Countries with the Most Diverse Populations

Have you ever wondered which country has the most diverse population? This statistically-based study looks at which countries have the greatest combination of religious, linguistic, and racial diversity. It takes into account not only the prevalence of each language within a given country, but also how different each language is. Additionally, the study considers the proportion of each religious denomination within a country, as well as the origins of each religion. Finally, it evaluates the percentage of various racial groups in each country. The methodology is located at the end of the article. The results reveal some suggestions for which countries could be considered as the most diverse.

The following five countries were found to have the most diverse populations, according to the these three main categories. They all share a history of immigration and cultural exchange, resulting in a mix of ethnicities, religions, and languages. Each has brought people from different parts of the world together, whether through colonization, trade, or employment opportunities, leading to a fusion of cultures and a diversity of communities.

1) Suriname – 552

The Dutch brought various ethnic groups to Suriname as slaves and indentured servants during the colonial period. African slaves were forced to work on their plantations, while indentured servants from India, China, and Java were brought to the country after the abolition of slavery in 1863. As a result, Suriname has a diverse range of religions, with Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Indigenous religions being the main faiths. The official language is Dutch, but Surinamese Dutch, Sranan Tongo, and other creole languages are also commonly spoken, along with various indigenous languages.

2) Qatar – 490

Qatar is predominantly made up of Arabs, with significant numbers of South Asian, African, and Southeast Asian migrant workers. Many of these workers came to the country due to the large amount of construction needed for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The country is predominantly Muslim, with Sunni Islam being the dominant sect, but also has significant numbers of Christians, Hindus, and Buddhists, as a result of immigration. Arabic is the official language, but its expatriates often speak other languages.

3) Bahrain – 439

Bahrain‘s diverse population is made up of various ethnic groups, predominately Arabs and South Asians. It has attracted many migrant workers from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and the Philippines. The majority of its population is Muslim, with both Sunni and Shia Muslims present. Christianity and Hinduism are also commonly practiced there. Arabic is the official language, but English is also commonly spoken, as well as the many native languages of its migrant workers.

4) Singapore – 439

Since Singapore is a global trading hub, it has attracted quite a diverse population of immigrants from across Asia. The country is composed of three main groups: Chinese, Malay, and Indians. Each group has its own unique culture and traditions. As a result the former British colony is home to a mix of different religions, including Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and Taoism, among others. Singapore’s population is also linguistically diverse, with four official languages: English, Malay, Mandarin, and Tamil.

5) Fiji – 421

Fiji has been inhabited for thousands of years by various indigenous groups, including Melanesians and Polynesians. In the 19th century, the islands were colonized by the British, who brought many Indians to the islands as indentured laborers. Today, this Indo-Fijians make up almost 40% of the population. As a result, Fijian and Hindi are widely spoken languages in the country. In addition, while most people in Fiji are Christian, over 25 percent of the population is Hindu. Furthermore, more than 5 percent is Muslim.

Top 20 Countries with the Most Diverse Populations

  1. Suriname
  2. Qatar
  3. Bahrain
  4. Singapore
  5. Fiji
  6. United Arab Emirates
  7. Guyana
  8. Guatemala
  9. Belize
  10. Kuwait
  11. Mauritius
  12. Chad
  13. Malaysia
  14. Trinidad & Tobago
  15. Brunei
  16. Bolivia
  17. Papua New Guinea
  18. Nigeria
  19. Mozambique
  20. South Africa

Full List of Country Population Diversity


To determine the level of diversity present in a population, this study examined three key factors: the indigenous language, religious affiliation, and ancestral heritage of each country’s inhabitants. To assess linguistic diversity, the research examined language at multiple levels. For example, categorizing English as part of the Indo-European language family’s Germanic branch. Furthermore, religious diversity was analyzed at different tiers. For example, considering Catholicism a denomination of Christianity, which is part of the broader Abrahamic family of religions. Finally, racial diversity was evaluated by investigating the four primary races: Melanesian, Caucasian, African, and East Asian, as well as subgroups within these categories. A modified form of the Simpson’s diversity index was used to calculate variance within each country, accounting for both richness and evenness, two measures of diversity.

For example, Egypt is 95% Sunni Muslim and 5% Oriental Orthodox Christian. Both of these religions are from the Abrahamic group of religions. Therefore this is the calculation:

Abrahamic (100%)
Level 1: 10,000 – (100×100) = 0

Muslim (95%), Christian (5%)
Level 2: 10,000 – ((95^2) + (5^2)) = 9025+25 = 950

Sunni Muslim (95%), Oriental Orthodox Christian (5%)
Level 3: 10,000 – ((95^2) + (5^2)) = 9025+25 = 950

Total Religious Diversity: 0+950+950 = 1900

Data Sources



Pew Research

CIA World Factbook

Dienekes Anthropology Blog

Atlas of Genetic Genealogy

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