The function of the Registry of Peoples (ROP) is to provide standardized codes for identifying the primary people groups of the world. The ROP provides a reference list of ethnic identifiers representing the discrete human aggregations of the world along with language and location descriptors.

The Editor and Steward of the Registry of Peoples is Jim Courson, IMB.


1. IdentifiersThe Registry provides a unique code and definitive name for each people.

  • ROP3 – ROP Codes are 6-digit, numeric fields that provide a unique identifier for each ethnic entity. Each code is perpetual; it will not be used more than once, even if the entity it identifies is removed from the database.
  • PeopleName – ROP Names are identifiers recommended as standard reference names. Each reference name is based on the self-name or a representative construct name of an ethnic entity as determined by the Registry Editor. Each name represents the largest cohesive group of individuals considering themselves related and speaking one or more languages. These identifiers are stored in the primary table of the registry:

2. DescriptorsThe Registry provides two descriptors for each people group. A minimum of two descriptors is necessary to accurately define a people.

  • Each people group lives in an identifiable location. Thus each people group record will reference at least one location descriptor, although it will likely reference more, since many people groups of the world are spread across geo-political boundaries. Locations descriptors (People in Country) are stored in tblROP3geoIndex and a Primary Location (PLOC) descriptor is identified in tblROP3people.
  • Each person in every people group speaks a language. A people group record should include at least one language descriptor. As language for a given people group often varies by country, language descriptors are stored in tblROP3geoIndex and a Primary Language (PROL) descriptor is identified in tblROP3people.

Each ROP3 code is associated with a ROP2 People Cluster code (tblROP2peoplecluster), which is in turn associated with a ROP1 Affinity Bloc code (tblROP1affinitybloc). Additional reference descriptors have been added to associate ROP3 codes with Ethnicity codes (tblEthnicity) from the World Christian Database. These enhancements are intended to assist code users in assigning the codes.


The ROP download consists of six tables: a primary code table (tblROP3people), four supplementary tables, and a change history table as follows:

​Table ​Description The complete list of alphanumeric Affinity Bloc (ROP1) codes used in the ROP (along with name, source, and description). The complete list of alphanumeric People Cluster (ROP2) codes used in the ROP (along with name, source, ROP1 reference and description). A cumulative change history index documenting changes to ROP3 codes across successive versions of the registry.
​ ​A linking table that cross-references each ROP3 code to codes (GeoID) for one or more locations in which the people is documented according to IMB,
Joshua Project, or World Christian Database people lists (along with name, source, latitude, longitude, primary language (PROL) and primary religion (PROR).
​ ​The complete list of 6-digit, numeric People (ROP3) codes used in the ROP (along with name, source, ROP2 reference, Primary Location (PLOC), Primary Language (PROL), and description).
​ ​A supplementary table that holds data related to specific people-in-country combinations as reported by registry partners.