Ethnic diversity



This graph is from the Washington Post.

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.

Correlation is not causation and North America is more diverse than South America. but still interesting.

European countries are ethnically homogenous. This is, to me, one of the most interesting trends in the data. A number of now-global ideas about the nation-state, about national identity as tied to ethnicity and about nationalism itself originally came from Europe. For centuries, Europe’s borders shifted widely and frequently, only relatively recently settling into what we see today, in which most large ethnic groups have a country of their own. That developed, painfully, over a very long time. And while there are still some exceptions – Belgium has ethnic Walloons and Dutch, for example – in most of Europe, ethnicity and nationality are pretty close to the same thing.

This goes against some perceptions.

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:

Again – not a rule. North Korea is ethnically homogenous. But interesting.

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