World Facts

Most Ethnically Diverse Countries In The World

All of the world's most culturally heterogeneous countries are found in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Ethnicity is the identity of similar groups of people connected to their ancestral, social, national, cultural, and common language. Important factors form the basis of a person’s ethnicity such as joint ancestry, origin myth, homeland, history, cultural heritage, and language. Cultural heterogeneity is about the existence of diverse cultures in a certain population living in a territory or country.

The demographics and socioeconomic distribution of distinct cultural groups in a country or territory is called ethnic fractionalization. The data below is based on a study conducted by Fearon, where 1 is the most culturally diverse and 0 is the least. This measure of cultural diversity is heavily based on languages spoken, as language can be a convenient indicator of ethnicity and diversity. Papua New Guinea is the most diverse country in the world, followed by Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Uganda.

The 5 Most Diverse Countries in the World

1. Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea is the world's most linguistically diverse country, a fact that contributes to its status as the most ethnically diverse country in the world. There are thousands of ethnic groups in the country, each with their own languages and customs. Incredibly, there are languages in Papua New Guinea that have no relation to one another despite their geographic proximity.

2. Tanzania

More than one hundred ethnic groups live in Tanzania. Many of these groups speak their own languages. In addition to this, there are also a number of foreign residents who live in Tanzania, many of whom are from Asia and Europe. The population of Tanzania is 55,572,201.

3. Democratic Republic of the Congo

DR Congo has a population of 81,680,000 of which there are over 200 ethnic groups who speak about 242 languages with French as the official language. Christianity has about 80% adherents while 10% are Muslims, and the other 10% follow native faiths.

4. Uganda

Uganda's population of 37,873,253 people is composed of Ugandans and more than ten ethnic groups. Christians make up 85% of the population, and 12.1% are Islam adherents.

5. Liberia

Liberia is the world's fifth most diverse country. The population is 4,503,000 people strong of which 95% are Liberians, and the rest are of 16 ethnic groups who speak 31 dialects in addition to English as the official language.


Other Ethnically Diverse Countries

The rest of the world's most diverse countries are all in Africa, and include Togo, South Africa, Republic of the Congo, and Madagascar.


Most Ethnically Diverse Countries In The World

RankCountryEthnic Diversity Score
1Papua New Guinea1.0000
2Tanzania0.9530
3Democratic Republic of Congo0.9330
4Uganda0.9300
5Liberia0.8990
6Cameroon0.8870
7Togo0.8830
8South Africa0.8800
9Congo0.8780
10Madagascar0.8610
11Gabon0.8570
12Kenya0.8520
13Ghana0.8460
14Malawi0.8290
15Guinea-Bissau0.8180
16Somalia0.8120
17India0.8110
18Nigeria0.8050
19Yugoslavia (1943–1992)0.8010
20Central African Republic0.7910
21Ivory Coast0.7840
22Lebanon0.7800
23Chad0.7720
24Indonesia0.7660
25Mozambique0.7650
26Gambia0.7640
27Sierra Leone0.7640
28Ethiopia0.7600
29Angola0.7560
30Mali0.7540
31Afghanistan0.7510
32Bolivia0.7430
33United Arab Emirates0.7370
34Senegal0.7270
35Zambia0.7260
36Namibia0.7240
37Soviet Union (1922–1991)0.7110
38Sudan (1955–2011)0.7080
39Kuwait0.7080
40Burkina Faso0.7040
41Bosnia and Herzegovina0.6810
42Kyrgyzstan0.6790
43Nepal0.6770
44Iran0.6690
45Guinea0.6690
46Kazakhstan0.6640
47Colombia0.6560
48Ecuador0.6550
49Eritrea0.6470
50Trinidad and Tobago0.6470

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