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1. Geography
2. Political situation
3. Defense
4. Economy
a. Figures
5. Health
6. Education
a. Universities
7. Demographics
8. Religions
a. Freedom
9. Peoples
10. Languages
11. Human rights
12. History
13. Cities and Towns

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Index / Peoples
Open map of SudanFlag of SudanSudan /

Ethnic groups
Figures in 1000.
Last column: % of the population
Arabs 21,000 55.0%
Dinka 3,000 8.0%
Nuba 2,100 6.0%
Beja 2,000 5.0%
Nuer 1,400 4.0%
Fur 1,000 2.7%
Zande 660 1.8%
Shilluk 600 1.6%
Bari 480 1.3%
Nubians 550 1.4%
Doms 35 0.1%
Other 4,000 10.0%

The population of Sudan is divided into 19 ethnic groups, with 597 subgroups.
In addition to the typical ethnic division lines, are there one which is defined as Arabs and non-Arabs. The definition of who is and who is not Arab is based upon cultural identity and use of Arabic as mother tongue. Inside the group of Arabs many belong to ethnic groups with constitute many non-Arabs. The percentage of Arabs is hard to define. They constituted 39% of the entire population in 1956, the last time a census dealing with ethnicity was recorded. Looking at the figures for Arabic speakers, this figure appears to have risen to more than 50%. The reasons for this growth is probably connected to the cultural, economic and political dominance of Arabs in the Sudanese society, and the fact that it accepted that anyone can embrace Arabic culture and language.
Using 1956 figures, the Dinka ethnic group made up 12% of the population, a figure that appears to have gone down since then. The Beja made up 7%, also a figure that probably has gone down.
The Nubians are Muslims, but do not consider themselves Arabs, nor are are they registered as such. Living in the north of Sudan and the south of Egypt, they are fluent in Arabic as a second language.
The peoples of the south are generally classified as Nilotes, different black peoples. The largest groups among the Nilotic peoples are the Dinka, Nuer and Shilluk. These groups represents about 15% of Sudan's total population.
Sudan has seen a substantial immigration over a long period of time. Today West-African peoples like Hausa, Fulani and Borno represent more than 10% of the population. West Africans are collectively denoted Fellata in Sudan.

By Tore Kjeilen