Minority Law and Legal Definition

The term minority has the following distinct meanings in law

  • The state or condition of being under legal age.
  • A group that does not constitute a politically dominant voting majority of the total population in a given society. This group is different in some respect from the majority and may get treated differently because of that. For example a minority religion refers to a religion held by a minority of the population of a country, state, or region. There are laws to protect the rights of religious minorities, such as protecting the minorities' culture and to promote harmony with the majority. Again there can be ethnic or racial minorities.
  • It can also refer to a group having less than a controlling number of votes.

Example of State Statutes (California) defining Minority

California Family Code § 6500 defines minor as follows:

A minor is an individual who is under 18 years of age. The period of minority is calculated from the first minute of the day on which the individual is born to the same minute of the corresponding day completing the period of minority. [ Cal Fam Code § 6500]

California Public Contract Code § 10115.1 defines minority as follows:

(d) "Minority," for purposes of this section, means a citizen or lawful permanent resident of the United States who is an ethnic person of color and who is: Black (a person having origins in any of the Black racial groups of Africa); Hispanic (a person of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Central or South American, or other Spanish or Portuguese culture or origin regardless of race); Native American (an American Indian, Eskimo, Aleut, or Native Hawaiian); Pacific-Asian (a person whose origins are from Japan, China, Taiwan, Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, the Philippines, Samoa, Guam, or the United States Trust Territories of the Pacific including the Northern Marianas); Asian-Indian (a person whose origins are from India, Pakistan, or Bangladesh); or any other group of natural persons identified as minorities in the respective project specifications of an awarding department or participating local agency.[Cal Pub Contract Code § 10115.1]