Determining what countries are the most culturally diverse is a challenge. There are a variety of factors that contribute to diversity, which is why there’s not a single comprehensive list. However, there are a few lists that are commonly used to measure the cultural diversity of countries across the nation to determine which are the most diverse.
One list is known as the Fearon list. This is named for James Fearon, a professor at Stanford University. This list takes a look at the similarities between languages spoken in a nation. A higher score is given to nations that speak two or more unrelated languages, while a lower score indicates that most or all of the nation speaks the same language. This list has been criticized for focusing on linguistic variations instead of considering genetic diversity and other factors.
Based on the last list from 2003, the most ethnically diverse nation is Papua New Guinea, which was the only nation to receive a score of 1 – the highest score. Coming in second was Tanzania, with the Democratic Republic of Congo ranking third. The top 10 most ethnically and culturally diverse nations based on the Fearon analysis are:
- Papua New Guinea
- Democratic Republic of Congo
- South Africa
Another list is the Alesina list. This list is named for Alberto Alesina, a political economist. This list considers factors beyond just languages, such as religion and ethnicity. Based on this list, the most diverse nation based on ethnicity is Uganda. Other nations that received high rankings for ethnicity include:
Based on linguistics, Uganda was found to be the most diverse. Additional nations that received high rankings include:
Based on religious diversity, South Africa was the most diverse nation. Additional nations at the top of this list include: