What's The Difference Between Nationality & Ethnicity?

The total world population is approximately 8 billion people, made up of people from various groups, cultures, nations, races, and so on. Race was first used in the English language in the late 16th century.

Race, language, and religion are all examples of ethnic characteristics.

Nationality typically denotes a person's origins in a specific country or territory dominated by a specific ethnic group.

Nationality refers to the country to which a person belongs, whereas ethnicity refers to the social group to which a person belongs. Take a look at the article to learn more about the meaning and distinctions between the two.


Meaning: Ethnicity is a person's identity in relation to a social, cultural, or religious group.

Basis of identification: Religion, language, culture, race, and so on.

Represents: Heritage and ancestry

Arises from: Ethnic background


Meaning: Nationality denotes a person's membership in a country, describing his or her relationship with the political state.

Basis of identification: Birth or inheritance

Represents: Legal status

Arises from: Geographical location

Definition of Ethnicity

Ethnicity, which refers to culturally contingent characteristics, characterizes all human groups. It refers to a sense of belonging to a group that shares a common language, cultural traits (values, beliefs, religion, food habits, customs, and so on), and a shared history.

People may identify as Aboriginal, African American or Black, Asian, European American or White, Native American, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, Mori, or another race. Language, ancestry, practices, and beliefs are examples of shared cultural characteristics.

Definition of Nationality

Nationality is defined as the status that results from an individual's country of origin. It is a characteristic of a person's individuality resulting from his or her membership in a nation.

In other words, nationality refers to the identity of a large group of people who have a legal connection and personal allegiance to a specific location because they were born there. It denotes the country from which the individual is a legal citizen. Indian, Canadian, South African, American, British, Mexican, and so on.

Definition of race

Based on people's beliefs, the definition of race has not been consistent throughout history, nor is it today. However, many people today consider a race to be a group of people who share certain physical characteristics. Historically, skin color has been the most distinguishing physical characteristic.

Concerning the science behind the concept, scientists are increasingly agreeing that there is no way to divide homo sapiens, the scientific name for our modern human species, into races, and that physical differences between people are the result of evolution and the adaptation of groups of human beings to their environments.


So, based on the information provided above, you should have a good understanding of ethnicity and nationality. Both of these have a significant role to play in the formation and development of one's identity.

In layman's terms, nationality is the identity of a person's birth nation, whereas ethnicity is the identity of a subgroup to which he or she belongs.

As we saw in our first example, people of the same nation can have different ethnicities, and people of the same ethnicity can belong to different nations.

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