Indigenous peoples of Europe

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The ethnic groups in Europe are the various ethnic groups that reside in the nations of Europe. European ethnology is the field of anthropology focusing on Europe.

Pan and Pfeil (2004) count 87 distinct "peoples of Europe", of which 33 form the majority population in at least one sovereign state, while the remaining 54 constitute ethnic minorities. The total number of national minority populations in Europe is estimated at 105 million people, or 14% of 770 million Europeans.

There is no precise or universally accepted definition of the terms "ethnic group" or "nationality". In the context of European ethnography in particular, the terms ethnic group, people (without nation state), nationality, national minority, ethnic minority, linguistic community, linguistic group and linguistic minority are used as mostly synonymous, although preference may vary in usage with respect to the situation specific to the individual countries of Europe.


Further information: Demographics of Europe

There are eight peoples of Europe (defined by their language) with more than 30 million members residing in Europe:

  1. the Russians (ca. 95 million residing in Europe),
  2. the Germans (ca. 82 million),
  3. the French (ca. 65 million)
  4. the Italians (56–61 million)
  5. the British (55–61 million)
  6. the Spanish (41–43 million),
  7. the Ukrainians (38–55 million),
  8. the Poles (ca. 38 million).

These eight groups between themselves account for some 465 million or about 65% of European population.

About 20–25 million residents (3%) are members of diasporas of non-European origin. The population of the European Union, with some five hundred million residents, accounts for two thirds of the European population.

Both Spain and the UK are special cases, in that the designation of nationality, Spanish and British, may controversially take ethnic aspects, subsuming various regional ethnic groups, see nationalisms and regionalisms of Spain and native populations of the United Kingdom. Switzerland is a similar case, but the linguistic subgroups of the Swiss are not usually discussed in terms of ethnicity, and Switzerland is considered a "multi-lingual state" rather than a "multi-ethnic state".

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