The Somalis (Somali: Soomaalida 𐒈𐒝𐒑𐒛𐒐𐒘𐒆𐒖, Arabic: صوماليون‎) are an East Cushitic ethnic group native to the Horn of Africa[43] who share a common ancestry, culture and history. The Somali language is the shared mother tongue of ethnic Somalis, which is part of the Cushitic branch of the Afroasiatic language family, and are predominately Sunni Muslim.[44][45] They form one of the largest ethnic groups on the African continent, and cover one of the most expansive landmasses by a single ethnic group in Africa.[46]

Traditional area inhabited by the Somali ethnic group
Total population
Regions with significant populations
Horn of Africa
 Somalia[lower-alpha 1]8,808,715 (2014)[1]
 Somaliland5,700,000 (2021)[2]
 Ethiopia4,581,793 (2007)[3]
 Kenya2,780,502 (2019)[4]
 Djibouti534,000 (2017)[5]
 Yemen500,000 (2014)[6]
 United States170,192 (2018)[7]
 United Kingdom98,000–250,000[8][9]
 United Arab Emirates90,900[10]
 South Africa27,000-40,000[18]
 Saudi Arabia34,000–67,500[21][22]
Other countries
 New Zealand1,617[40]
Islam (Sunni)
Related ethnic groups
other Cushitic people [42]
A Somali man in a traditional Koofiyad

According to most scholars, the ancient Land of Punt and its native inhabitants formed part of the ethnogenesis of the Somali people. An ancient historical kingdom where a great portion of their cultural traditions and ancestry has been said to derive from.[47][48][49][50] Somalis share many historical and cultural traits with other Cushitic peoples, especially with Lowland East Cushitic people, specifically the Afar and the Saho.[51]

Ethnic Somalis are principally concentrated in Somalia (around 8.8 million),[1] Somaliland (5.7 million),[52] Ethiopia (4.6 million),[3] Kenya (2.8 million),[4] and Djibouti (534,000).[53] Somali diasporas are also found in parts of the Middle East, North America, Western Europe, African Great Lakes region, Southern Africa and Oceania.