Ethnic Groups Of Taiwan

People walk down a street in Nantou, Taiwan. Editorial credit: 2p2play /

Taiwan has many ethnic groups with the largest group being the Hoklo Han Chinese with about 70% of the total population followed by the Hakka Han Chinese who make up about 14% of the total population. These ethnic groups contribute to the cultural diversity of Taiwan as well as in the economic, social and political spheres. The interactions of these ethnic groups have led to the borrowing of cultural practices, intermarriages, and growth or population decline of some of the groups.

Ethnic Groups Of Taiwan

Hoklo Han Chinese

The Hoklo Han Chinese migrated from China to Taiwan in the 19th century before the establishment of the Japanese rule. The Hoklo people intermarried with the native and adopted some of their customs and assimilated some of the aboriginals. The Hoklo people speak Hokkien dialect which cannot be understood by speakers of other Chinese dialects. The Hoklo Han Chinese have adopted most of the religions practiced in Taiwan as well as some cultural aspects of the Taiwanese aboriginals.

Hakka Han Chinese

The Hakka are Han Chinese who originated from the Hakka-speaking provinces of China such as Shanxi, Henan, and Hubei. The Hakka people make up about 14% of the total population of Taiwan. The Hakka people migrated to other countries all over the world mainly due to social unrests and invasions. During wars, they fled to Taiwan and settled there permanently. Most of the Hakka’s today are recognized as leaders and military men mainly because, by the time of their settlement, there was little land left for cultivation, so their primary emphasis was on education and related careers.

Mainland Chinese

The mainland Chinese are a group of people who migrated to Taiwan in the 1940s from mainland China after Kuomintang lost the Chinese civil war in 1949. The migrants mainly consisted of soldiers, merchants, bankers, and other people who feared communist rule. The mainland Chinese were distinguished from the local Taiwanese people by the fact that their native land was not Taiwan. The mainlanders make up 14% of the population due to immigration. The mainland Chinese controlled most of the political and economic spheres in Taiwan until the 1970s. The Taiwan independence movement weakened the dominance of the mainlanders giving the local Taiwanese a chance to rule the country.

Aboriginal Taiwanese

The Taiwanese aboriginals’ population totals to 547,465 people. The aboriginals are found in the mountainous terrain, narrow eastern plains and the Orchid Island in Taiwan. The aboriginals are the indigenous inhabitants of Taiwan who have been assimilated into other communities through intermarriages. The Taiwanese aboriginals are said to have ties with the Austronesian people of Philippines, Malaysia, Madagascar, and Oceania. The aboriginals have lost a great deal of their cultural identity due to intermarriages, cultural assimilation, and continued contact with colonizers and making some of their tribes to become extinct while others face a threat of extinction.

Other Ethnic Groups In Taiwan

Taiwan has many permanent foreign national residents from the Peoples’ Republic of China, Hong Kong, and Macao who total to 149,962 people and foreign national residents from the rest of the world with a total population of 842,651people.

Ethnic Groups Of Taiwan

RankEthnic Group or NationalityShare of Population in Taiwan
1Hoklo Han Chinese70%
2Hakka Han Chinese14%
3Mainland Chinese (resettling after 1949)14%
4Aboriginal Taiwanese547,465 total

Permanent Foreign National Residents from the People's Republic of China, Hong Kong, and Macao149,962 total

Permanent Foreign National Residents from Elsewhere842,651 total

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