A Revealing Map of the World’s Most and Least Ethnically Diverse Countries

Max Fisher, Washington Post, May 16, 2013



When five economists and social scientists set out to measure ethnic diversity for a landmark 2002 paper for the Harvard Institute of Economic Research, they started by comparing data from an array of different sources: national censuses, Encyclopedia Brittanica, the CIA, Minority Rights Group International and a 1998 study called “Ethnic Groups Worldwide.” They looked for consistence and inconsistence in the reports to determine what data set would be most reliable and complete. Because data sources such as censuses or surveys are self-reported – in other words, people are classified how they ask to be classified – the ethnic group data reflects how people see themselves, not how they’re categorized by outsiders. Those results measured 650 ethnic groups in 190 countries.

One thing the Harvard Institute authors did with all that data was measure it for what they call ethnic fractionalization. Another word for it might be diversity. They gauged this by asking an elegantly simple question: If you called up two people at random in a particular country and ask them their ethnicity, what are the odds that they would give different answers? The higher the odds, the more ethnically “fractionalized” or diverse the country.

I’ve mapped out the results above. The greener countries are more ethnically diverse and the orange countries more homogenous. There are a few trends you can see right away: countries in Europe and Northeast Asia tend to be the most homogenous, sub-Saharan African nations the most diverse. The Americas are generally somewhere in the middle. And richer countries appear more likely to be homogenous.


Before we go any further, though, a few important caveats, all of which appear in the original research paper as well. Well, all except for the report’s age. It’s now 11 years old. And given the scarcity of information from some countries, some of the data are very old, dating from as far back as the early 1990s or even late 1980s. {snip}

Another caveat is that people in different countries might have different bars for what constitutes a distinct ethnicity. These data, then, could be said to measure the perception of ethnic diversity more than the diversity itself; given that ethnicity is a social construct, though those two metrics are not necessarily as distinct as one might think. Finally, as the paper notes, “It would be wrong to interpret our ethnicity variable as reflecting racial characteristics alone.” Ethnicity might partially coincide with race, but they’re not the same thing.

Now for the data itself. Here are a few observations and conclusions, a number of which draw from the Harvard Institute paper:


• Diversity and conflict. Internal conflicts appear on first blush to be more common in greener countries, which might make some intuitive sense given that groups with comparable “stakes” in their country’s economics and politics might be more willing or able to compete, perhaps violently, over those resources. But there’s enough data here to draw a lot of different conclusions. One thing to keep in mind is that ethnicity might not be static or predetermined. In other words, as in the case of Somalia, maybe worsening economic conditions or war make people more likely to further divide along ethnic fractions.

• Diversity correlates with latitude and low GDP per capita. The report notes, “our measures of linguistic and ethnic fractionalization are highly correlated with latitude and GDP per capita. Therefore it is quite difficult to disentangle the effect of these three variables on the quality of government.” As above, keep in mind that correlation and causation aren’t the same thing.

• Strong democracy correlates with ethnic homogeneity. This does not mean that one necessarily causes the other; the correlation might be caused by some other factor or factors. But here’s the paper’s suggestion for why diversity might make democracy tougher in some cases:

The democracy index is inversely related to ethnic fractionalization (when latitude is not controlled for). This result is consistent with theory and evidence presented in Aghion, Alesina and Trebbi (2002). The idea is that in more fragmented societies a group imposes restrictions on political liberty to impose control on the other groups. In more homogeneous societies, it is easier to rule more democratically since conflicts are less intense.



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  • Mr. E

    This map is a bunch of crap. They’re trying to make sub-Sahara Africa look the most diverse even though (with the exception of South Africa) it’s nearly all black. Sure there may be a multitude of black tribes, but there are is little to no racial diversity. And the map makes Australia look as though it’s one of the most homogenous nations, yet Australia has been swamped with Asian and African immigration the past several decades. This map is BS.

    • Kathy M

      The key word was ethnic diversity. Not racial. Africa has many different ethnicities — all racially black.

      • PlumberofNazareth

        Indeed. Note how France (with a large black population) is rated as fairly homogeneous, because nearly everybody else other than the Muslim blacks are ethnic French. Its next-door neighbor, Switzerland, on the other hand, is rated as quite diverse, even though it is far “whiter” than France. This is because French, German, Italian, and a few smaller white ethnolinguistic groups make up the whole of Switzerland’s population.

        • Homo_Occidentalis

          “Multi-culturalism” in and of itself is not quite so insidious as the “multi-racialism” modern liberals espouse. The French, Germans, and Italians are all highly industrious people, and therefore Switzerland thrives for their presence.

      • Mr. E

        Then what about Australia? Australia is an exceptionally ethnically diverse nation.

        And if diversity is just as much about ethnicity as it is race, then America was exceptionally diverse pre-Hart-Cellar. Yet we’ve been told that America was not diverse and that Hart-Cellar brought us the diversity that is allegedly our strength.

        In the end, Leftists will always subtly redefine diversity to suit their interests.

        • GM (Australia)

          As has been mentioned in another post, this map is garbage. Yes, Australia is often accused as being a totally white and racist but at the same time we are also applauded as being an exceptionally diverse and multicultural society. Obviously this depends who you listen to and what their political agenda is.

          As for being a homogeneous society I do not feel that the recent influx of Asians, Muslims and Africans have blended into our society in any meaningful way, they certainly have equal rights under our laws including access to welfare but I do not think they have really contributed to this countries present well being. The social scientists should also note that this nation is still predominately white and English speaking.Just like China and Japan are both homogeneous and successful nations.

          • Mr Potato

            They need us, we don’t need them.

      • Morris LeChat

        yes, blacks are divided into many tribes and they all massacre each other on a regular basis

        • Luis

          Yes they do. The most notable example was Nigeria’s war against the breakaway “republic” of Biafra in the late 1960’s to early 1970’s. The Yoruba and Hausa tribes fought against the Ibo tribe, which sought a separate state called Biafra.

          Maybe I missed something, but weren’t all the warring tribes coal-black?

          • Ciccio

            You missed the most important thing. It was the Christian Ibos against the Muslim Hausa.

    • Homo_Occidentalis

      It’s a shame that my native Canada is so green on this map. Even though we are still a solid 80% white, our “Conservative” government is still importing the third world at a very fast pace. I have no doubt that short of a white nationalist revolution, I will see a white-minority Canada in my life time.

      • NYB

        Not if the new arrivals are asked to go home.

        The end of European colonialism brought mass repatriation of whites. The end of multiculturalism can mirror that outcome, with the Third World returning to their homelands.

        With today’s mass intercontinental transit, it is more than possible. It just needs the right catalyst.

        • Homo_Occidentalis

          By the time they reach a majority in our nations, it will be logistically impossible to oust them all. It’s already looking very difficult to do in the United States, with whites at only 63%.

          • GeneticsareDestiny

            I’m not so sure about that. I think that even if whites got as low as 20-30%, they could still remove the invaders, as long as they worked together with this as a conscious goal.

            We have much better technology and weaponry than they do. We’re also smarter. One white man could singlehandedly remove dozens of non-white invaders.

            However, if we got below 15% or so, things would begin looking grim.

  • The US doesn’t fit into one category. The best parts of America are the parts without a black population. Needless to say, no matter where you go, the black part of town is ALWAYS the worst. I love the way self-loathing, white politically correct fools think that all minorities are united under the umbrella term “people of color”. I lived in CA for over a decade and it is the Mexicans and Asian who hate blacks the most. Even the Palestinians of San Francisco hate grown to hate these ‘people’.

    • PlumberofNazareth

      From my experience in Cali, it was the Armenians in SoCal that were the most openly raciss’ of all the groups. Whites are too scared to express their true feelings, and Mexicans/Asians have mainly fallen for the Left’s tactics and are loathe to criticize fellow minorities. The Armenians, on the other hand, have been fed crap by the Kurds, Turks, and Persians for thousands of years. They know that race matters, and they aren’t afraid to show it.

      • Luis

        The alleged “racism” of the Armenians doesn’t apply to the Kardashian sisters, who will bed any male Bantu at the drop of their panties.

      • Paleoconn

        Armenians are Whites.

    • Jefferson

      There is a 98 percent Black zip code in Detroit where you have a 1 in 7 chance of being a victim of a violent crime.

      • Yeah 1:7 in any given year even. So within 7 years you would be absolutely assured of being killed, raped, agg robbed! This would take far less time if you are non-bantu.
        Measured in minutes if not seconds.

  • JackKrak

    How in the hell does darkest Africa rate as “diverse”???
    Are they counting black, really black and black black black as three races?

    • PlumberofNazareth

      The graph measures ethnicity, not race. It’s Dutch vs. Danes, not White vs. Black.

      • JackKrak

        Yeah, I know, but the two are equated in the popular mind. According to the map, Uganda has a mind-boggling array of different peoples but the UK doesn’t? Who really believes that?

        • Kathy M

          English and German, two ethnicities, one race. Hottento an Zulu, two ethnicities, one race. A map of racial diversity would have been more telling.

      • The__Bobster

        Like you can really tell them apart?

    • ChiefDanGeorge

      Actually, I think it’s black, eggplant and blurple.

  • Matt

    I can’t believe this map shown. France, England, Australia, and America as ethnically homogenous? Third-worlders are flooding into those countries. They may have been white-homogenous at one point, but not now.

  • libertarian 1234

    It’s a great map for determining which nations will be splitting apart into civil conflict and which ones are likely to remain intact.

  • Whenever I bring up how China and Japan do not believe in diversity to the Starbucks drinking white sissy liberals, their faces turn into an expression that reminds me of the zombies in Walking Dead.

  • Ralph

    Whites should incorporate particularist ethics into their ways of looking at the world around us. Universalist ethics are helping lead to our extinction.

    For example:

    Universalist: Good means helping all humans.

    White Particularist: Good means only helping Whites.

    Much more could be written, but you get the idea. And, remember, ethics are not something that are written in stone. Right now, Whites are living under old ethics that were fine when we were in all White nations, but which are now failing us.

    You may adopt any ethical views that you wish.

    Some lefties go even further than the above universalist example and believe that good is defined as what is good for the planet Earth. And, they view humans as harming the Earth, so these lefties want to eradicate all humans, and they counsel everyone to not have any children to help their cause.

  • The__Bobster

    I hate maps like this. It creates targets for the tribe and the do-gooders they buy off.

    • Homo_Occidentalis

      Hmmm… The United Kingdom is heavily lacking in diversity according to this map. An immediate airdrop of 500,000 needy Somalis had ought to enrich them just enough… Get Mr. Cameron on the line for me, please.

      *Grins wickedly and steeples his sly fingers*

      • newscomments70

        Don’t worry, they are already on the way.

  • The__Bobster

    The three conclusions make sense. How the author weasel-words the explanations does not.

  • bigone4u

    I’m looking at Russia on that map and I’m thinking about all the beautiful Russian blondes I’ve seen pictures of and I’m thinking, “If only I was 30 years younger or a few million dollars richer.” Oh, well, I can dream, can’t I?

    • newscomments70

      I have some respect for Russia, their people and their accomplishments. Unfortunately it is an unstable place at this time. It is a violent, third world country, dominated by criminal gangs. It is extremely expensive to live there and payscale is very low. Google, “driving in Russia” and you get an idea of how lawless it is. On youtube, search “roadrage in Russia”. There are some eye-opening videos. The strangest videos I saw were of military fighter jets buzzing drivers on rural highways. Yes, there are some good-looking blond women there, but the place seems unlivable at this time. The homicde rate in Russia is 18 per 100,000. The homicide rate in the US is 5 per 100,000. I wish I were wrong.

      • bigone4u

        I wonder how much of the crime is in the big cities, the beautiful ones like St. Petersburg, vs. some of the more ethnic areas. Putin is trying to instill a Christian identity or culture on Russia, such as by outlawing all gay pride parades for the next 100 years. But anyway, the dream would be spoiled by the horrible cold in Russia even if I had a lovely Russian lady to keep my sheets warm.

        • newscomments70

          Both rural and urban areas seem pretty dangerous. An acquaintence of mine told me that his son was killed in St Petersburg. He was run over by a car. I asked him if it was accidental or murder. He lowered his voice and said “I don’t know” and walked away. Another acquaintence of mine is a Russian businessman. I met him while Scuba diving abroad. I asked him what he did for a living. He replied, “In Russia, if you have business, you don’t talk about it!”.

          In rural areas, some of the roadways are only one lane wide, but have to accomodate two way traffic. There will often be two cars driving toward each other at high speed. It is a macho culture and often neither side will yield…a game of chicken, so to speak. They collide; many motorists die like this every year in Russia.

          Don’t give up though. it could always change for the better. Check out Sochi. It is a beautiful place with a subtropical climate. Sochi is a south Russian city on the Black Sea, but it used to be part of Turkey. I hear it is a beautiful city, warm climate, beaches, mountain views, there is a nearby ski resort. I’ve looked at the hotels there, they seemed reasonable.

      • the suicide rate in the us is 23 per 100,000

  • Potestas Tenebrarum

    Wait a minute: India is less ethnically diverse than Canada or New Zealand? That seems a rather strange finding. And how did Great Britain and French, each groaning under the “vibrancy” of millions of non-European immigrants from all over their respective immense former empires, come to be supposedly among the least ethnically “diverse” countries on earth? Frankly, I think that all this map “proves” is that the term “diversity” means everything and nothing at the same time. Some “value” for which to immolate the West and the white race, hunh?

    • e2657383

      This “map” shows that a White Polish is “diverse” from a White German. It is silly.

  • Homo_Occidentalis

    And richer countries appear more likely to be homogenous.

    And there you have it, right from the horses mouth. Why again are we importing hundreds of thousands of unassimilables each year?

  • GM (Australia)

    I notice on this map that Australia & NZ have quite different rankings, why? You could not get 2 more similar nations, both are mainly white and English speaking and are both very prosperous nations with a high standard of living and quality of life. But let us look at the trouble spots in both of these nations. Some of these areas are; South Auckland (NZ), Sydney’s Western and South Western Suburbs and Melbourne’s north. What do all of these areas have in common, lots of (relative) poverty, crime and DIVERSITY.

  • Bill

    Why do I get the feeling this map was drawn up to indicate target areas for the multi-cults to home in on???

  • Mark

    If the white people have been a terrible force upon non-white people; I should
    think the non-white people of the world would appreciate our desire to remove
    ourselves. In any case ask yourself why it is… that if white people do exile
    themselves non-whites will follow them? Could it be that their relationship
    with us is essentially parasitic in nature?

  • IKantunderstand

    “Ignore the man behind the curtain”. Oh, please, just more propaganda. Race is a social construct, but apparently, ethnicity is real? I presume Canada is more diverse than America, because of those White Frenchies? And, Mexico and Central America are more diverse because? Um, some people don’t speak Spanish? Oh, and the diversity in Africa! Please, they want us to not look at race as a defining characteristic. Let me be perfectly clear, this is crap. I want White countries to stay White. I don’t care if people in South America are concerned with the ethnic differences with the people in Lima who speak Spanish and the Indians who live in the highlands and speak Quechua. Don’t care! They are not White and they do not belong in our countries. Period. I for one, believe these non-Whites should be encouraged to enjoy their “vibrancy” in their HOME countries. Oh, and by the way, for any of you out there who want to whine about “We are all immigrants, blah, blah.” Well, I’ve got news for you. The racial component of ALL countries on the face of the earth have been pretty much the same for hundreds of years. Africa has contained Blacks. Asia has contained Asians. Europe has contained Whites. The countries settled by Whites, have contained Whites. Look, nobody ever in the history of the world ever prevented Africans from setting forth on ships and colonizing new countries that they discovered, the same for Asians. And yet, they never did any of those things. Nope, the Africans and Asians only decided to take over after the Whites did all the heavy lifting. And yeah, I know the first Blacks came over as slaves. But, if we want to consider the success of Blacks in the new world who first realized their independence, let’s look at the shining example of Haiti. My, what an exemplary case of Negro work ethics and brains. Oh, and by the way, why is it only White people who adopt Black babies from Africa? Why doesn’t Beyonce? Oprah? Kanye West? Tiger Woods? Will Smith? ETC. Why don’t the Blacks in this country reach out more to their African brothers and sisters? And why, when I volunteered to help clean up Detroit, there was exactly 2 Blacks in my clean-up crew and 23 Whites? (None of the Whites, except me, lived in Detroit).

    • Homo_Occidentalis

      Don’t mention Haiti. The liberals hate it when you bring up cases that can easily shatter their dogmas. According to liberals, white oppression caused endemic poverty and squalor in that country. Those evil white Frenchmen who abandoned Haiti a full… TWO HUNDRED years ago are to blame for the negroes never achieving a utopia free of want and disease in Haiti. It’s a good thing the Romans never chanced to take any negro slaves two thousand years ago, or we’d still be getting grief from their descendants!

      • Jefferson

        Haiti is so poor that they make Appalachia look like Malibu in comparison.

        • Luis

          Kudos to you, paisan. When I told my (Puerto Rican) brother-in-law that for every dollar a Puerto Rican earned on the island, a Haitian earned three cents, he simply shook his head.

          For that matter, Haiti is destitute compared to the Dominican Republic, which shares the island of Hispaniola. It is a perfect example of how and why “economic equality’ is a pipe-dream.

          Haiti is so poor, it makes Detroit look prosperous, by comparison.

          Poverty is relative. I remember in seventh grade my teacher told the class that “the poorest man in the United States is RICHER (her emphasis) than the poorest man in India”.

          For some reason, I never forgot that. Now, I have my own favorite saying:

          “The poorest family in Mississippi is far wealthier than the poorest family in Bangladesh”.

          • Homo_Occidentalis

            The Globalists are trying to drag us all down. In that regard at least, they do not discriminate. American factory workers never had to compete with slave-wage Bangladeshis before the 70’s.

  • NYB

    This is of very little value, if whites are answering Irish, English, French, Russian, Ukrainian, Polish, etc.

    Each would appear as a ‘different ethnicity’ in the study conclusion.

    Canada, for example, is 80 percent white, which makes it more white than the present U.S. Because it has immigrants from more diverse sources, it scores as more ethnically diverse.

    • e2657383

      I also found it odd that Canada was considered more diverse, considering it is less diverse than the USA. Your first paragraph explains why.

  • This is basically playing with words. It’s purposefully misleading and disingenuous. It ranks diversity by a definition most of us don’t adhere to. For example, Liberia and Uganda are ranked as the most diverse in the world……lol really? Only if you consider different tribes of black people to be diverse. England, France, and Holland have so many 3rd world immigrants that whites are becoming a minority….yet those show up as the most homogenous?? Even Russia: it’s only 79% Russian, and is filled with at least 90 different ethnic groups. But Kazakhstan is predominately (80%) Kazakh, 20% Russian, but somehow more diverse? Ridiculous.

  • GM (Australia)

    I notice on this map that Australia & NZ have quite different rankings, why? You could not get 2 more similar nations, both are mainly white and English speaking and are both very prosperous nations with a high standard of living and quality of life. But let us look at the trouble spots in both of these nations. The worst areas I know of are, South Auckland (NZ), Sydney’s Western and South Western Suburbs, Melbourne’s north. What do all of these areas have in common, lots of (relative) poverty, crime and DIVERSITY, and lots of it.

    • GM (Auatralia)

      Dear Moderator, I seem to have had a double post, not sure what happened?

  • Funruffian

    It’s sad to see the world’s superpower being on the verge of an ethnically fractionalized country. We can blame our withering power and bloated deficit on the current powers that be and our Immigration policy.

  • BonusGift

    Took one look at the map and here are my first thoughts:
    1) Orwellian,
    2) absurd, and
    3) false propaganda.
    4) What’s for lunch?

  • KenelmDigby

    Britain is marked as a ‘homogenous’ nation.
    What utter, utter tripe!
    I stopped even bothering to read the article after that rubbish.
    It’s rather like stating that the pope is a muslim, in terms of absurdity.

    • WR_the_realist

      Yeah, it’s weird. It’s as though that map was based on 40 year old data.

  • BaronBaal

    More pseudo-science based on assumptions and no cold hard facts…

  • Luis

    The article is mugabedung from the get-go, starting with the first sentence – ‘Ethnicity, like race is a SOCIAL CONSTRUCT (my emphasis)…”

    I would like Fisher explain to a Chinese Han, an African Twa pygmy, an Icelander and a Hawaiian how they are merely “social constructs”.

    Max Fisher – hmmm, I’d make book that this guy is a son of Abraham.

    If sons of Abraham aren’t a race, then how come nobody ever heard of a Japanese or East Timorese or Samoan getting Tay-Sachs disease?

  • Joe Mack

    How is Mexico more ethnically diverse than the USA????

    This map is total garbage.

  • David Ashton

    The original article says ethnicity is a social construct.
    Maybe society is an ethnic construct.
    A multi-ethnic society is a contradiction in terms, therefore a recipe for strife, which is why the Cultural Marxists wanted it.

  • France, Italy and Portugal are ethnically homogeneous? What about the African and middle eastern immigrants? This article has no credibility whatsoever. Also, they rate Ukraine, where I live, the same as the US. Yet, I can go days in Kiev, the capital city, without seeing a non-white face. Give me a break.

  • James Thompson

    This is hilariously wrong, the UK has a massive amount of ethnic diversity (some say too much), and China has 55 different ethnic groups!

  • Nett Side

    Yes, this map does look wrong. The Nordic countries are in reality becoming overrun by Third World nations.

    I would like to see a truthful map of the most and least racially diverse countries.