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The ways in which individuals from various ethnic backgrounds live, express themselves, and engage with one another are known as ethnic lifestyles.

An example of an ethnic lifestyle is the Cajuns. These are people of French ancestry who live in the area southwest of New Orleans and scattered in areas adjacent to the French Louisiana region. These are descendants of Acadian exiles from what is now the maritime provinces of Canada who migrated to southern Louisiana in the late 18th century. They have a distinct culture with its own language, music, cuisine, traditions, and religion.

Others include the Amish and the Hutterites, which are Anabaptist groups who immigrated to the United States, Canada, and other places from Europe in the 1700s to escape persecution. The Amish and the Hutterites are separate branches of Anabaptist Christians. The Amish originated in Switzerland and the Southern Rhine regions of Germany, while the Hutterites came from Moravia. There are clear distinctions between the groups, but characteristically, they both value pacifism and non-violence, tend to live in rural communities, wear modest clothing and head coverings, and encourage large families. Additionally, the Amish and the Hutterites speak distinct German dialects, although they also learn English.

When large groups of people immigrate from their native countries to another, many of them will continue to live in the same neighborhoods and may retain many of the characteristic lifestyles typical to their countries of origin or may adapt in similar ways, thus forming or retaining a unique lifestyle.

In contrast, others from the same countries might be assimilated into the culture of the country they moved to within a few generations. Thus, not everyone who comes to the United States from Vietnam will exhibit a distinct Vietnamese lifestyle. Similarly, not everyone born to an Amish household will continue to live an Amish lifestyle.

Interestingly, it is not uncommon for people to make a conscious effort to recover a lifestyle abandoned by their ancestors. A good example would be Native Americans or the First Nations people of Canada, whose ancestors were often forced to assimilate after Europeans became the dominant power in North America. In recent years, many of these people are reclaiming many aspects of the lifestyle their ancestors were compelled or coerced to surrender.

People who identify as members of the same ethnic group or ethnicity do this because they believe they have characteristics in common that set them apart from other groups. A shared country of origin, as well as shared ancestry, customs, language, history, society, religion, or social treatment, are examples of these characteristics.


American Indians

Black Americans

Indigenous Australians




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