Hmong and Mongol can sound like very similar names, so there can be confusion if they are the same group of people and even related. Both of these groups come from Asia.
The Hmong people are from China and have migrated to southeast Asia, mainly Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, and Myanmar (Burma). The Mongols, also known as Mongolians, live mainly in Inner Mongolia (China) and Mongolia. The Hmong mainly live in the mountains, whereas the Mongols are nomadic herders.
Table of Contents
- Hmong Vs. Mongol People
- Differences Between Hmong and Mongolian People Explained
- My Own Observations – Hmong and Mongolian People
- Related Content
Even though they may have similar-sounding names and are from different parts of Asia, they are two very different groups of people.
Here is more information on the Hmong and Mongol people and why they are not the same group.
Hmong Vs. Mongol People
There can be a lot of confusion about whether the Hmong and the Mongol people are actually related. Some may share some DNA as they both are around the Asian area, but it would be such little genetic DNA that it is hardly mentioned.
But this would not be every Mongol or even Hmong person but only those who maybe had some genetic DNA markers because somewhere way back in their line, they had a Mongolian relative.
During the Mongolian King Genghis Khan’s rule, Mongolia ruled most of Asia, including central and east Asia. It could be that many Mongolians intermarried with Hmong, Han Chinese, and even other ethnic groups in China.
But this would be where their similarities are; the Hmong and Mongolians have far more differences than similarities.
Differences Between Hmong and Mongolian People Explained
There are many distinct differences between the present-day Hmong and Mongolians, Everything from their language and culture to where and how they live.
Below is a chart to show the significant characteristics of the Hmong and Mongolians. If you look at this chart, you can see that they have hardly anything in common.
|Location||China, Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, Myanmar||Mongolia|
|Language||Hmong-Mien Language||Altaic Language|
|Migration||Migrated Out Of China Southward |
to Vietnam, Lao, Thailand, and Myanmar
|No Migration – Mainly in Mongolia and Inner Mongolia (China)|
|Economy||Use to practice “slash and burn” agriculture techniques. |
Mainly farmers who grow on the mountainside.
|Nomadic lifestyle |
Herders of sheep, goats, camels, and yaks.
|China’s Ethnic Classification||Miao||Mongol|
|No of People in China||about 3 million||About 5.9 million|
|Population Outside China||About 1.3 million (scattered around Southeast Asia and World)||About 3.2 million people in Mongolia|
You can clearly see that the Hmong and Mongols are very different groups. Everything from their language, religion, economy, lifestyle, and where they live is completely different.
The Mongols lived mainly in colder climates and were nomadic herders. Even today, if you travel to Mongolia, you will find many still living in the gers or yurts. They produce a lot of cashmere, wool, and other yarns. The climate the Mongols live in is frigid.
On the other hand, the Hmong live mainly in Southern China, Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, and Myanmar. They are known to be mountain people that settle up in the mountain areas and do a lot of planting on the mountainside. They live in some temperate areas.
In almost every way, the Hmong and Mongols are very different groups of people. They have very little in common except that their names may sound similar to many people.
My Own Observations – Hmong and Mongolian People
I have been to both Mongolia and many Hmong villages in North Vietnam. I can hardly think of any group of people as different as these two groups.
The Hmong in North Vietnam live in the mountains and grow corn for pig feed and other animals. Today, many still live up the mountains in small farming communities and practice terrace farming.
Traditionally the Hmong were also one of the major growers of the opium crop. Many Hmong also live in a place like the United States, as they helped the US military during the Vietnam War.
On the other hand, the Mongols or Mongolians live in frigid climates. They are mainly nomads who travel from grazing land to grazing land with their herds of goats, sheep, yaks, and camels.
Today, most Mongolian herders will sell the fur from their herds as their main source of income. As herders, they do not stay in a place long enough to grow many vegetables or other plants.
I honestly cannot think of more different people than the Hmong and Mongols; everything is different, from their lifestyle to how and where they live. Everything from their dress, religious beliefs, and economies are very different.
Or, if you are interested in Mongol or Mongolians, you can read our blog Mongolia Vs. Inner Mongolia: What Is The Difference? by clicking here.
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