The ethnic breakdown of 23andMe customers

By Razib Khan | June 13, 2011 8:45 pm

According to Your Genetic Genealogist, it is:

1000 African American
3500 Latino/Hispanic
5500 East Asian
3400 South Asian
4900 Southern European
6200 Ashkenazi Jewish
56,000 Northern European
1,000 First generation from two continents

I’m kind of surprised that there are so few African Americans, since the marginal return on ancestry matching technologies for the black American community is going to be higher than for other groups. If these numbers are true then I have on the order of ~10% of the 23andMe genotypes for black Americans in the African Ancestry Project. Zack Ajmal referring to the over 3,000 South Asians quips: “Now if 10-20% of them would participate in Harappa Ancestry Project!” My main concern is that if HAP gets more well known Zack will have hundreds of Tamil Brahmins sending him pretty much duplicate genotypes.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Personal Genomics

Comments (8)

  1. pconroy


    I’m Irish born and bred and have 608 Relatives as of today, which is approx 1 in 92 Northern Europeans.

    My Sicilian grandmother-in-law has 62 Relatives as of today, which is approx 1 in 79 Southern Europeans

    An Ashkenazi Jew I know has 2100 Relatives as of today, which is approx 1 in 3 Ashkenazi Jews

    I’m too am surprised that there are so few African Americans, as this is surely their best chance to determine ancestry. I’m also surprised there are so few Jews, as I had heard that Ashkenazi Jews are approx 5th cousins, and thought there had to be over 10,000 as so many had such high number of matches – it would seem that the relationship is closer, more like 4th on average?!

  2. AV

    My main concern is that if HAP gets more well known Zack will have hundreds of Tamil Brahmins sending him pretty much duplicate genotypes.

    Haters gonna hate, haha! But seriously, there are only 11 TBs in the project. Punjabis are rather populous, too.

  3. there are ~100 million punjabi speakers in the world. lest i checked there are ~5 million tam brahms, max, right?

  4. OmicsGuy

    Dont they have a limitation to the dataset? it obviously cant be true…

  5. leviticus

    Economics? African Americans remain, on average, less well off than other groups. Middle-class African Americans, while an increasing percentage of their people, remain a minority within a minority.

  6. Dragon Horse

    Middle Class African Americans are not a minority of African Americans, they are a majority of African Americans Leviticus…how are you determine Middle Class? Most blacks in America have been Middle Class since the 1980’s. There are roughtly 40 million African Americans, and only about 20-25% live in poverty, depending on how you calculate that, so that means there a

    I define Middle Class as between US$35 and $75,000 a year per capita. I believe that is the typical measure.

    2010 census data:

    “Black median family income was just over $41,000 in 2008, the lowest in the United States of any racial group. A single black woman with children earned a median annual income of $25,958.

    No surprise then that one out of five black families lives in poverty. More than 40 percent of black families headed by a single mom are poor. ”

    As bad as that sound, that is no way suggests that most blacks are poor or the Middle Class is a minority in a minority.

  7. #6 is correct. the majority of african americans are defined as middle class in income, and have been for a while. it would be nice if people actually were familiar with primary demographic data.

  8. Dragon Horse

    Sorry for the piss poor writing above. I was in a hurry. 🙂


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About Razib Khan

I have degrees in biology and biochemistry, a passion for genetics, history, and philosophy, and shrimp is my favorite food. In relation to nationality I'm a American Northwesterner, in politics I'm a reactionary, and as for religion I have none (I'm an atheist). If you want to know more, see the links at


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