Bhutanese people can be generally categorized into three main ethnic groups. Tshanglas, Ngalops and Lhotshampas.
Other minority groups are Bumthaps and Khengpas of Central Bhutan, Kurtoeps in Lhuentse, Brokpas and Bramis of Merak and Sakteng in eastern Bhutan, doyas of Samtse and finally Monpas of Rukha villages in Wangdue Phodrang. Together multiethnic Bhutanese population number is just over 700,000.
Tshanglas: Commonly known as Sharchops are considered aboriginal inhabitants of eastern Bhutan. Tshanglasare according to historians, descendants of Lord Brahma who speak Tshanglakha. They are common inhabitants of Mongar, Trashigang, Trashiyangtse, Pema Gasthel and Samdrup Jongkhar. Besides cultivation of maize, rice, wheat, barley and vegetables, the Tshanglas also rear domestic animals to supplement their living. Weaving is a popular occupation among their women and they produce beautiful fabrics mainly of silk and raw silk.
Ngalops: Have settled mostly in six regions of western Bhutan area of Tibetan origin. They speak Ngalopkha, a polished version of Dzongkha, national language of Bhutan. Agriculture is their main livelihood. They cultivate cereals such as rice, wheat, barley and maize along with a variety of other crops. In regions of Thimphu and Paro, apples are also cultivated as a cash crop. They are known for Lozeys, or ornamental speech and for Zheys, dances that are unique to the Ngalops.
Lhotshampas: Settled in southern foothills of the kingdom. It is believed that they migrated from Nepal in the beginning of 19th century, attracted by employment opportunities provided by many constructions works taking place in the kingdom. They speak Lhotshamkha (Nepali) and practice Hinduism. Their society can be broken into various lineages such as Bhawans, Chhetris, Rai’s, Limbus, Tamangs, Gurungs and lLepchas. Nowadays they are mainly employed in agriculture and cultivate cash crops like ginger, cardamom and oranges.
Bumthaps, Mangdeps and Khengpas: People who speak Bumtapkha, Mangdepkha and khengkha respectively inhabit the central areas of Bhutan. The Bumthaps cultivate buck wheat, potatoes and vegetables. A section of this population also rear yaks and sheep and produce fabrics of wool and yak hair. Mangdeps depend on cultivation of rice, wheat, maize, vegetables etc. besides rearing domestic animals. Khengpas are also dependent on agriculture much like Mangdeps, however they are also known for bamboo and cane craft.
Kurtoeps: Inhabit eastern part of the kingdom. Specifically district of Lhuentse, villages are found spread along the banks of Kurichu. Khoma women are expert weavers and are known for their skill in weaving grandiose Kushithara.
Brokpas and Bramis: Brokpas and Bramis are a semi nomadic community. They are settled in two villages of Merak and Sakteng in eastern Bhutan. They mostly depend on yaks and sheep for their livelihood and do not typically grow crops due to high altitude zones they inhabit. They speak a different dialect and have their own unique dress that is made of yak hair and sheep wool. They are also experts in cane and bamboo crafts.
Layaps: To the extreme north are Layaps who speak layapkha. Like Brokpas, they are semi-nomadic and their livelihood is dependent upon yaks and sheep. They use products of their herd animals to barter rice, salt and other consumables with people of WangduePhodrang and Punakha.
The Doyas: A tribal community that has settled mostly in southern Bhutan. They are considered the aboriginal inhabitants of western and central Bhutan, who over the years migrated to and settled in the present areas in Dorokha. They have their own unique dialect and style of dress.
Monpas: A small community in Rukha under WangduePhodrang. Together with Doyas they are also considered the original settlers of central Bhutan. They have their own unique dialect but it is unfortunately slowly dying out as they are now being absorbed into main stream Bhutanese society