 2,681 0.01
108 Lhopa Janajati 2,624 0.01
109 Munda Janajati 2,350 0.01
110 Dev Madhesi (High) 2,147 0.01
111 Dhandi Madhesi (Dalit) 1,982 0.01
112 Kamar Madhesi (Low) 1,787 0.01
113 Kisan Janajati 1,739 0.01
114 Sampang Janajati 1,681 0.01
115 Koche Janajati 1,635 0.01
116 Lhomi Janajati 1,614 0.01
117 Khaling Janajati 1,571 0.01
118 Topkegola Janajati 1,523 0
119 Chidimar Janajati 1,254 0
120 Walung Janajati 1,249 0
121 Lohorung Janajati 1,153 0
122 Kalar Madhesi (low) 1,077 0
123 Raute Janajati 618 0
124 Nurang Madhesi (Low) 278 0
125 Kusunda Janajati 273 0.03
274 Bhumihar Madhesi(high) 330,483.25 1.00
Foreigners 6,651 1.04
Others/Undefined 275,670 1.04%
Total 26,494,504 100.00%
Broad Ethnic Categories of Nepal (2011 Census)[9]
Rank Broad Ethnic Category Sub-Category Sub-Category

Percentage

Linguistic family Population

Percentage

1 Khas / Khas-Aryan

(Hill Caste Group)

Khas Chhetri 16.60% Indo-Aryan 39.37%
Khas Bahun 12.18%
Khas Dalit 8.12%
Khas Thakuri 1.61%
Khas Dashnami 0.86%
2 Adibasi & Janajati Hill: Sherpas, Tamangs, Magars, Ghale, Kirat (Rai, Limbu, Sunuwar),Gurungs etc. 22.28% Sino-Tibetan 30.81%
Terai: Tharu, Rajbanshi, Dhimal, etc 8.53% Indo-Aryan and Sino-Tibetan
3 Newars

(Janajati as per government census and Public service commission)

Newar (Middle) 3.1% Indo-Aryan and Sino-Tibetan 5.5%
Newar (Low) 0.4%
Newar (Buddhists) 0.8%
Newar (High-Hindus) 1.1%
4 Madhesi

(Terai Caste Group)

Madhesi (Middle) 9.97% Indo-Aryan 23.43%
Madhesi (Dalit) 4.50%
Madhesi (Muslim) 4.39%
Madhesi (Low) 3.86%
Madhesi (High) 2.5%
5 Other

(Marwadi, Bengali and Punjabi)

Indo-Aryan 0.32%
6 Undefined and Foreigners 1.07%
Total 100%

ReferencesEdit

FootnotesEdit

  1. ^ Pages 191/192 of the total pdf or pages 156/157 in the scanned material shows Nepalese castes/ethnic groups

NotesEdit

  1. ^ "South Asia ::NEPAL". CIA The World Factbook.
  2. ^ "Official Summary of Census" (PDF). Central Bureau of Statistics, Nepal. 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 December 2012.
  3. ^ Tumbahang, Govinda Bahadur (2010). "Marginalization of indigenous languages of Nepal". Contributions to Nepalese Studies. 37: 69 – via Expanded Academic.
  4. ^ "OCHA Nepal – Situation Overview" (PDF). Issue 12. OCHA. April 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on 13 November 2009. Retrieved 2011-05-07. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  5. ^ "OCHA Nepal – Situation Overview" (PDF). Issue 16. OCHA. July–August 2007. Retrieved 2011-05-07. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  6. ^ "OCHA Nepal – Situation Overview" (PDF). Issue 30. OCHA. June–July 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on 18 February 2010. Retrieved 2011-05-07. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  7. ^ Sharma, Hari (2010-11-18). "Body of murder victim found in Gulmi". Gulmi: The Himalayan Times online. Archived from the original on 25 May 2012. Retrieved 2011-05-07.
  8. ^ Hatlebakk, Magnus (2007). "Economic and social structures that may explain the recent conflicts in the Terai of Nepal" (PDF). Kathmandu: Norwegian Embassy. Retrieved 2011-05-08.
  9. ^ a b "Population Monograph of Nepal Volume II (Social Demography)" (PDF).
  10. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-09-18. Retrieved 2018-06-30.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^ "Nepal Census 2011" (PDF).