Small People Group Policy

What This Policy Addresses

This policy addresses how to handle very small diaspora groups of large global people groups. Given the increased mobility of peoples, an almost unlimited number of new diaspora people groups could potentially be created. For example, do four British families living in Andorra constitute a distinct people group that should be added to a global people group list?

This policy provides conditions that help standardize how very small groups are handled on the Joshua Project list.

Global people group lists are limited in the level of detail they can realistically present. Low levels of detail may be more appropriately carried on in-country or local lists. For example, very tiny diaspora groups may be beyond the scope of a global list, but very appropriate on in-country lists.

What This Policy Does Not Address

This policy does not address: a) distinct, small people groups such an Amazon basin tribal group or an isolated Aborigine group in Australia or b) transient or temporary diaspora groups such as Vietnamese migrant workers in Malaysia.

Conditions for Small Group Evaluation

The following is a set of conditions to determine when to exclude very small groups of individuals that are part of larger people groups.

Condition 1: The population of this group in this country is less than 500.   ... AND ...

Condition 2: The population of this group in this country is less than .5% of the total population of the people group in all countries. In other words, 99.5% of the people group lives in another country or countries.   ... AND ...

Condition 3: The population of this group in the country in question is less than .5% of the overall population of that country.

Note: All three conditions must be met in order for a group to be excluded from the main Joshua Project list. Put another way, if any of the three conditions above is not met, then the people group is included on the main Joshua Project list. This policy does not remove a single global people group from the Joshua Project list. All biblical nations / ethne remain on the list!


Condition 1: A baseline cutoff number needs to be established; otherwise the number of people groups by country becomes almost unlimited. For example, there are probably individuals from almost every major people group in the world living in the United States. Therefore, if no cutoff is established, the US alone would potentially have many thousands of distinct people groups listed. A minimum population of 500 is used as a reasonable value. Below 500 it becomes increasingly questionable whether the group can even be found, particularly in larger countries. Also at smaller and smaller sizes, it becomes less clear if these tiny groups identify themselves as distinct people groups.

Condition 2: This is to ensure that only very tiny portion of the larger people group in all countries is considered for exclusion as well as protect small global people groups from having meaningful portions excluded. For example, consider a small people group with a global population of 10,000. If 500 individuals living in a particular country were excluded based on Condition 1, then 5.0% of the overall group would be excluded which is too much.

Condition 3: This is to ensure tiny countries have meaningful groups identified. For example, in a country with total population of 20,000 individuals, 500 individuals form a meaningful portion of the country population and should be considered as a people group (PGIC).


Examples of removing groups from the Joshua Project list: (entries meet all three conditions).

  • 400 Koreans in Honduras – less than 500 in size, less than .5% of Korean global population e.g. 99.5% of Koreans live in other countries, less than .5% of population of Honduras.
  • 200 Han Chinese in Albania – less than 500 in size, less than .5% of Han Chinese globally, e.g. 99.5% of Han Chinese live in other countries, less than .5% of population of Albania.
  • 300 French in Taiwan – less than 500 in size, less than .5% of the French globally e.g. 99.5% of French live in other countries, less than .5% of population of Taiwan
  • 100 Munnur in Bangladesh – less than 500 in size, less than .5% of Munnur global population e.g. 99.5% of Munnur live in other countries, less than .5% of population of Bangladesh.

Tiny Group Data Still Available

Joshua Project retains and makes available all people group data we have regardless of population size. While not included in the overall people group counts, tiny diaspora groups that have been removed from the main Joshua Project list using the above conditions are available by clicking the "Other reported groups" link at the bottom of each country listing.

Hmong Shua, Sinicized of China
Population:  353,000
Status: Unreached
Tibetan, Boyu of China
Population:  4,300
Status: Unreached
Aguri of India
Population:  612,000
Status: Unreached
Hu of China
Population:  1,100
Status: Unreached
Uygur, Yutian of China
Population:  70,000
Status: Unreached
Nuristani, Waigeli of Afghanistan
Population:  33,000
Status: Unreached

10 of Sudan's 162 people groups have Christianity as their primary religion, and 138 have Islam as their primary religion.
More Mission Facts ...

Largest Unreached

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