According to a census conducted in 2000, there are 104,503 people belonging to the Salar ethnic minority.
The Salar ethnic minority people usually live in the Xunhua Salar Autonomous County of Qinghai Province, but some also live in Gansu Province and the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.
The Salar have their own Turkic language which is a subfamily of the Altaic language family that includes Turkish. Most Salar people can also speak Chinese and Tibetan and use Chinese script.
The Salar language includes two dialects. One was influenced by the Tibetan and Chinese languages, and the other by the Uyghur and Kazakh languages.
In the late 1990s, it was estimated that out of some 89,000 Salar people, around 60,000 spoke the Salar language. The Salar written language is rarely used, but it has similarities with Turkmen.