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Asia: Asian Population



The People

The people of Asia belong to a large variety of ethnic groups. India itself is made up of several hundred groups. India's ethnic composition is so complex that the people generally identify themselves by their religion rather than their ethnic group. A few countries, notably North Korea, South Korea, and Japan, are among the world's most ethnically homogeneous (made up of people belonging to the same ethnic group).
The Chinese are a numerous and important ethnic group in Asia. Outside of China, ethnic Chinese form significant minorities in several Asian countries, including Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Singapore. Some ethnic groups in Asia are in danger of disappearing due to the loss of their homelands to industrialization and urban expansion. Threatened groups include some of the hill tribes of Thailand, Burma, and Laos.


Asia is the largest and most populous of earth's continents and its located in both the northern and eastern hemispheres. Asia comprises a full 30% of the world's land area with 60% of the world's current population. It also has the highest growth rate today, and its population almost quadrupled during the 20th century.

Asia comprises the eastern 4/5 of Eurasia, bounded by the Pacific Ocean on the east, the Indian Ocean on the south and the Arctic Ocean on the north. There are a total of 51 countries in Asia. In 2013, the population of Asia is estimated at 4.48 billion . Russia is excluded from Asia's population, although there are about 40 million Russians who live in Asia, or east of the Ural Mountains.
Asia Population 2014

Asia has the two most populous countries in its borders: China and India. China is currently the most populous country on earth with an estimated population in 2013 of 1,357,379,000. It accounts for 31.69% of Asia's total population. India is not too far behind with an estimated population of 1,257,476,000, accounting for 29.36% of the continent's population. It's estimated that India's population will surpass China's by 2028, when each country will have a population of about 1.45 billion people.


The many hundreds of languages and dialects spoken in Asia represent six of the world's seven major language families. Spoken in eastern Asia are Sino-Tibetan languages and three major languages that do not belong to any language family—Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese. The people of Manchuria, Mongolia, Turkestan, and Turkey, and those who are indigenous to Asian Russia speak languages of the Altaic branch of the Ural-Altaic family.

Indo-Iranian, a subfamily of the Indo-European family, includes languages of Bangladesh, northern India, Nepal, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, and Iran. Malayo-Polynesian languages are spoken in the southeast, Dravidian languages in India and parts of Sri Lanka, and Semitic languages, of the Afro-Asiatic family, in the southwest.


All of the great faiths originated in Asia and have adherents in Asian countries. There are also many regional religions and many groups that are animists or engage in nature worship.

Hindus form the largest single religious group, about one-fifth of the total population. They are concentrated in the Indian subcontinent, where their religion originated. Muslims, a vast majority in southwestern and central Asia, and Confucians, centered in China, are the next most numerous. Buddhism, which has largely disappeared from India, where it began, is prevalent in the Far East and southeastern Asia.

The Philippines is a Christian country. Christians form more than half the population of Cyprus and Lebanon and probably almost half that of Asiatic Russia. They are found in smaller numbers in other countries, especially in the Middle East and in former colonial areas. In the early Christian Era the faith spread to the borders of China. In time, however, the Christian Turks and other Central Asian Christians were converted to Islam. Jews, formerly widespread throughout the Middle East, have largely disappeared from Muslim countries since the founding of the state of Israel. There are still some in Asiatic Russia.

Other major Asian religions include Shintoism, in Japan; Taoism, in China; Sikhism, in India and Pakistan; and Zoroastrianism, originally Persian but now represented mainly by the Parsis in India. Manichaeism, also Persian in origin, rivaled Christianity in strength during the early Middle Ages, but eventually died out.

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