Malayali is the term used to refer to the native speakers of Malayalam, originating from the Indian state of Kerala. The Malayali identity is primarily linguistic, although in recent times the definition has been broadened to include emigrants of Malayali descent who partly maintain Malayali cultural traditions, even if they do not regularly speak the language. While the origins of the Malayali people are in the state of Kerala, significant populations also exist in other parts of India, the Middle East, Europe and North America. According to the Indian census of 2001, there were 30,803,747 speakers of Malayalam in Kerala, making up 96.7% of the total population of that state. Hence the word Keralite is often used in the same context, though a proper definition is ambiguous. Malayalam, the Malayalis' native language, has its origin from the words mala meaning mountain and alam meaning land (Tamil/Malayalam) or locality (which lies alongside the mountain).
Contributions by ARUNKUMAR P.R, 18.104.22.168, and Gnanapiti.