Yushu is in the traditional Kham Area. It is a multi-ethnic town. The inhabitants are mostly Tibetan while most merchants are Han Chinese. The area has a population of over 250,000. Although it is outside the Tibet Autonomous Region, it is clearly Tibetan, albeit increasingly flooded with Chinese incomers.
In the morning of 14 April 2010, the town was struck by 7.1 magnitude Earthquake. Around 2,000 people died.