Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to your most frequently asked questions. If you need to get in touch, send email to [email protected]

How do I explore the site?

First step, click EXPLORE and look for the "Start Exploring" toolbox with multiple filters below the green bar (if you don't see it, click the icon to expand the toolbox).

Finding Specific People Group
Enter keywords and press SUBMIT to begin search.

Filtering People Groups
Category filters allow refining the people groups selection. Items selected will be shown in the filter boxes. Multiple items selection provides complex search options.


Marker for a people group
The color marker indicates the main GSEC status of a people group. The white dot inside indicates further that it is engaged by Great Commission Christians with church planting

People Group Details
Clicking on a marker will show you the name, language, population, and a picture of the people group. Clicking the name of the people group will take you to the people group details page.

Selecting a View (Maps, Lists, or Photos)
In the EXPLORE section, click the menu in the green bar to switch to a different view. The filtering options will carry from one view to another. Click to further refine your query or combine more complex search options and filters.

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What do the color markers on the maps mean?

Each marker represents a distinct people group. The color characterizes the Progress Toward Engagement within that people group. A people group is engaged when any evangelical church or mission organization is implementing a church planting strategy within its confines.

Unengaged and Unreached

Engaged yet Unreached

No Longer Unreached

Unengaged: A people group is unengaged when no evangelical church planting strategy is underway.

Unreached: A people group is unreached when less than 2 percent of its population is evangelical Christian.

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What is a People Group?

For strategic purposes, a people group is the largest group through which the gospel can flow without encountering significant barriers of understanding and acceptance.

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What is an Unreached People Group?

An Unreached People Group is a people group in which less than 2% of the population are Evangelical Christians.

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What is an Unengaged People Group?

A people group is unengaged when there is no church planting strategy, consistent with Evangelical faith and practice, under implementation; in this respect, a people group is not engaged when it has been merely adopted, is the object of focused prayer, or is part of an advocacy strategy.

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Where does this information come from?

The Global Research Department (GRD) of the International Mission Board, SBC gathers and analyzes information collected through a global network of research coordinators. These coordinators obtain information from approximately 3,700 IMB field personnel, local evangelical partners, and others. Much of the information reflects primary research among people groups. In some instances, secondary sources are used.

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What do you mean by "Evangelical" Christians and churches?

An Evangelical Christian is a person who believes that Jesus Christ is the sole source of salvation through faith in Him, has personal faith and conversion with regeneration by the Holy Spirit, recognizes the inspired Word of God as the only basis for faith and Christian living, and is committed to biblical preaching and evangelism that brings others to faith in Jesus Christ.

Therefore, an Evangelical church is a church that is characterized by these same beliefs and principles. Some churches that are not considered Evangelical in faith and practice, may contain members who are Evangelical.

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What is the Global Status of Evangelical Christianity?

The Global Status of Evangelical Christianity is a model that describes the progress of the gospel among the peoples of the world by considering:

1. The extent to which a people group is Evangelical.

2. Accessibility to the gospel.

3. Church-planting activity, whether localized or widespread, within the past two years.

The model establishes the criteria for identifying those people groups described as "Unreached People Groups".

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What is a People Cluster?

A smaller grouping of peoples within an affinity bloc, often with a common name or identity, but separated from one another by political boundaries, language or migration patterns.

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What is the Registry of Peoples?

The Registry of Peoples (ROP) (see provides a comprehensive set of codes for linking information from various major people group lists, including those found on Thus, the ROP is an essential tool for facilitating the exchange, comparison, and evaluation of people group information from disparate sources. We urge organizations to code their own people group information to ROP codes.

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Why does the Global Status of Evangelical Christianity emphasize church planting?

While Evangelical Christians do much good work every year (e.g. radio broadcasts, literature distribution, relief and development, evangelism, discipleship, etc.), we believe that the gathering of believers and establishing of churches is the key to establishing effective long-term evangelizing, discipling, nurturing, ministering presence among any given people group.

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Why are there so many different lists of people groups, and how does the list of people groups on this site compare with other lists of people groups?

Different lists of people groups reflect the different methodologies of the researcher(s) and/or organizations that produce the lists. Some researchers use language as the sole or primary factor in determining the existence of a people group and its differentiation from other groups. Other researchers believe that worldview or culture is an equally important factor. Some organizations simply compile lists of people groups produced by other researchers, resulting in inflated numbers of groups.

We adopt an ethnolinguistic approach to understanding people groups (see "What is a people group?"). Our list is determined by International Mission Board field personnel in ongoing dialogue with local Baptist partners, Great Commission Christian partners, and other reliable information sources (see "Where does this information come from?"). The people group list and supplemental data is updated weekly based on new information received from the field as well as on feedback received through this site (see "What is the Registry of Peoples?").

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What do we do with your feedback?

As people, churches, and organizations use our people group list around the world, they will no doubt find that some changes are needed; we welcome their observations and suggestions. We prefer firsthand, well-documented information whenever possible. We feel that when it comes to people groups, all peoples have a right to characterize themselves by people name, language and dialect preference, worldview, and other elements that make them unique. The following process guides us when someone contact We ask that those providing feedback contact us at: [email protected]

1. Upon receipt of feedback, the Global Research Information Center (GRIC) will confirm that the feedback includes basic information needed for consideration and will log the information provided along with a contact name.

2. GRIC will assign the feedback to a staff liaison(s) in the Global Research Department responsible for relating to the area(s) of the world relevant to the feedback.

3. The liaison will initiate a dialogue with the appropriate Strategy Research Associate (SRA).

4. The SRA will seek to verify the feedback offered to determine if there are sufficient grounds to modify our information based upon the feedback.

If a change is needed, the SRA will change the data and upload it to the database.

If a change is not needed, the list will be left as is.

Note: The SRA may or may not contact the feedback provider during this time.

5. The GRD liaison will notify the feedback provider of the decision reached by the field about the feedback.

All correspondence concerning the feedback is preserved in case questions arise, or in the event similar feedback is received in the future. Additionally, various steps in the process are logged, and GRIC monitors the log to ensure that resolution occurs in a timely fashion.

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Do I have permission to use Global Research materials?

Yes. We just ask that you credit the information. When referring to this information, please include the following:

This information was provided by The International Mission Board - Global Research, Month 20XX, name of publication,

A word of caution: This information has been collected from multiple sources and is continuously subject to adjustments and refinements based upon the highly dynamic nature of today's global environment and the rapid advance of the Gospel in literally every part of the world. This information is shared with others on the condition that the user assumes all risks incident to reliance and has the right to make an independent assessment of its accuracy and reliability. Have questions? Visit our Feedback page. This information is provided for the intended use only.

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I don't see a people group on your site that I know exists. Why?

First, the people group may be listed under another name in the database. Try searching the alternate name field. If you still can't find it, send us a note to: [email protected]. Provide as much information as you can, along with your sources. One or more of our field research strategists will review the information you submit, evaluate it in consultation with other researchers, and modify the people group data as appropriate. In some cases, someone may contact you for clarification or additional information.

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Why don't you list the actual number of Christians and churches?

While this information is used to determine the Status of Evangelization, security concerns prevent our sharing such specifics on a public website. We anticipate that we will be able to display this information later this year for many people groups for which confidentiality is not necessary.

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