The Bari also known as the Karo ethnic groups in South Sudan occupy the Savanna lands of the White Nile Valley. They speak a language which is also called Bari. The name "Bari of the Nile Valley" would be fitting because the river Nile runs through the heart of the Bari land. This definition would also distinguish them from any other ethnic groups that may be using the name Bari; there are apparently such groups in Ethiopia and Somalia, although no information exist as to whether they are all anthropologically related, as well as in India and Pakistan.
The Bari of the Nile are sedentary agro-pastoralist. They exploit the savanna lands along the river Nile, and up to 40 miles east and west of the Nile. The Bari economy is based on subsistence mixed farming; their domestic livestock (small and large) are mainly raised for supplementing food, but mostly as a socio-economic and financial investment. Notably, livestock are exchanged as gifts in marriages, and other social functions or sacrificed in celebrations, and funerals; and whenever the need arises they are sold for cash.
The Bari are consistently under pressure: now from modern urbanization annexing their green lands and infusing different cultures into their lifestyles; and historically the Baris have been devastated by slave traders, and forced by Belgians (especially from the Lado enclave) into labor camps and used as porters to carry ivory tusks to the Atlantic coast. The two Sudanese Civil Wars (1955–1973; 1983–2005) have also affected the Bari social, economic and financial dynamics.
South Sudan is home to around 60 indigenous ethnic groups and 80 linguistic partitions among a 2011 population of around 11 million. Historically, most ethnic groups were lacking in formal Western political institutions, with land held by the community and elders acting as problem solvers and Adjudicators. Today, most ethnic groups still embrace a cattle culture in which livestock is the main measure of wealth and used for Bride wealth, where young men pay a dowry of several dozen cows to the parents of the woman when they marry. Because it is easier for youth of marrying age to steel cows from neighboring tribes, the primary pastime for the young men of the tribes is a form of low-level warfare, usually cattle raids against their neighbors.
The majority of the tribes in South Sudan are of African heritage who practice either Christianity or syncretisms of Christian and Traditional African religion. There is a significant minority of people, primarily tribes of Arab heritage, who practice Islam. Most tribes of African heritage have at least one clan that has embraced Islam, and some clans of tribes of Arab heritage have embraced Christianity.
Linguistic diversity is much greater in the southern half of the country. In the north, a significant majority of the people belong to either the Dinka people (35.8% of the South Sudan population, and primary residents of the historic Bahr el Ghazal Region) or the Nuer people (15.6% of the South Sudan population living primarily in the historic Greater Upper Nile region along with a significant number of Dinka). Both Peoples (tribes) speak one of the Nilo-Saharan languages and are closely related linguistically. Dinka is a standard language in South Sudan; however, its dialects are not all mutually intelligible.