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Fractionalization Index (HIEF 2013)

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Most Racially Diverse Countries 2024

Race is the outmoded concept that the human race can be divided into several distinct groups of people based upon shared genetic or ethnic ancestry and/or traits. If a country is considered racially diverse, it is home to many different groups of people who share their own distinct characteristics. Race is a controversial subject, as genetic studies have confirmed that the concept has no biogenetic basis despite "racial" differences such as skin color and hair texture. Moreover, today's scholars point out that race is a cultural invention, largely originating during Europe's Age of Exploration (approx. 1400-1650), and has never had a clear definition. Sometimes it has referred to physical appearance (caucasian, negro) and at other times to continent of origin (Asians, Africans, Indians), language (Greeks, Arabs), religion (Jews, Muslims), or even nationality or ethnicity (Irish, Koreans, Hispanics). Racial diversity is often used (incorrectly) as a synonym for cultural diversity, a more scientifically sound concept that disregards genetics and focuses instead upon linguistic and ethnic variety. It is unrelated to the ecological concept of megadiversity.

Is diversity rising or falling in the world?

Racial diversity is growing in many nations, often as a result of increased immigration. This rise is arguably unsurprising when one considers the emergence of the global marketplace in recent decades and the ease of modern travel. Together, these factors have increased opportunities for people to relocate internationally for work, marriage, political reasons, or a simple change of scenery. According to a survey released by Pew Research Center in 2019, approximately 69% of people surveyed across 27 nations felt their respective nations have grown more diverse over the last 20 years. Nearly half of survey respondents approved of a more racially diverse nation, with only 23% viewing increased diversity as a negative development.

These trends followed certain demographic lines, with younger, more liberal, and more educated people favoring increased diversity while older, more conservative, and less educated respondents proved less fond of the idea. In the United States, the most diverse states are California, Texas, Hawaii, New Jersey, and New York. Contemporary immigrants typically settle in California, New York, Texas, and New Jersey—coastal states with large cities and increased likelihood of work opportunities—increasing those states' diversity.

What does "fractionalization" mean with regard to diversity?

One of the most comprehensive studies of diversity was created by a team of scholars from Harvard University, World Bank, Stanford, and New York University and published in the Journal of Economic Growth in a paper called "Fractionalization." Fractionalization is a measure of the likelihood that two randomly selected people in a given country will be from two different groups (ethnicities, religions, etc.) or speak two different languages. In its initial form, fractionalization is a number between 0 and 1, with 0 meaning no variation and 1 meaning complete variation.

This method of expressing fractionalization also lends itself readily to conversion into a probability percentage, which non-statisticians may find easier to parse. The ten most diverse countries according to ethnic fractionalization are listed below. A more comprehensive table further down adds more countries and also incorporates religious and linguistic fractionalization. These data often correspond broadly to the results of Erkan Gören's 2013 study on cultural diversity.

Top 10 Most Diverse Countries in the World (by Ethnic Fractionalization):

Country
Ethnic Fractionalization (Goren 2013)
Uganda93.02%
Liberia90.84%
Madagascar87.91%
DR Congo87.47%
Republic of the Congo87.47%
Cameroon86.35%
Chad86.2%
Kenya85.88%
Nigeria85.05%
Central African Republic82.95%
  • Ethnic fractionalization is a measure of the probability that two randomly drawn individuals within a country are from different ethnic groups.
  • The Historical Index of Ethnic Fractionalization (HIEF) contains an ethnic fractionalization index for 165 countries across all continents. The dataset includes annual data from the period 1945-2013.
  • "Economic Effects of Domestic and Neighboring Countries’ Cultural Diversity" is a scholarly study released by economist and statistician Erkan Gören in 2013, which analyzed data from 94 countries covering the period 1970 to 2004.

Download Table Data

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Country
Fractionalization Index (HIEF 2013)
Ethnic Fractionalization (Goren 2013)
Linguistic Fractionalization
Religious Fractionalization (Goren 2013)
Uganda88.3%93.02%92.27%63.32%
Liberia88.9%90.84%90.38%48.83%
Madagascar19.4%87.91%2.04%51.91%
DR Congo70%87.47%87.05%70.21%
Republic of the Congo70.4%87.47%68.71%66.42%
Cameroon0%86.35%88.98%73.38%
Chad85.5%86.2%86.35%64.11%
Kenya85.5%85.88%88.6%77.65%
Nigeria85%85.05%83.16%74.21%
Central African Republic79%82.95%83.34%79.16%
Ivory Coast73.1%82.04%78.42%75.51%
Sierra Leone80.1%81.91%76.34%53.95%
Somalia22.2%81.17%3.26%0.28%
Guinea Bissau80.8%80.82%81.41%61.28%
Djibouti64.9%79.62%65.58%4.35%
Libya25.9%79.2%7.58%5.7%
Benin76.4%78.72%79.05%55.44%
Angola77.9%78.67%78.7%62.76%
Gambia76.2%78.64%80.76%9.7%
Zambia70.6%78.08%87.34%73.59%
Afghanistan76.3%76.93%61.41%27.17%
Gabon78.9%76.9%78.21%66.74%
South Africa85.6%75.17%86.52%86.03%
Qatar70.8%74.56%48%9.5%
Bolivia57.2%73.96%22.4%20.85%
Guinea72.7%73.89%77.25%26.49%
Burkina Faso76.7%73.77%72.28%57.98%
Tanzania59.1%73.53%89.83%63.34%
Indonesia80.3%73.51%76.8%23.4%
Suriname0%73.32%33.1%79.1%
Ethiopia78.3%72.35%80.73%62.49%
Sudan74.6%71.47%71.9%43.07%
Andorra0%71.39%68.48%23.26%
Canada73%71.24%57.72%69.58%
Togo88%70.99%89.8%65.96%
Pakistan74.8%70.98%71.9%38.48%
Belize0%70.15%63.03%58.13%
Micronesia0%70.05%74.83%64.69%
Senegal74.7%69.39%70.81%14.97%
Mozambique0%69.32%81.25%67.59%
Mali85.2%69.06%83.88%18.2%
Monaco0%68.38%73.05%30.47%
Kyrgyzstan48.7%67.52%59.49%44.7%
Malawi79.1%67.44%60.23%81.92%
Ghana73.6%67.33%67.31%79.87%
Iran74.3%66.84%74.62%11.52%
Nepal86%66.32%71.67%14.17%
Kuwait76.5%66.04%34.44%67.45%
Peru61.8%65.66%33.58%19.88%
Ecuador52.8%65.5%13.08%14.17%
Eritrea65.9%65.24%65.3%42.53%
Niger66.6%65.18%65.19%20.13%
Trinidad and Tobago65.5%64.75%12.51%79.36%
Thailand35.2%63.38%63.44%9.94%
Namibia76%63.29%70.05%66.26%
Bosnia and Herzegovina63.7%63%67.51%68.51%
United Arab Emirates68.4%62.52%48.74%33.1%
Guyana69.5%61.95%6.88%78.76%
Kazakhstan53.8%61.71%66.21%58.98%
Mauritania71.3%61.5%32.6%1.49%
Bhutan65.1%60.5%60.56%37.87%
Colombia63.9%60.14%1.93%14.78%
Jordan4.4%59.26%3.96%6.59%
Cuba51.7%59.08%0%50.59%
Malaysia57%58.8%59.7%66.57%
Latvia54.7%58.67%57.95%55.56%
Nauru0%58.32%61.61%61.94%
Serbia39.6%57.36%0%0%
Liechtenstein0%57.26%22.46%33.43%
Belgium59.2%55.54%54.09%21.27%
Moldova42.7%55.35%55.33%56.03%
Panama61.2%55.28%38.73%33.38%
Fiji52.8%54.79%54.79%56.82%
Mexico58.7%54.18%15.11%17.96%
Brunei0%54.16%34.38%44.04%
Brazil55.9%54.08%4.68%60.54%
Syria21.3%53.99%18.17%43.1%
Switzerland36.7%53.14%54.41%60.83%
Luxembourg0%53.02%64.4%9.11%
Laos63.4%51.39%63.82%54.53%
Guatemala51.1%51.22%45.86%37.53%
Tajikistan36.7%51.07%54.73%33.86%
Myanmar59%50.62%50.72%19.74%
Estonia45.8%50.62%49.44%49.85%
North Macedonia0%50.23%50.21%58.99%
Bahrain58.2%50.21%43.44%55.28%
Venezuela52%49.66%6.86%13.5%
Georgia36.7%49.23%47.49%65.43%
United States52.7%49.01%56.47%82.41%
Nicaragua54.4%48.44%4.73%42.9%
Morocco56.6%48.41%46.83%0.35%
Ukraine37%47.37%47.41%61.57%
Mauritius46.6%46.34%45.47%63.85%
Oman59.7%43.73%35.67%43.22%
Palau0%43.12%31.57%71.47%
Dominican Republic45.3%42.94%3.95%31.18%
Bahamas0%42.28%18.55%68.15%
India0%41.82%80.69%32.6%
Cape Verde44.2%41.74%0%7.66%
Spain66.9%41.65%41.32%45.14%
Sri Lanka32.3%41.5%46.45%48.53%
Jamaica21%41.29%10.98%61.6%
Uzbekistan31.3%41.25%41.2%21.33%
Botswana39.5%41.02%41.1%59.86%
Bulgaria28.9%40.21%30.31%59.65%
New Zealand48.5%39.69%16.57%81.1%
Turkmenistan25.5%39.18%39.84%23.27%
Zimbabwe41.5%38.74%44.72%73.63%
Singapore39.5%38.57%38.35%65.61%
Croatia17.1%36.9%7.63%44.47%
Iraq44.6%36.89%36.94%48.44%
Mongolia31.5%36.82%37.34%7.99%
Equatorial Guinea0%34.67%32.2%11.95%
Israel37.6%34.36%55.25%34.69%
Algeria37.2%33.94%44.27%0.91%
Rwanda28%32.38%0%50.66%
Lithuania28.4%32.23%32.19%41.41%
Czech Republic26.2%32.22%32.33%65.91%
Belarus30.9%32.22%46.66%61.16%
Turkey52.1%32%22.16%0.49%
Romania20.7%30.69%17.23%23.73%
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines0%30.66%1.75%70.28%
Burundi30.8%29.51%29.77%51.58%
San Marino0%29.27%0%19.75%
Taiwan37.3%27.44%50.28%68.45%
Papua New Guinea0%27.18%35.26%55.23%
Grenada0%26.61%0%58.98%
Argentina15.8%25.5%6.18%22.36%
Lesotho31.3%25.5%25.43%72.11%
Slovakia24.1%25.39%25.51%56.55%
Uruguay17.6%25.04%8.17%35.48%
Russia37.6%24.52%24.85%43.98%
Philippines80.7%23.85%83.6%30.56%
Vietnam26.3%23.83%23.77%50.8%
Costa Rica39.8%23.68%4.89%24.1%
Slovenia25.8%22.16%22.01%28.68%
Albania13.9%22.04%3.99%47.19%
Cambodia15.8%21.05%21.04%9.65%
Azerbaijan12.2%20.47%20.54%48.99%
Seychelles0%20.25%16.06%23.23%
Dominica0%20.03%0%46.28%
El Salvador16.5%19.78%0%35.59%
Honduras22.9%18.67%5.53%23.57%
Chile43.9%18.61%18.71%38.41%
Saint Kitts and Nevis0%18.42%0%66.14%
Egypt4.1%18.36%2.37%19.79%
Saudi Arabia22.4%18%9.49%12.7%
Saint Lucia0%17.69%31.69%33.2%
Paraguay17.9%16.89%59.75%21.23%
Germany18.9%16.82%16.42%65.71%
Antigua and Barbuda0%16.43%10.63%68.4%
Tuvalu0%16.29%13.72%25.24%
Greece16.7%15.76%3%15.3%
China19%15.38%13.27%66.43%
Hungary23.2%15.22%2.97%52.44%
Barbados0%14.23%9.26%69.34%
Samoa0%13.76%1.11%78.71%
Finland13.8%13.15%14.12%25.31%
Lebanon13.3%13.14%13.12%78.86%
Armenia4.5%12.72%12.92%45.76%
United Kingdom39.9%12.11%5.32%69.44%
Ireland17.4%12.06%3.12%15.5%
Poland6.9%11.83%4.68%17.12%
Italy11%11.45%11.47%30.27%
Solomon Islands9.7%11.1%52.54%67.08%
Austria24.8%10.68%15.22%41.46%
Netherlands35.4%10.54%51.43%72.22%
France0%10.32%12.21%40.29%
Haiti10.5%9.5%0%47.04%
Cyprus34.7%9.39%39.62%39.62%
Australia27.6%9.29%33.49%82.11%
Tonga0%8.69%37.82%62.14%
Denmark17.7%8.19%10.49%23.33%
Iceland0%7.98%8.2%19.13%
Hong Kong0%6.2%21.28%41.91%
Marshall Islands0%6.03%7.34%52.07%
Sweden21.9%6%19.68%23.42%
Norway15.1%5.86%6.73%20.48%
Eswatini0%5.82%17.22%44.44%
Kiribati0%5.11%2.37%55.41%
Portugal22%4.68%1.98%14.38%
Bangladesh2.5%4.54%9.25%20.9%
Malta0%4.14%9.07%12.23%
Vanuatu0%4.13%57.94%70.44%
Tunisia3.4%3.94%1.24%1.04%
South Korea9.5%3.92%0.28%48.91%
Japan1.9%1.19%1.78%54.06%
North Korea2%0.2%0.21%66.04%
Yemen12.6%0%0.8%0.23%
Palestine0%0%1.04%3.42%
Puerto Rico0%0%3.52%49.52%
Timor Leste80.2%0%52.61%42.54%
Reunion0%0%15.78%19.52%
Comoros5.4%0%1.03%1.37%
Macau0%0%25.19%55.11%
Guadeloupe0%0%9.33%30.69%
Martinique0%0%0%23.36%
Mayotte0%0%72.12%6.2%
French Guiana0%0%11.54%49.59%
French Polynesia0%0%60.78%58.13%
New Caledonia0%0%66.33%54.62%
Sao Tome and Principe0%0%23.22%18.66%
Guam0%0%73.2%40.82%
Jersey0%0%0%54.79%
Aruba0%0%38.89%41.07%
United States Virgin Islands0%0%31.4%63.59%
Isle of Man0%0%0%47.29%
Bermuda0%0%0%71.12%
Greenland0%0%21.88%45.92%
Faroe Islands0%0%0%31.47%
Northern Mariana Islands0%0%77.54%48.11%
American Samoa0%0%17.33%63.95%
showing: 212 rows

What is the most racial diverse country in the world?

Uganda is the most racially diverse country in the world, with 93.02% ethnic fractionalization.

Frequently Asked Questions

Sources