The Bari 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 among a 2008 population of between 8.3 and 9.3 million. Its economy is predominantly at the subsistence agriculture level. As regards religion, Christianity and traditional beliefs predominate. Some people practice syncretisms of Christian and indigenous religions.
Linguistic diversity is much greater in the southern half of the country. In the north, over 90% of the people belong to either the Dinka (population over 1.5 million) or the Nuer (over 800,000), two peoples which are closely related linguistically and in other ways. These two groups are also the largest two in South Sudan overall. Both the Dinka and Nuer are fragmented into chains of socially and politically separate communities. Dinka is a sociolinguistic language and its dialects are not all mutually intelligible.