The Nenets live in a vast area that in terms of administration is mainly located in the areas of the Komi Republic, the Nenets Autonomous Okrug and the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug. These are tundra regions and in part covered by permafrost. Although there are two okrugs named after the Nenets, these are not fully Nenets areas. Instead, the Nenets are a small minority in them.

The Nenets religion is shamanistic, and their high god is Num.

Tundra Nenets following the traditional lifestyle are reindeer nomads, but there are also hunters and fishers among the Nenets. The main livelihood of the Forest Nenets is river fishing.

The first Nenets-language poet was Tyko Vylka (1886–‍1960). He was also a painter and took part in many expeditions to the coast of the Arctic Ocean.

The first Forest Nenets author was reindeer herder and documentarist Yuri Vella (1948–‍2013). A collection of his poems (Zemlia ljubvi [Land of Love]) has also been translated into Finnish (Rakkauden maa: Runoja ja dialogeja).