Minority Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Minority, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Minority?

(n) Minority is the group of persons in a population which cannot muster enough votes or voting rights as a group to control the affaires of that population. A minority is a relative term with respect to that particular population. A minority at one place can very well become a majority in another place or it can even change from case to case within a population itself

History and Meaning of Minority

Minority refers to a group of people who possess some characteristic, whether it be racial, ethnic, cultural, or otherwise, that sets them apart from the larger population in which they exist. The term first came into use in the United States during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s, when African Americans fought for equal rights and recognition as full citizens. The concept of a minority group is closely tied to the idea of power and representation within a population. Members of minority groups may be politically or socially marginalized due to their relative lack of power and influence.

Examples of Minority

  • In the United States, African Americans make up approximately 13% of the population, but historically they have been disenfranchised and underrepresented in political and social institutions, making them a minority group.

  • In some countries, linguistic minorities, such as those who speak a regional or indigenous language, may struggle to access education, healthcare, and other essential services due to language barriers.

  • LGBTQ+ individuals may be considered a minority group due to their sexual orientation or gender identity. They may face discrimination and unequal treatment in areas like housing, employment, and healthcare.

Legal Terms Similar to Minority

  • Protected class: This term refers to groups of people who are protected from discriminatory treatment under federal and state laws. Examples include race, sex, religion, and national origin.

  • Disadvantaged group: This term may be used to describe any group of people who face obstacles to socioeconomic success, such as poverty or lack of access to education and resources.

  • Underrepresented group: This term refers to groups that are not proportionally represented in a given profession or field, often due to systemic barriers to entry or bias in hiring practices.