Difference Between Ethnicity vs Nationality

Difference Between Ethnicity vs Nationality

Differences in life make you appreciate other things and people. This is why we appreciate uniqueness so much in things like music, art, design, culture, etc. We are different in ways that are unique to ourselves. Even the most identical twins are not the same if you look closely.

In this article, we will look at the variation in humans from the broader perspective of the difference between ethnicity and nationality of different people around the world. How are people identified, and why do people have different physical features, cultural beliefs, clothing styles, languages, and so on? Why do people have different complexions and hair textures? Both ethnicity and nationality are used in identifying a person, but they are not the same as you will come to find out.

Definition of Ethnicity

Ethnicity is defined as a group of people identified based on inherited nationality and cultural beliefs. These people are said to belong to a subdivision of people that have the same social, religious, traditional, and physical traits. This group of people also shares a common history, language and dialect, and race and ancestors.

Nationalism was developed based on ethnicity. This took place in the nineteenth century. Nations were created based on presumed similar ethnic origins built on descent-based characteristics. Some examples include Bulgarian, Nigerian, Russian, Iranian, etc.

It is important to emphasize the fact that there are different ethnic groups in a nation. So, nationalism does not neutralize these differences or force the people of a particular ethnic group to change their identity.

Definition of Nationality

Nationality is defined as the status of belonging to a particular nation. A person’s nationality can be as a result of birth, acquired citizenship, inheritance, naturalization, or any other means that is legally binding in a particular country. Originally, a person’s nationality status is awarded based on the country where the individual is born or the nationality of the individual’s parents. This also gives the person full political privileges in that country.

One difference between nationality vs ethnicity is that in the former, the basis of identification is by birth, inheritance, and other legal means permitted by the country; but in the latter, the basis of identification is language, inheritance, culture, race, etc.

To make it clearer, a person who was born in Ethiopia but temporarily lives in the UK would only have an Ethiopian nationality. In the same light, a person who is from a historically German family but was born in Russia would have a German ethnicity and a Russian nationality.

Main Differences Between Ethnicity vs Nationality

Here is a table showing the variation between ethnicity vs nationality. This will offer you a clearer perspective on what these two terms really are and how they relate to one another.

Basis of ComparisonEthnicityNationality
DefinitionA group of people identified based on inherited nationality and cultural beliefsThe status of belonging to a particular nation
Other meaningRacial ancestryOne’s country of origin
Consists ofA unique group of people who share the same ancestral background, culture, history, tradition, physical appearance, and so onUsually more than one ethnic group with a similar culture and general way of living
Determining factorParental cultural backgroundPlace of birth
Unity and onenessCan inspire racism and discriminationInspires patriotism and sacrifice
RepresentsHeritage and ancestryLegal status

Difference Between Ethnicity and Nationality: Conclusion

One similarity you will notice when you compare ethnicity vs nationality is that both of them inspire support for each other to the point of sacrifice. There is something about belonging to a particular group of people that inspires support for that group naturally.

However, when this unity and oneness unites an ethnic group against another one, it will bring about division within a nation. This is why there are a lot of historical records of conflicts between ethnic groups. These conflicts have been in existence since the beginning of history and will most likely continue as long as humans exist. On the other hand, when there is unity and oneness within a nation, it outweighs cultural differences and ethnic backgrounds and brings people together in support and solidarity.