Asia, stretching from Turkey all the way to Japan, is a vast continent which many different groups of people call home. Though the term Asian may call to mind a very specific description of race, in the broad sense of the word Asians include people as historically and culturally different as Israeli Jews and North Korean Communists. Over the continent's long history there has been a lot of migration and influence of one people onto another, and evidence of this is found in the religious and ethnic makeup of each country.
Central Asians include the people from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and parts of Russia. The people who live in these areas have a common ancestry, and all speak languages belonging to the Turkic family. Most of the people living in the region are Muslim, though there is a large representation of Russian Orthodox followers as well.
An area commonly referred to as the Middle East, Western Asia is home to many types of Asians. The region is widely Muslim in religious terms though it is home to a number of Jews and Christians as well. The racial makeup throughout many of the countries is Arab for the most part, but there are also large populations of Kurds, Jews and Turks.
Southern Asia refers to a very large land region, some of which is considered Middle East, but the region extends east through India. There are many types of Asians that live in Southern Asia. The group that represents most of the population is Indians, who themselves are a very diverse demographic. The majority of Indians are Hindu, but several other religions are represented. Afghanistan and Pakistan are mostly Muslim in their populations, but both have many ethnicities. Major ethnicities there are Punjabi, Pashtun and Tajik, along with migrants from other countries in the region.
South East Asia is composed of the south-eastern most tip of the Asian mainland and a cluster of islands in the Indian Ocean northwest of Australia. Like every region on this vast continent, it is home to many types of Asians. Indonesia, a large island nations, for instance, is around 40 percent Javanese, but there are major populations of several different ethnicities living within its borders. Vietnam has a population that is ethnically 86 percent Viet or Kinh, but several different religious groups are present, no one claiming a majority.
East Asians are those from China, North and South Korea, Japan and Mongolia. Of these countries, China has the largest population and over ninety percent of the country is of the Han Chinese ethnic group. Languages spoken in these countries include Mandarin, Japanese, Korean and Cantonese, among others. Buddhism, Taoism, and Shintoism (in Japan) are practiced, though China and North Korea are officially atheist, so religion is not practiced openly.
- Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images