In the UK people of Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Sri Lankan and Nepali origin are classed as Asians. In the US people of oriental ethnicity (Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese…) are referred to as Asians.
The term Asian describes people of South Asian ethnicity in the UK. The countries in this region are also referred to as the Indian Sub-Continent.
I don’t really know whether to refer to people from Afghanistan as Asians.
People of Asian ethnicity in the UK have various differing features. Some have long and pointed Romanised noses, others have flatter oriental noses.
Some of them are light skinned, while others are very dark skinned. Some of them are below average height, while others are well over average height.
Most the people from the Punjab region are light skinned and above average height. People from the Bengal region are light brown skinned of average height.
People from the South of India and Sri Lanka are mostly dark skinned and of average height.
People from Nepal have mostly oriental features and are below average height.
There are always exceptions to these general branding of people from South Asian countries. Within my extended family, we have some people who are light skinned, while others are dark skinned. Some are well over 6ft tall and others are 5ft 7in. Some have European features, while others have oriental features.
Most people from Pakistan and Bangladesh are Muslims. Most Indians and Sri Lankans are Hindus, there are large number of Muslims from the Gujrat region. A large number from the Punjab region are Sikhs.
Nepali people are mainly Hindus. There are a small number of people from these South Asian countries who follow Christianity, Buddhism and the Jain religion.
The younger generation of South Asians in the UK are wearing western clothes, especially the Hindus and Christians. Muslims tend to wear Islamic clothes, especially the females.
Most Indians have cut off their ties with India and have started to live a westernised lifestyle. It will take another couple of generations for this to happen for people of Pakistani and Bangladeshi origin.
Most people of Nepali origin have settled in the UK as a right for serving in the British Army’s Gurkha regiment.
There has also been a considerable number of people of South Asians ethnicity coming into the UK from African countries like Uganda, Kenya, South Africa and Zimbabwe.
Some UK Asians have started to have mixed marriages with white British partners. In a few generations, their descendants will lose connection with South Asia.
There are over 5 million people of South Asian ethnicity in the UK… these are the UK Asians.
UK Asians would have totalled 10% of UK population by 2020, this has been reduced by the influx of people from Somalia, Nigeria, South Africa, Poland, Romania and other Eastern European countries.
Currently the number of people of South Asian ethnicity in the UK numbers within 5% to 7% of the total population.
The most significant numbers are of Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi ethnicity.