A significant proportion of the Fula – a third, or an estimated 12 to 13 million – are pastoralists, and their ethnic group has the largest nomadic pastoral community in the world. The majority of the Fula ethnic group consisted of semi-sedentary people as well as sedentary settled farmers, artisans, merchants and nobility. As an ethnic group, they are bound together by the Fula language, their history and their culture. More than 90% of the Fula are Muslims.
There are many names (and spellings of the names) used in other languages to refer to the Fulɓe. Fulani in English is borrowed from the Hausa term.Fula, from Manding languages, is also used in English, and sometimes spelled Fulah or Fullah. Fula and Fulani are commonly used in English, including within Africa. The French borrowed the Wolof term Pël, which is variously spelled: Peul, Peulh, and even Peuhl. More recently the Fulfulde / Pulaar term Fulɓe, which is a plural noun (singular, Pullo) has been Anglicised as Fulbe, which is gaining popularity in use. In Portuguese, the terms Fula or Futafula are used. The terms FallataFallatah or Fellata are of Kanuri origins, and are often the ethnonyms by which Fulani people are identified by in parts of Chad and in Sudan.