The majority of the population is of Indo-Aryan origin. Nearly 20% of the people are tribal and the Bhils, Kolis, Dhubla, Naikda and Macchi-Kharwa are some of the tribes which can be still found in Gujarat. The Aryans were the first people to come from the north who either conquered or drove away the Bhils, the traditional rulers of Gujarat. Kolis are also equally important and occupy an intermediate social position between the Aryans and the Bhils. Aryans are now commonly recognized as Hindus. The immigration during the medieval period brought Islam and Zoroastrianism to Gujarat and initiated the growth of a multi-religious society. The peninsula of Kathiawar is named after the Kathis who came to Saurashtra at the close of the fourteenth century. Their origin is not fully known but it is possible that they were driven southwards by the Muslim invaders. Khachar and Chotila were the most important seats of the Kathis. Worshippers of the Sun, they were essentially nomadic and had developed, among other pastoral occupations, the art of horse-breeding. Successive waves of immigrants from other parts of India have led to a superimposition of different communities and cultures in Kathiawar. The powerful royal families, which conquered Saurashtra later on established their rule over there. 'Rabaris' are community of cattle-breeders who have migrated from Sindh and Marwar and claim a Rajput ancestry. The Rabaris stand out prominently by their features and dress and lead a nomadic life. The tribal people in the hilly areas do subsistence farming. Rice, jowar, bajra, and groundnut are the main crops grown by them. The tribals engage themselves in wood-cutting with which they descend to the small towns for getting the daily necessaries of life. Many of them are engaged in forest industry, where they collect lac and toddy.
The Gujaratis, the people of Gujarat, are found all over the state. These people trace their lineage from the Gurjars. They are believed to have come to India with the Huns and while passing through Punjab, settled in Gujarat. Gujaratis were highly influenced by the cultural waves from the mainland and accepted the monarchies that ruled over them. Various Hindu traditions like Shavism and Vaishnavism were adopted by Gujarat which in turn developed its own galaxy of saints and devotees and its own art and culture. Today, the word Gujarati does not provide any definite association with a particular stock, a tribe of immigrants or a specific group of people. The Kutchis, who were the natives of the peninsula of Kutch, have their own dialects. The Kutchis are both Hindus and Muslims and a large number of them have migrated from Sindh. The Jadeja Rajputs, the Lohanas and even the Muslims many of whom are 'Maldharis', the cattle-breeders, came from Sindh. Gujarati males generally wear dhoti, long or short coat and turban cap. Nowadays, pants are becoming common instead of dhoti. The women wear saree and blouse. Parsi males wear pants, long coat and a headgear. The Parsi women's clothes are identical with those of the Hindu women with a slight difference marked by long sleeves of the blouse and a scarf on the head. With the changing times, the ornaments of the women are also changing. They have become simpler and meager. They generally wear rings, ear-rings, bangles and slender chains. Bangles made of ivory and dyed in red, with a gold chip, are presented to the bride by her maternal uncle on the occasion of her marriage.
The total population of the state consists of Hindus, Muslims and Jains. Zorastrians or Parsis can also be seen in Gujarat.
The caste system is strictly followed by the Hindus of Gujarat. Besides the 'Brahmins' and the 'Banias' whose functions and occupations are fairly well determined, the 'Patidars' or Patels who own land and are the best agriculturists are the strongest force in the economic and political life of the state. They are grouped into four categories namely Levas, Kadawas, Anjana and Uda. The Levas are most shrewd and are concentrated in central Gujarat. The
Kadawas are found in the Mehsana district. The fourth regional group which may have been a native of Gujarat is the community of aboriginals, locally known as 'Bhils', which inhabit the hilly tracts of Gujarat that border the plains from Abu in the north to Dangs in the south. The main tribal groups are the Bhils, the Dublas, the Naika-Narkdas, the Gamits and the Dhankas. The Bhils regard themselves as belonging to the Kshatriya caste who had to take shelter in the hills of the Vindhyas and the Satpuras, along the lower Narmada, to save themselves from the wrath of the Brahmin hero, Parashuram. The Bhils of Gujarat thus do not possess any racial basis distinct from the other inhabitants of the region. The tribals of Gujarat are found in the south-eastern part of Gujarat particularly in the district of Panchmahal, Surat, Baroda, and Broach.