Ethnic Origin

The concept of ethnic origin is an attempt to classify people, not according to their current nationality, but according to commonalities in their social background. For example somebody living in a monocultural environment, speaking English for example and clearly a member of an English-speaking cultural milieu, may be descended from immigrants speaking some other language and still participate in some of aspects their culture.

Ethnic origin implies one or more of the following:

  • shared origins or social background;
  • shared culture and traditions that are distinctive, maintained between generations, and lead to a sense of identity and group;
  • a common language
  • a common religious tradition.

Ethnic origin has become a popular classification in statistics, where the concept of races has been largely discarded since World War II, for various reasons. A reaction against the abuses of the Nazis and apartheid made it hard to collect, store or publish racial data. Social scientists in general have lost interest in race as useful concept of study, with many other differences between population groups more significant. However the relative prosperity of distinguishable groups remain of interest in public policy discussions.

In the US, however, the use of the term race is still current. The census asks questions about race, though the classification used is no different from what would be termed ethnic origin elsewhere.

The concept of ethnic origin in practice may seem arbitrary and without a rigorous definition of how to assign a person to the particular categories. If a person was asked for their ethnic origin and answered "how do I tell what ethnic origin I am?" it may not be clear whether they are being asked for: their country of birth, the country of birth of their parents, or more distant ancestors (how distant?), or for a description of their appearance, such as skin colour or hair type, or for their cultural behaviour such as food, clothing, language and the people they associate with. The answers to these questions may be contradictory and suggest different ethnic origins.

The answer of interest to the questioner is probably whether the person considers themselves to be a member of a particular ethnic subdivision of society, or are considered a member of a such a group by others. This would affect whether they were possibly subject to discrimination etc. However the question is still open to interpretation, since a person may be identified differently depending on the mode of contact, e.g., considering outward appearance such as skin colour or clothing, name, or use of written or oral language, etc. This raises the question of whether ethnic origin is just another term for ethnic group.

Other articles related to "ethnic origin, origin, ethnic origins, ethnic":

Livada, Satu Mare - Demographics
... a total population of 6,639 of whom 60.8% were of Hungarian ethnic origin, 35.5% of Romanian ethnic origin and 3.2% Roma ethnic origin Religious affiliations were 31 ...
Lai People - Ethnic Origin - Historical Origin
... third theory is considered more reliable to trace on origin of Lai ... in China in any form proved that the origin of the Lai, which is traced back to China, is possible ... to the legend handed down from generation to generation among the Lai, they traced back their origin to Lailum ...
Abbotsford, British Columbia - Demographics - Ethnicities and Visible Minorities
... This group includes German, Dutch, British, Irish, Scandinavian and Slavic ethnic origins ... Ethnic Origin Population Percent of 156,640* Comments Cornish 10 0.01% English 42,190 26.93% Irish 21,430 13.68% Manx 40 0.03% Scottish 28,695 18.32% Welsh 3,665 2.34 ... Slav (European) 40 0.03% Ethnic groups in Europe, n.i.e.** 260 0.17% Afrikaner 25 0.02% Bantu 10 0.01% Black 140 0.09% Congolese (Zairian) 20 0.01% Congolese ...
Serbs Of Toronto - Demographics
... The 2006 census showed that the total of single and multiple ethnic origin responses for Serbian was 25,160 ... Single ethnic origin responses was 17,265 while multiple ethnic origin responses was 7,890 ... The total of single and multiple ethnic origin responses for Yugoslav was 12,685 ...

Famous quotes containing the words origin and/or ethnic:

    Someone had literally run to earth
    In an old cellar hole in a byroad
    The origin of all the family there.
    Thence they were sprung, so numerous a tribe
    That now not all the houses left in town
    Made shift to shelter them without the help
    Of here and there a tent in grove and orchard.
    Robert Frost (1874–1963)

    Caprice, independence and rebellion, which are opposed to the social order, are essential to the good health of an ethnic group. We shall measure the good health of this group by the number of its delinquents. Nothing is more immobilizing than the spirit of deference.
    Jean Dubuffet (1901–1985)