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Difference between ethnicity and nationality

The total world population of around 8 billion, made up of people belonging to different groups, cultures, nations, races, etc. Based on nationality and ethnicity, a person can be easily identified, i.e. which country or ethnic group he / she belongs to. Nationality it implies the place of birth of a person, therefore simply the national identity of an individual. On the other hand, the ethnicity reflects the cultural and ancestral identity of a person.

Nationality is used to determine which country a person belongs to, while ethnicity describes the social group to which a person belongs. The article will clarify the meaning and differences between two, so take a look.

Comparative chart

Basis for comparison Race Nationality
Sense Ethnicity refers to the identity of the person in relation to the social, cultural or religious group. Nationality connotes belonging to a person in the country, describing his / her connection with the political state.
Identification basis Language, religion, culture, race, etc. Birth or inheritance
represents Heritage and ancestry Legal status
Born from ethnic background Geographic location

Definition of Ethnicity

Ethnicity can be understood as the hereditary state depending on the society in which a person resides. the status of belonging to a subgroup of the population, which shares similar physical or social attributes. In other words, Ethnicity is the ethnic identity of a person who ascertained by characteristics based on descent. The characteristics based on the descent connote the traits that are connected to the descendants, that is genetically acquired traits and cultural or historical inheritance.

Ethnicity is the category of people, called as an ethnic group, who consider themselves distinct from others on the basis of ancestral, social and national heritage. People belonging to this group share traditions, history, language or dialect, culture, behavior, religion, physical appearance and other similar factors, such as geographical belonging to a particular place, the style of dress, food, beliefs, etc. .

For example : in India, the total population of 1, 2 billion people made up of people belonging to various ethnic groups, such as Bengali, Punjabi, Marathi, Rajasthani, Assamese, bihari and so on.

Definition of nationality

Nationality defined as the status that emerges from an individual's country of origin. the characteristic of the individuality of the person, as a result of his belonging to a nation.

In other words, nationality means the identity of a large group of people who have a legal connection and personal loyalty to a specific place because they are born there. Indicates the country from which the individual and legal citizen come from. For example : Indian, American, British, Canadian, South African, Mexican, etc.

The nationality law deals with its disposition and establishes the conditions for obtaining nationality. However, it can be acquired by birth, inheritance or naturalization. It grants the state, authority over the person and confers the person, the protection of the state. The rights and powers of the state and its citizens may vary from country to country. psychological and thus provides the source for patriotism and self-sacrifice.

Key differences between ethnicity and nationality

The difference between ethnicity and nationality can be clearly expressed for the following reasons:

  1. Ethnicity denotes the person's ethnic identity, based on the attributes of descent and cultural heritage. On the other hand, nationality is the person's belonging to the nation, which reveals the individual's relationship with the nation.
  2. The ethnicity of a person can be determined by his dialect, culture, eating habits, style of dress, race, physical appearance and so on. On the contrary, a person's nationality can be determined by his country of origin.
  3. Ethnicity is the state that describes inheritance and ancestry. Conversely, nationality is the legal identity, which is conferred only on a person born in the country.
  4. While ethnic origin arises from a person's ethnic background, nationality dominated by geographic location.


So, you may have gained extensive knowledge of ethnicity and nationality from the points mentioned above. Both of these two have a great role to play in the formation and development of identity. In simple terms, nationality is the identity of the nation of a person in which it was born, while ethnic origin is the identity of a subgroup from which it originates. People from the same nation can have a different ethnicity, as we discussed in our first example and in the same way, people from the same ethnicity can belong to different nations.