The World Values Survey is a global research project that explores people’s values and beliefs, how they change over time and what social and political impact they have. It is carried out by a worldwide network of social scientists who, since 1981, have conducted representative national surveys in almost 100 countries.
The WVS survey asked respondents in more than 80 different countries to identify kinds of people they would not want as neighbors. Some respondents, picking from a list, chose “people of a different race.” The more frequently that people in a given country say they don’t want neighbors from other races, the economists reasoned, the less racially tolerant you could call that society.
Racial Tolerance Around the World
Anglo and Latin countries most tolerant. People in the survey were most likely to embrace a racially diverse neighbor in the United Kingdom and its Anglo former colonies (the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand) and in Latin America. The only real exceptions were oil-rich Venezuela, where income inequality sometimes breaks along racial lines, and the Dominican Republic, perhaps because of its adjacency to troubled Haiti. Scandinavian countries also scored high.
India, Jordan, Bangladesh and Hong Kong by far the least tolerant. In only [four] of 81 surveyed countries, more than 40% of respondents said they would not want a neighbor of a different race. This included 43.5% of Indians, 51.4% of Jordanians and an astonishingly high 71.8% of Hong Kongers and 71.7% of Bangladeshis.
Racial tolerance low in diverse Asian countries. Nations such as Indonesia and the Philippines, where many racial groups often jockey for influence and have complicated histories with one another, showed more skepticism of diversity. This was also true, to a lesser extent, in China and Kyrgyzstan. There were similar trends in parts of sub-Saharan Africa.
Pakistan, remarkably tolerant, also an outlier. Although the country has a number of factors that coincide with racial intolerance -- sectarian violence, its location in the least-tolerant region of the world, low economic and human development indices -- only 6.5% of Pakistanis objected to a neighbor of a different race. This would appear to suggest Pakistanis are more racially tolerant than even the Germans or the Dutch. (Washington Post)
Racial Diversity Around the World
Japan and the Koreas are the most homogenous. Racial politics can be complicated and nasty in these countries, where nationalism and ethnicity have at times gone hand-in-hand, from Hirohito’s Japan to Kim Il Sung’s North Korea. The lack of diversity perhaps informs these politics, although it’s tough to say which caused which.
European countries are ethnically homogenous. 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.
The Americas are often diverse. From the United States through Central America down to Brazil, the “new world” countries, maybe in part because of their histories of relatively open immigration (and, in some cases, intermingling between natives and new arrivals) tend to be pretty diverse. The exception is South America’s “southern cone,” where Argentines and Chileans, many of whom originally come from the same handful of Western European countries, tend to be more homogenous. Canada is rated as more diverse than the United States or even Mexico.
Wide variation in the Middle East. The range of diversity from Morocco to Iran is a reminder that this part of the world is much less monolithic than we sometimes think. North African countries include large Berber minorities, for example, as well as some sub-Saharan ethnic groups, particularly in Libya. The diversity of Jordan and Syria are reminders of their internal complexity. Iran, with large Azeri, Kurdish and Arab populations, is one of the region’s most diverse. (Washington Post)