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Mountain-dwelling peoples of China, Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand who speak Hmong-Mien languages. There are also émigré communities in the U.S., France, and elsewhere. Agriculture is the chief means of subsistence for the Hmong; most grow corn (maize) and rice as subsistence crops and flowers, fruit, and vegetables as cash crops. Many venerate spirits, demons, and ancestral ghosts. Households are typically multigenerational. In China, where they are one of several ethnically distinct minorities within the official minority called Miao, many Hmong follow the Chinese practice of arranged marriage. Worldwide they number approximately 5 million individuals.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Hmong, visit Britannica.com.