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The ethnic groups of Africa number in the thousands, with each population generally having its own
language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the ...
(or
dialect The term dialect (from Latin , , from the Ancient Greek word , 'discourse', from , 'through' and , 'I speak') can refer to either of two distinctly different types of Linguistics, linguistic phenomena: * One usage refers to a variety (linguis ...
of a language) and
culture Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior and Norm (social), norms found in human Society, societies, as well as the knowledge, beliefs, arts, laws, Social norm, customs, capabilities, and habits of the individuals i ...

culture
. The ethnolinguistic groups include various
Afroasiatic Afroasiatic (Afro-Asiatic), also known as Afrasian or Hamito-Semitic or Semito-Hamitic, is a large language family A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech ( spoken language), gestures (Signed lang ...

Afroasiatic
,
Khoisan Khoisan , or (), according to the contemporary Khoekhoegowab The Khoekhoe language (), also known by the ethnic terms Nama (''Namagowab'') , Damara (''ǂNūkhoegowab''), or Nama/Damara and formerly as Hottentot, is the most widespread ...

Khoisan
, Niger-Congo and
Nilo-Saharan The Nilo-Saharan languages are a proposed family of African languages The languages of Africa are divided into several major Language family, language families: *Niger–Congo languages, Niger–Congo or perhaps Atlantic–Congo languages (in ...
populations. The official population count of the various ethnic groups in Africa is highly uncertain, both due to limited infrastructure to perform censuses and due to the rapid population growth. There have also been accusations of deliberate misreporting in order to give selected ethnicities numerical superiority (as in the case of Nigeria's Hausa, Fulani, Yoruba and Igbo people). A 2009 genetic clustering study, which genotyped 1327 polymorphic markers in various African populations, identified six ancestral clusters. The clustering corresponded closely with ethnicity, culture and language. A 2018
whole genome sequencing Whole genome sequencing (WGS), also known as full genome sequencing, complete genome sequencing, or entire genome sequencing, is the process of determining the entirety, or nearly the entirety, of the DNA The structure of part of a DNA do ...
study of the world's populations observed similar clusters among the populations in Africa. At K=9, distinct ancestral components defined the
Afroasiatic Afroasiatic (Afro-Asiatic), also known as Afrasian or Hamito-Semitic or Semito-Hamitic, is a large language family A language is a structured system of communication used by humans, including speech ( spoken language), gestures (Signed lang ...

Afroasiatic
-speaking populations inhabiting
North Africa North Africa or Northern Africa is a region encompassing the northern portion of the African continent. There is no singularly accepted scope for the region, and it is sometimes defined as stretching from the Atlantic shores of Mauritania in th ...

North Africa
and
Northeast Africa Northeast Africa, or ''Northeastern Africa'' or Northern East Africa as it was known in the past, is a geographic regional term used to refer to the countries of Africa Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous , after ...
; the
Nilo-Saharan The Nilo-Saharan languages are a proposed family of African languages The languages of Africa are divided into several major Language family, language families: *Niger–Congo languages, Niger–Congo or perhaps Atlantic–Congo languages (in ...
-speaking populations in Northeast Africa and
East Africa East Africa, Eastern Africa, or East of Africa is the eastern sub-region A subregion is a part of a larger region or continent and is usually based on location. Cardinal directions, such as south or southern, are commonly used to define a subr ...
; the
Ari Ari may refer to: People and fictional characters * Ari (name) Ari is a given name in many languages and cultures, for both men and women. It also may be a nickname for a wide variety of unrelated names. Etymology Albanian In Albanian Languag ...
populations in Northeast Africa; the Niger-Congo-speaking populations in West-Central Africa,
West Africa West Africa or Western Africa is the westernmost region of Africa. The United Nations defines Western Africa as the 17 countries of Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania ...

West Africa
, East Africa and
Southern Africa Southern Africa is the south South is one of the cardinal directions or compass points. South is the opposite of north and is perpendicular to the east and west. Etymology The word ''south'' comes from Old English ''sūþ'', from earlier Pr ...
; the
Pygmy In anthropology Anthropology is the scientific study of human Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most abundant and widespread species In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, incl ...
populations in
Central Africa Central Africa is a subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhab ...

Central Africa
; and the
Khoisan Khoisan , or (), according to the contemporary Khoekhoegowab The Khoekhoe language (), also known by the ethnic terms Nama (''Namagowab'') , Damara (''ǂNūkhoegowab''), or Nama/Damara and formerly as Hottentot, is the most widespread ...

Khoisan
populations in Southern Africa.


Lists


By linguistic phylum

As a first overview, the following table lists major groups by ethno-linguistic affiliation, with rough population estimates (as of 2016) :


Major ethnic groups

The following is a table of major ethnic groups (10 million people or more):


See also

* * * * * * * * * *


References

{{DEFAULTSORT:African Ethnic Groups
Ethnic groups An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people who identity (social science), identify with each other on the basis of shared attributes that distinguish them from other groups. Those attributes can include common sets of traditions, ances ...
Africa Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent A continent is any of several large landmass A landmass, or land mass, is a large region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', ...
de:Liste afrikanischer Sprachen