Updated on
April 15, 2024 by Elly Hancock

Best Ethnicity Estimate in 2024: Explore Your Ancestry

Best Ethnicity Estimate in 2024: Explore Your Ancestry

When delving into your heritage, ethnicity estimates play a significant role. At-home DNA tests utilize numerous geographical regions and reference populations to provide insights into your ethnicity and uncover your ancestors’ historical backgrounds.

However, with various tests available, it can be challenging to determine which one is the most suitable for your needs. It’s crucial to invest your time and money wisely by selecting a test that can provide the information you seek. To save you the effort, I have thoroughly researched the options available and compiled the relevant details for your convenience.

I’ve rounded up the best ethnicity percentage tests that come with accurate insights, detailed reports, and a few added extras too. Our #1 pick is Ancestry for its accuracy and quick, detailed results.

Get the Best Ethnicity Estimate From Ancestry

Short on time? Here are the best ethnicity estimates

  • AncestryDNA – Its interactive tools reveal where your ancestors lived and cover 60 reference populations.
  • 23andMe – Trace your ancestry across history, including ancient history; wide global coverage of regions and populations. 
  • MyHeritage – Detailed breakdowns of your ethnicity and vast database of records to explore your ancestry
  • Living DNA – Y-DNA and mtDNA analysis to show ancestors’ migration paths and specialization in British, Irish, and African regions.
  • SelfDecode – Detailed reports on your ancestry, genes, and how they affect your health.
  • FamilyTreeDNA – Ethnicity estimate with a family tree brought to life. 
  • Nebula Genomics– Whole genome sequencing and a scientific approach to ethnicity estimates. 

See how each test comparesFAQs

What We Look for in the Best Ethnicity Estimate Tests

There are lots of features and details to sort through when looking for panels to check your ethnicity. These are the factors we considered to narrow down the best ethnicity percentage tests:

  • Reference populations: The closer your ancestral origins are to a company’s list of reference populations, the more likely you are to receive an accurate report.
  • Tools and features: More than just a report with information, your ethnicity results can dig deeper into your origins and help you with other ancestry projects.
  • Results detail: How you navigate your results is important. The information must be clear and understandable, and it’s always a plus if there are creative ways to view your results.
  • Raw analysis: Many (but not all) companies give you the option of uploading your raw DNA from another provider for analysis, often at no extra cost.

Best Ethnicity Estimate DNA Kits Reviewed

1. AncestryDNA – Best for Tracing Ethnicity Maps

  • Identifies 60 reference populations from 1,000+ regions
  • Migration mapping helps you trace your ancestors’ ethnicities
  • An interactive map report allows you to pinpoint your heritage
  • Results in 6-8 weeks

Price from$99.00
Our score9.9

AncestryDNA delves into more than 1,000 global regions to uncover traces of your DNA, providing a nuanced depiction of your origins.

Setting itself apart from competitors, AncestryDNA offers unique features linking your DNA to specific geographic locations. Through its regional percentage range, you can gauge the strength of your DNA’s ties to various areas.

With support for 60 reference populations corresponding to thousands of geographical regions, spanning from Sweden to Southern Italy, AncestryDNA facilitates exploration through an interactive map. This map enables you to pinpoint the regions in your DNA and delve deeper into the heritage of each area.

AncestryDNA is one of my favorites for migration mapping. Using your results, it displays migration maps so you can trace your ancestors and understand where your ethnicity percentages come from.

It takes around 6-8 weeks for your report — not the fastest, but typical of these types of tests. But it’s worth the wait because AncestryDNA displays a range of possible percentages in your results. It shows you the least likely number as a possibility to add even more transparency to your report.

Trace Your Ethnicity with AncestryDNA!

2. 23andMe — Trace Your Ancestors Back to Ancient History

  • Compares your DNA against 45 known populations
  • Traces your DNA across 2750+ regions
  • Includes traits report with its basic screening
  • See if you have Neanderthal ancestry
  • Results in 3 to 4 weeks

Price from$229.00
Our score9.6

23andMe offers an Ancestry Composition feature, allowing you to discover your ethnic background by analyzing your DNA. It compares your DNA with reference populations from around the world to pinpoint your ethnic mix. This process involves examining specific markers in your DNA that are indicative of certain ethnicities. By doing so, it provides a detailed breakdown of your ancestry, showing percentages from various regions.

Another key feature is the Ancestry Timeline, which estimates how many generations ago your ancestors might have lived in specific regions. It works by analyzing the length and patterns of your DNA segments that you share with reference populations. This feature helps you understand when different parts of your ancestry were introduced into your genetic makeup, offering a historical perspective on your ethnicity estimates.

The Haplogroups identification is another aspect of 23andMe’s ethnicity estimate. It traces maternal and paternal lines by identifying your specific haplogroups, which are groups of similar genetic sequences passed down from one generation to the next. This can provide insights into the migration patterns of your ancestors, further enriching your understanding of your ethnic origins.

Lastly, 23andMe’s Neanderthal Ancestry feature provides an interesting glimpse into the ancient past by identifying how much of your DNA is derived from Neanderthals. This is relevant for ethnicity estimates as it highlights the deep historical roots of your genetic makeup, offering a broader context for your ancestry beyond recent generations and geographic regions.

Get Started With 23andMe

3. MyHeritage – Covers a Great Number of Regions for Detailed Ethnicity Estimate

  • 19.4 billion records to explore
  • 6.5 million DNA samples in the database
  • Simple cheek swab sample
  • Results within 4 weeks

Price from$89.00
Our score9.7

MyHeritage’s ethnicity estimate offers an engaging glimpse into your ancestral origins. When you upload your DNA data or take a MyHeritage DNA test, the platform provides you with an ethnicity estimate, showcasing the geographic regions that likely contribute to your genetic makeup. While it’s important to remember that no ethnicity estimate can provide a definitive picture of your entire ancestry, MyHeritage’s estimate can be a fascinating starting point for exploring your heritage.

MyHeritage’s ethnicity estimate stands out for its comprehensive regional coverage. Featuring representation from more than 42 ethnic regions, the platform provides a diverse array of potential ancestral origins. Whether your heritage traces back to major global regions like Europe, Africa, and Asia, or you have more specific connections to areas like Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, or Polynesia, MyHeritage aims to encompass the rich tapestry of genetic backgrounds that shape our global heritage.

The interactive aspect of MyHeritage’s ethnicity estimate is also commendable. The platform provides you with an engaging visual representation of your ethnic makeup, showcasing the percentage breakdown of each region and even linking them to historical information. This feature allows you to delve deeper into the origins of each region and understand the migration patterns and historical context behind your ancestral heritage.

MyHeritage also offers additional features beyond the ethnicity estimate that enhance the value of their service. By connecting with other users who share DNA with you, you can potentially discover relatives and expand your family tree. The platform’s extensive database and matching algorithms facilitate this connection process, making it a valuable tool for those interested in exploring their genealogy.

Get Started With MyHeritage

4. Living DNA – Best for Sub-Regional Ethnicity

  • Predicts sub-regional ancestry based on 150 regions
  • Specializes in British, European, and African ancestry
  • Analyzes mtDNA and Y-DNA with migration maps
  • Results in 6-8 weeks

Price from$105.00
Our score9.4

Living DNA may not cover as many regions as other tests, but it specializes in certain areas of the world better. With 21 regions in the British Isles, 9 in Europe, and 72 in Africa, Living DNA offers a greater level of precision for those with British, European, and African ancestry.

It also specializes in sub-regional ancestry. Living DNA gives more detail because it can pinpoint where in a region you’re from, giving you a deeper understanding of your ethnic background.

Within 6-8 weeks, you’ll have a detailed report with ethnicity estimates broken down to 0.1%. You can explore the areas where your ancestors came from using the family ancestry map, with interesting facts about every location.

Living DNA also analyzes mtDNA and Y-DNA to show you your maternal and paternal migration paths, which you can track around the globe.

One huge bonus I found with Living DNA is that it has a free analysis offer. If you already have DNA results from AncestryDNA, 23andMe, or a handful of other companies, you can upload them for a no-cost report covering eight regions around the world and five to six generations.

Explore Your Ethnic Heritage with Living DNA!

5. SelfDecode – Ethnicity Estimate With Health Insights

  • Get health insights based on your ancestry
  • Detailed breakdown of your heritage
  • Simple cheek swab sample
  • Results in 6 to 8 weeks

Price from$99.00
Our score9

With SelfDecode’s ethnicity estimate, you can discover your ancestral origins and gain a deeper understanding of your heritage. The process is simple and user-friendly, allowing you to unlock valuable information about your genetic background.

To get started, all you need to do is order a SelfDecode ethnicity test kit online. The kit includes easy-to-follow instructions and a sample collection swab. Using the provided swab, you simply collect a small sample of your DNA from the inside of your cheek. No blood or other invasive procedures are required, making it a convenient and painless process.

Once you’ve collected your sample, you send it back to SelfDecode’s lab for analysis. Their expert team uses advanced genetic sequencing technology to examine your DNA and determine your ethnic ancestry. The delivery time for the ethnicity estimate may vary, but you can typically expect to receive your results within a few weeks of sending in your sample.

With SelfDecode’s ethnicity estimate, you’ll gain insights into the geographical regions your ancestors came from and the ethnic groups they may have belonged to. It’s a fascinating way to connect with your roots and learn more about your family’s history.

Get Started With SelfDecode

6. FamilyTreeDNA – Best for Exploring Ancient Ethnicity

  • 24 reference populations
  • See how much DNA you share with ancient Europeans
  • Traces DNA to 80 geographical regions
  • Results in 6-8 weeks

Price from$79.00
Our score8.5

FamilyTreeDNA’s autosomal test, called Family Finder, offers solid tools for exploring your lineage at an extremely affordable price, with results in 6-8 weeks. It assigns you to one of 24 possible reference populations that reveal historical and genetic events related to your ancestry.

Also included is the ancientOrigins tool, which traces your autosomal DNA back to ancient European civilizations — it looks at DNA found in actual archaeological dig sites throughout Europe. The test can reveal how much of your autosomal DNA contains traces of ancient European groups such as Hunter-Gatherers or Metal Age Invaders.

You can upgrade to the mtDNA and Y-DNA test to explore ancient migration routes with interactive tools. As you’d expect with an upgrade, there’s an extra cost for this.

There are some freebies, though. You can upload raw DNA from several testing companies for free autosomal matches and access to the Family Finder Matrix feature. This lets you compare your DNA with up to ten other matches, but an ethnicity estimate costs extra.

Get Deep Ethnic Insights with FamilyTreeDNA!

7. Nebula Genomics – Whole Genome Sequencing for Accurate Ethnicity Estimate

  • Whole genome sequencing 
  • Detailed breakdown of your genes and ancestry
  • Cheek swab from the comfort of your home
  • Results in 6-8 weeks

Price from$249.00
Our score9.2

Nebula Genomics offers an advanced and insightful ethnicity estimate service that provides valuable insights into your genetic ancestry. By analyzing your DNA, Nebula Genomics can reveal detailed information about your ethnic origins, helping you uncover the diverse components of your heritage.

The process is simple and convenient. Once you order the ethnicity estimate, Nebula Genomics sends you a DNA collection kit that includes a saliva collection tube. All you need to do is provide a small saliva sample and send it back to their lab using the pre-paid shipping label. The sample can be collected from the comfort of your own home, making it a hassle-free experience.

After the lab receives your sample, the analysis begins. Nebula Genomics utilizes cutting-edge technology to analyze your DNA and determine your ethnic composition. The results are delivered to you through a secure online portal, usually within a few weeks. The comprehensive report presents a breakdown of your ancestry across different regions, highlighting the specific ethnic groups that contribute to your genetic makeup.

With Nebula Genomics’ ethnicity estimate, you can gain a deeper understanding of your heritage and uncover fascinating details about your ancestry. The process is straightforward, the sample collection is simple, and the results are delivered in a timely manner.

Get Started With Nebula Genomics

What’s in the Fine Print?

When buying an ethnicity test, consider any extra costs you might encounter during or after the purchase. Here’s an overview of additional expenses for some tests:

– Living DNA charges up to $10 for standard shipping and offers express delivery for around $40. If quick kit delivery is a priority, include the expedited shipping cost in your budget. Ancestry DNA, however, includes shipping in the initial price.

– Living DNA allows you to upload existing data for free ethnicity estimates. This feature is limited and doesn’t offer detailed DNA analysis, but it does provide a basic ethnicity test at no cost.

– FamilyTreeDNA presents three different DNA testing options. To get ethnicity estimates along with mtDNA or Y-DNA mapping, you’ll need to buy all three kits together.

– Several kits on this list include family tree software. These tools are great for delving into your ancestry but remember they often come with a monthly fee, so anticipate ongoing expenses.

What Will the Results From an Ethnicity Estimate Test Tell Me?

As you’d expect, an ethnicity percentage test allows you to check your ethnicity and trace your heritage over time. You can learn:

  • About the ethnicities that make up your DNA, usually down to 0.1%
  • How your ancestors moved around the globe
  • All about the different geographical regions in your DNA, with historical facts
  • About your mtDNA and Y-DNA migration maps

Ethnicity Estimate Test Comparison

  Geographical Regions Interactive Map mtDNA and Y-DNA Mapping Time to Results Starting Price
AncestryDNA 1,000+ 6-8 weeks $99.00
23andMe 2750+ 3-4 weeks $229.00
MyHeritage 2100+ X 4 weeks $89.00
Living DNA 150 6-8 weeks $105.00
SelfDecode 80 6-8 weeks $99.00
FamilyTreeDNA 80

(with upgrade)

6-8 weeks $79.00
Nebula Genomics Unknown 6-8 weeks $249.00

Uncover Your Ethnicity, Trace Your Ancestry

With an ethnicity test, you can explore your ethnic makeup and learn all about where your ancestors came from. With some tests, you can even track your ancestors’ migration routes around the globe.

The best ethnicity test is Ancestry because it offers all that and more. It can identify your ethnicity percentages down to as little as 0.1% and covers many regions that other tests don’t.


How do you read an ethnicity estimate?

While DNA testing companies use complex algorithms to calculate your ethnicity estimate, reading your report is a straightforward process..

Most companies let you select an ethnicity and highlight where that region is on a map — in some cases, they also provide relevant information in a text box about your ancestral origins. In certain cases, you might submit multiple test kits with a single company, in which case you may be able to toggle between your different ethnicity estimates.

What does an ethnicity estimate mean?

Not only can you take a DNA test to see what race you are, but you can also find out how much of your DNA comes from specific regions. The ethnicity estimate is the feature that makes this possible.

Part of what makes the process unique is that your results are always changing. As companies test more customers, your regional percentages can change as a result of improvements. Instead of your results coming to you listed out in a static report, it’s available on a dynamic webpage in your account that updates automatically. Plus, there are useful tools built in to the report that you can use to discover more about your ancestry.

Which is the best ethnicity test: AncestryDNA, or 23andMe?

Each company’s ethnicity estimate is different because of their unique approaches towards calculating your results. There are particular regions a company can specialize in over others or features that no other service offers to help you with genealogy research. Deciding on a test is an important choice that largely depends on your ancestry and what you want out of an ethnicity estimate.

Our best overall ethnicity estimate pick is Ancestry for the way it presents your ethnicity estimate, the standards it uses to determine your results, and the affordable cost.

If you’re still not sure, why not read our comparison? We’ve looked at and compared each test in detail to help you make the right choice.

How accurate is ethnic DNA testing?

The accuracy of your ancestry ethnicity estimate can vary between different companies. This largely depends on your ancestral background and the reference populations available.

A reference population represents a group of actual living individuals (from a single location) who’ve submitted ethnicity genetic tests to a company. Their results greatly impact the results in your ethnicity estimate, as companies compare your DNA to its reference populations. You should aim to test with companies (when possible) that cover reference populations most closely related to your known ancestry.

Which DNA test kit offers the most detailed ancestry DNA test?

The amount of detail that a company’s ethnicity estimate can have may depend on your ancestral background. For example, if you have European or British ancestry, your results with Living DNA will likely contain more details considering that it has an extensive collection of European historical records. AncestryDNA has more reference populations[/affiliate-link] which might find you a more likely match.

We rank vendors based on rigorous testing and research, but also take into account your feedback and our commercial agreements with providers. This page contains affiliate links. Learn more.
About Author
Elly Hancock
Elly Hancock

Elly Hancock is a professional writer based in the UK with experience of creating engaging web copy for a variety of industries, from internet technology and science, to food and nutrition. Her love for content writing stems from an ability to connect with readers, understand their needs, and provide solutions in an honest and easy-to-read manner. In her spare time, you can find Elly on long dog walks, cooking a new recipe, or in the gym.

Elly Hancock is a professional writer based in the UK with experience of creating engaging web copy for a variety of industries, from internet technology and science, to food and nutrition. Her love for content writing stems from an ability to connect with readers, understand their needs, and provide solutions in an honest and easy-to-read manner. In her spare time, you can find Elly on long dog walks, cooking a new recipe, or in the gym.