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They reside predominantly in the province of Punjab, neighbouring Azad Kashmir in the region of Jammu and Kashmir and in Islamabad Capital Territory.
Punjabis are also found in large communities in the largest city of Pakistan, Karachi, located in the Sindh province.
Punjabis in India can be found in the states of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi and the Union Territory of Chandigarh.
Large communities of Punjabis are also found in the Jammu region of Jammu and Kashmir and in Rajasthan, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh.
By the 1960s, Indian Punjab underwent reorganisation as demands for a linguistic Punjabi state increased (in line with the policy of linguistic states that had been applied in the rest of India).
The Hindi-speaking areas were formed into the states of Himachal Pradesh and Haryana respectively, leaving a Punjabi speaking majority in the state of Punjab.
Historically, the Punjabi people were a heterogeneous group and were subdivided into a number of clans called biradari (literally meaning "brotherhood") or tribes, with each person bound to a clan.
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In addition, Punjabi society is divided into two divisions, the zamindar groups or qoums, traditionally associated with farming and the moeens, who are traditionally artisans.
Some zamindars are further divided into groups such as the Rajputs, Jats, Shaikhs or Muslim Khatris, Gujjars, Awans, Arains and Syeds.
People from neighbouring regions, such as Kashmiris, Pashtuns and Baluch, also form sizeable portion of the Punjabi population.