There's very little known yet about races. We know that races will grant a +1 bonus to a stat (and that class will also grant a +1 bonus to its key ability). For example: half-orc gets +1 STR and fighter gets +1 STR. Generally race gets a +1 bonus.
- Races, like classes will be sorted into common, uncommon, and rare: "We can be explicit in the rules about class and race availability. By tagging some races as common, others as uncommon, and others as rare, we can instruct players and DMs alike in how these options might fit into their settings. The core races, the common ones, might only include humans, dwarves, elves, and halflings since those races more or less appear in every D&D setting (yes, yes, kender are different from halflings—you’re welcome, Miranda). Uncommon races might include half-elves, half-orcs, high elves, and gnomes. And maybe the rare include dragonborn, drow, and tieflings. Separated in this way, a DM can tell players his or her game features only the common and uncommon races. Or, maybe the DM says only uncommon and rare races. A new DM might say just the common ones only! This method of sorting could also apply to classes so DMs looking to capture a particular tone and style can confidently and broadly select the options that most closely match his or her expectations and vision of fantasy most appropriate for his or her campaign." - Robert Schwalb
- [NEW 15 MAY] "Races are a little different, because we can imagine that there are some themes that tie in well to the race's culture. For example, we might do a dwarven defender theme, or an elven bladesinger theme, which would tie into race as a cultural touchstone, but probably wouldn't tie in especially tightly to that race's mechanics." - Rodney Thompson.
- [NEW 16 MAY] Subraces are in: the high elf was mentioned in this live chat.
- Dwarf: +1 Constitution, –1 Charisma
- Elf: +1 Dexterity, –1 Constitution
- Halfling: +1 Dexterity, –1 Strength.
- "5e halflings seem faster than 3e ones, but slower than 4e ones (25 feet/5 squares), while armor appears to slow you down less (scale only slows you down by 5 feet it seems, not 10)." [source]
- Human: no bonus to stats, +1 to saves.