The groups of people who live in Asia — the biggest continent in the world!April 26, 2022 | Last Updated June 17, 2022
What does 'Asian' mean?
What comes to mind when you hear the word “Asian"?
Depending on where you are or what you’ve learned growing up, you might think of very different people. Especially because Asia is the biggest continent in the world.
Asia is chock-full of diverse groups of people that are united by a common ethnicity and language. Each part of Asia has its own wildly different cultures, countries and climates. You could spend your whole life talking about every single unique group in Asia.
For now, let's dive into its major areas, and a little bit about the people who live there.
What is East Asia?
Most people tend to think of East Asians when they think of Asian people. This is likely because people of Chinese descent are the seconds largest Asian group in Canada.
Japanese, Korean and Chinese media have also become popular all over the world through TV shows and music. Anime (Japanese animated shows), K-pop (Korean pop music) and C-dramas (Chinese dramas) are just some of them.
What is South Asia?
South Asians make up the largest Asian group in Canada.
Even though it’s not the biggest part of Asia, it has the most people, with one-fourth of the population of the entire world!
Some of the most popular films in the world are produced in Bollywood and Tollywood. Indian cinema is so big all over the world that it's giving Hollywood a run for its money.
What is Southeast Asia?
Part of Southeast Asia is called the Malay Archipelago, one of the largest archipelagos (group of islands) in the world. Indonesia alone has 17,508 islands. And the Philippines has 7,641 islands.
Southeast Asians also make up the fourth-largest Asian population in Canada. A lot of people come here from the Philippines — more than all the rest of Southeast Asia combined.
What are Central Asia and North Asia?
This area was a major route in the Silk Roads — the way ancient people traveled and traded with each other.
Ancient people of Central Asia were known for their nomadic living (not staying in one place) and horseback riding. Horses still play a big part in the cultures of countries like Kyrgyzstan.
What is West Asia?
Part of West Asia is also known to many as the Middle East. The area nudges up against the continents of Europe and Africa.
Part of West Asia — called Mesopotamia — is considered one of the cradles of civilization. This is where the first urban (today's cities) centres started over 12,000 years ago.
A lot of amazing history can be found in West Asia, and a lot of it is preserved in their diverse and beautiful modern cultures.