Best Ethnicity DNA Tests - Can DNA Tests Tell You Your Ethnicity?
Last updated: 2021-8-22
In recent years, it’s become increasingly popular to undertake an ethnicity DNA test. The huge upsurge in demand for this service reflects peoples’ desires to know where they come from. So what’s the best ethnicity test, and how confident can you be that your ancestry will be accurately revealed?
Short On Time? Here’s Our Top Ethnicity DNA Test
AncestryDNA - The Largest DNA Database With Over 10 Million Entries
Genetic tests are now capable of finding the ethnic composition of people. According to Ancestry statistics, over 30 million people have taken DNA tests, and 50% of these were for finding out their genealogy.
Although genetic testing was once the best way to discover health issues, today it’s all about finding where in the world your ancestors came from. This has to do mainly with the FDA stopping companies like 23andMe from promoting its health kits due to inaccuracies.
How We Get To The Bottom Of Which Brand’s Best
Our team’s made up of experienced professionals that’ve spent the better part of their careers analyzing the most accurate DNA tests. We understand that the only way to get to the bottom of which test is best is by testing these kits ourselves.
Finding out our particular ethnicities has given us a great sense of well-being and we want to share our findings - as well as the possible benefits - for anyone that’s interested in doing the same.
The size of databases, test costs, and user reviews, and security are just some of the areas we pay close attention to. We hope that with this information you’ll find the best ethnicity DNA test for you.
In A Hurry? Don’t Worry, Here Are The Top Five Best DNA Kits For Ethnicity
- AncestryDNA: Excellent User Satisfaction, A Large Database, and Many Global Regions Included - Our Top Pick
- MyHeritage: Great User Satisfaction, A Huge Database, Extensive Historical Records, and Multiple Languages Available
- Living DNA: The Most Affordable Option and It’s Know To Keep Data Safe
- FamilyTreeDNA: Offers Multiple Tests, Including Both Maternal and Paternal Ancestry
- 24Genetics: Provides Lifetime Updates Following Testing and Location Accuracy
2,100 global regions.
14 billion historical records.
350 global regions.
Autosomal, maternal and paternal tests.
Do not sell data.
Best for British roots
Autosomal, maternal and paternal tests.
Free data upload.
Wide variety of tests
1500 global regions. Lifetime updates on new scientific findings.
Lifetime updates on new scientific findings
1500 global regions
10 million users.
1,100 global regions.
Excellent user satisfaction
The Best DNA Ethnicity Test For 2021: A Full Analysis
Take a closer look at the top 10 brands right now offering insight into your ethnicity.
1. AncestryDNA - The Largest Database With Over 10 Million Users
With a DNA database of over 10 million users, and ethnicity estimates for 1400 regions you’ll be sure to have your ancestry questions answered. Customer satisfaction for this brand is extremely high, making it one of the safest choices on this list.
The Largest Userbase For Family Tree and Ancestry Building
Editor's Note: AncestryDNA is my favorite on the list, not least for its commitment to offering the largest database. Its tests are done fast and my DNA was handled securely, and removing it from the database is simple too. This is the best DNA kit for ethnicity.
Bottom Line: With testing accuracy over 99%, it’s no surprise that this is one of the world’s favorite autosomal DNA testing companies. By completing your own kit, you can access a massive database and start creating a family tree that connects you and your relatives with the world.
2. MyHeritage - Accurate DNA Reports With A Large Database
MyHeritage delivers accurate estimates of ethnicity. There are 2,100 global regions shown in detail alongside cutting-edge interactive mapping features. This is the best DNA test to find out your ethnicity.
A large database that has 2,100 global regions with excellent interactive maps
Editor's Note: MyHeritage is a top pick of mine because it has the largest library of historical records, and it’s available in more languages than any other provider. This professional, long-standing company turned my results around in no time.
Bottom Line: Extremely high user satisfaction puts this DNA ethnicity service up there with the best. There’s a huge database with 2,100 geographic regions across the globe, and if you’re looking to get accurate results as quickly as possible, then this is an excellent option.
3. LivingDNA - The Most Affordable Ethnicity DNA Test
LivingDNA supplies the best value DNA test for ethnicity. There are 350 global regions on this database and the company promises to never sell your data. This is the best DNA test kit for ethnicity.
A great company for people who want to explore their DNA ancestry
Editor’s Note: LivingDNA is a popular choice for many due to its affordable price. This company provided results for both my maternal and paternal ancestry and I found its results on my ethnicity to be incredibly accurate.
Bottom Line: With family ancestry compared over eight continents, this could be a great option for you. Further optional services include matching with family members and a comprehensive set of ancestral information.
4. FamilyTreeDNA - A Personalized Family Finder Service
FamilyTreeDNA gives a detailed ethnic and geographical breakdown of ancestry. Plus, there’s a unique and useful mapping tool for evaluating ancestral migration patterns. This is the best DNA kit to find out ethnicity.
A great company for people who want to explore their DNA ancestry
Editor’s Note: If you’re curious about the whereabouts of your long-lost relatives then this is a brilliant company for you. FamilyTreeDNA has been re-uniting distant cousins since 1999. By completing this kit you will have access to secrets from both your maternal and paternal DNA.
Bottom Line: If you are the family type then this is the brand to go for. This company doesn’t stop at bringing together extended families, they also have a great mapping tool for piecing together ancestral migration patterns.
5. 24Genetics - Your DNA Will Never Be Used Without Your Consent
Fortunately, this is one of the companies that won’t make extra money by selling your genetic information. If data security is a high priority of yours then this is a safe option..
A company that prides itself on keeping your data safe
Editor’s Note: Personally I feel at ease with this service because your genetic material is guaranteed to be protected. Not only will it never be sold, but it also won’t be stored either. You can sleep soundly knowing that your data is in safe hands.
Bottom Line: A competitive product that provides one of the best ethnicity DNA tests. There are over 1,500 global ethnic regions, and you can view your ancestry percentage by country, region, and even province. A winner in my opinion.
6. HomeDNA - Best Option for Paternal Ancestry
HomeDNA test kits provide both ethnic composition and ancestry matches. Population groups with similar DNA can be identified. This is the best test to find out ethnicity.
A range of ancestry tests including Asia and Africa
Editor’s Note: HomeDNA scores highly in my books, largely due to its competitive price, and its rapid turnaround of results. I like that it places a big focus on African and Asian ancestry and aren’t surprised that it’s known to offer some of the most reliable DNA ethnicity tests with its 20+ years in business.
Bottom Line: The HomeDNA test is simple to complete. Bonus features include an explanation of migration routes spanning 2,000 years and education about historical events that may have impacted your gene pool.
7. AfricanAncestry - A Detailed Database Of Indigenous African Genetic Sequences
AfricanAncestry specifically caters to those who are looking to find out more about their African roots. This is the most reliable DNA ethnicity test for African ancestors.
Specifically catered towards identifying African genome sequences
Editor’s Note: AfricanAncestry is the only provider with a comprehensive database of indigenous African genome sequences. If you’re looking to learn about your African ancestry I think this is the best ethnicity DNA test for you.
Bottom Line: AfricanAncestry provides an inclusive community for its users because it contains a guide to African history and cultures, as well as free membership in the AfricanAncestry Facebook group. Both maternal and paternal tests are available.
8. FullGenomes - Accurate And Versatile DNA Analysis
FullGenomes is a DNA testing service for those looking to have a more detailed report of their specific genetic sequencing.
A fantastic candidate for those looking to reveal the mysteries behind their paternal ancestors
Editor’s Note: FullGenomes offers a wide variety of DNA ethnicity tests, which is something I like about it particularly. Not many have libraries for paternal testing like this company, either, so I recommend it.
Bottom Line: Full Genomes gives customers a detailed picture of their ethnicity. The genome analysis includes ancestral heritage and can be done for both maternal and paternal lineage.
9. Vitagene - Ancestry And Personal Genetic Reports
Vitagene offers a unique service because it compares your DNA with a number of ancestry testing companies rather than testing with only its own database to reference.
Uses data from external companies to generate a report
Editor’s Note: In my opinion, this is a competitive product that gives good insights into genetic ancestry from a range of geographical regions. I like this company because it doesn’t share any of your information without your consent. Your data will be kept safe here.
Bottom Line: This is one of the best tests to find out your ethnicity if you’re a US citizen. What’s more, Vitagene will allow you to upload DNA information from another company at no extra cost.
10. iGenea - Superb At Determining Jewish Ancestry
iGenea is the company for you if you’re seeking answers regarding your Jewish roots. The service uniquely caters to Jewish ancestry and is the most accurate for testing the Jewish diaspora.
Editor’s Note: This is a wonderful product for people who are particularly interested in finding out the locations of their Jewish ancestors’ migrations, and the origins of their lineage. In my opinion, this is the only service that provides such an in-depth view.
Bottom Line: iGenea specializes in determining maternal DNA so it’s extremely effective for working out Jewish ancestry. It also accurately assesses paternal DNA too. Anyone that’s interested will receive a free consultation with an in-house expert.
Why Take an Ethnicity DNA Test?
If you’ve always wondered where your roots were sewn then you’ve come to the right place. In the past two decades, there have been great leaps forward in our understanding of genetics. It’s never been easier to work out exactly where your ancestors came from.
Your unique ethnicity can be estimated by assessing your paternal, maternal and autosomal DNA. There’s a chance that your great-grandfather and great-grandmother came from completely different places, for example.
Finding this out is often a fascinating experience that provides great depth and meaning to peoples’ lives. You may have thought that you already knew your family history, but it isn’t uncommon for people to receive completely unexpected results.
What You Can Expect To Gain From Your Ethnicity DNA Test Results?
Knowing where our ancestors lived gives some of us a great sense of meaning. This is especially true for African Americans and Israelis, who know that the ground beneath their families feet has changed significantly since the time of their great-grandparents. Far from being only sentimental, figuring out your unique ethnicity will allow you to dig even deeper into your identity.
All of the companies mentioned above will give you accurate genetic ethnicity estimates. Some, such as AncestryDNA, will even allow you to identify potential DNA matches with other people in their database.
Looking To Test Your Own DNA? Here’s How
DNA is a protein present in every cell in your body. Previous generations didn’t have access to the tools required to find out their ethnicity, but you do. These days, all you need to do is order one of the best ethnicity DNA tests on our list, and carry out the simple mouth swab at home. It’s that easy, there’s little excuse to not find out your family's hidden ancestry. It couldn’t be easier!
- Purchase one of the best ethnicity DNA test kits from our list.
- Follow instructions to collect a cell sample from the inside of your cheek with a swab.
- Send your sample back to your manufacturer’s lab. Each DNA testing company will provide an easy-to-use pre-addressed and prepaid envelope.
- Eagerly await your results. DNA test results typically take a few weeks to be fully processed.
- Unlock all your ancestors’ secrets!
How Does DNA Testing For Ethnicity Work?
When it comes to the ethnicity test, the procedure of at-home testing is private, easy, and reliable. All you need to do is order a kit online and follow the instructions once it’s received.
Depending on the genetic testing company you choose, the collection method will vary. While some labs ask for a cheek swab, others may request you to spit in a test tube. Once you’re done with the genetic sample collection, send it back to the laboratory to receive your ethnicity results in a few weeks.
How does it work? First, the laboratory digitizes your genetic specimen to determine its nucleotide bases. Then, it’s compared against the library of other genetic samples to find out similar patterns.
As a result, the testing service algorithm figures out where your DNA came from, strictly based on its reference library. In such a case, there could be contradictions of ethnicity when you compare the same specimen via different testing companies. While this is a way to determine the race, there are other tests to assess paternal or maternal lineages.
Take a look at it below.
Referred to as mDNA or mtDNA, Mitochondrial DNA is the genetic material inherited by the males and females from their mother. This DNA is acquired from the mitochondria of the maternal egg cell.
When you do an mDNA test, it reveals the migration outline of your ancestors on the mother’s side from hundreds and thousands of years ago. Haplogroup or the common ancestor shared by the genetic population is also revealed. Moreover, it doesn’t recombine with the genetic material of the father so, the mDNA of a person is identical to that of their mother’s.
Generally known as the Y-DNA STR test, this genetic material constitutes half of the sex chromosome in males, and it’s inherited from the father. You might know it as the 23rd chromosome or the sex chromosome. This test is mainly for discovering ‘recent’ ancestry. It’s conducted between two males to determine their biological relationship.
Similar to mtDNA, this test reveals the haplogroup and the migratory routes of the paternal side of your family to thousands of years. This is because the Y-chromosome of the father is passed down to his son without drastic changes.
This type of DNA refers to the 22 pairs of chromosomes minus the sex chromosomes. Autosomes are genetic material that come in equal parts from both mother and father as well as grandparents. Autosomal DNA Testing is used for expanding the family tree and for figuring out relatives up to five generations in the past.
Unlike mtDNA and Y-STR DNA, this test can uncover more about your relatives from both paternal and maternal sides at once.
What Will The Test Results Reveal?
The best thing about results from DNA testing for ethnicity is that they show the ethnicity estimates. This is where the percentage breakdown of race by nationality or haplogroup is revealed. For instance, suppose the result shows you’re 47% German. What this means is there’s a 47% chance your ancestors are from Germany.
Take a look at this video of Conan O’Brian on the Late Show and his groundbreaking results that prove 100% Irish ancestry due to inbreeding:
Up to 13.4% of US residents are African Americans. Among this, 58% of African Americans are seen with 13% of European ancestors, and 5% show Native American ancestry. According to historical information dating back to the 19th century, most of the said ethnicity of people settled down around the Chesapeake Bay.
Up to 75% of the African American ancestry estimates to West Africa, and Salas attributes this to slavery. This is the same reason why people of this ethnicity find it impossible to trace their ancestral tribes via checking up the surname, census, or land records.
When it comes to genetic testing the ethnicity of the Native Americans, the data available on Native American ancestry is limited. Indigenous people of the now-United States from the pre-Columbian era are termed as Native Americans.
Currently, 2.09% of the total US population, or 6.79 million people, are Native Americans. There are 574 federally-approved tribes, and this includes all the ethnicities of Alaska Natives as well. Determining the connection of a person’s maternal lineages to the respective Native American canonical haplogroups called A, B, C, D, or X is conducted by assessing Hypervariable regions one and two of the DNA.
The highest selection of genealogy data is available amongst the European haplogroup. When it comes to Americans of European Ancestry, there are over 4.8 million Europeans in the US. The largest European ancestry groups are German Americans (13.9%), followed by Irish Americans (10%), English Americans (7.4%), Italian Americans (5.2%), and Polish Americans (3%).
History records over 57 million European immigrants came to the US in the early 17th century. This ethnic category’s subgroups are Eastern European Americans, Northwestern European Americans, and Southwestern European Americans.
Accounting for up to 2.6% of the total US population, Jewish Americans are defined as Jews by culture, nationality, religion, and language. The chief ethnic groups are Ashkenazi, Sephardi, Yemenite, and Mizrahi. According to the reports, up to 40% of Jewish ancestry (Ashkenazi mitochondrial DNA variation) finds its lineage in prehistoric Europe.
Over 95% of Jews in America are Ashkenazi Jews who came from France, Germany, and Eastern Europe. They’re mostly settled around New York, Miami, LA, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Baltimore-Washington, and San Francisco.
Americans with Asian heritage who come from East, South, and Southeast Asia constitute the majority of available Asian DNA. Accounting for up to 6% of the US population, the total Asian Americans in the US is estimated to 17,320,856. They’re primarily settled in California, New York, Texas, Hawaii, Florida, Virginia, Illinois, Washington, and Pennsylvania.
This category’s largest ethnic groups are 3.79 million Chinese, followed by 3.41 million Filipino, 3.18 million Indians, 1.73 million Vietnamese, 1.7 million Koreans, and 1.3 million Japanese.
The History of Ethnicity DNA Tests
Far from being available to people throughout history, long ago it was impossible to accurately work out your ethnicity. Effective DNA ethnicity tests have only been available since the turn of the millennium. In the past decade alone, prices have fallen substantially, making ethnicity DNA tests much more accessible around the world.
Nowadays, procedures are extremely safe as they only involve a cheek swab. What’s more, advances in computer technology allow users to view their ancestry through phones, computers, and explore them through interactive maps. If you’re concerned about the privacy of your most delicate information, then be sure to only use one of the recommended tests above, and always check privacy policies first.
It’s natural to wonder about the mysteries contained within your family tree. Without having completed an ethnicity DNA test, though, it’s impossible to know exactly where your family comes from.
There are plenty of DNA testing kits that you can carry out from the safety of your own home. Join the millions of people who’ve already discovered their ancient origins today; we look forward to hearing about your results.
1. What is DNA?
|Deoxyribonucleic acid, or DNA, is a protein molecule that contains all the genetic information belonging to humans and other organisms. Your DNA is unique to you, and it serves as a fingerprint. Also, it’s the main determinant for eye color, hair color, and even height.|
2. Which DNA Test Is The Most Accurate For Ethnicity?
|Feel free to check out the brands we’ve recommended above. Out of them all, though, our favorite is AncestryDNA. MyHeritage comes in a close second.|
3. I’m Not Comfortable Handing Over My Genetic Material, Will It Be Safe?
|It’s fair to be concerned for the safety of your most intimate information. That’s why our team has provided you with a variety of secure options you can trust.|
4. What Will My Results Tell Me?
When a group of people live in the same place for many generations their DNA begins to look somewhat similar due to prolonged periods of inter-marriage. Throughout history, this was typically the norm as people rarely traveled across large bodies of water.
Ethnicity DNA tests pick up on these repeating patterns to give you an accurate idea of where your ancestors come from.
5. Can I Have My Data Deleted?
Absolutely. Simply request it be destroyed and removed from the database. This can often be done online.