Where in the World Do They Speak the Most Languages?

Some countries have a lot more diversity than others. But which ones are the most linguistically diverse?

We’ve downloaded the data from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (as of 2009) to produce this map showing global linguistic diversity.


The computation of the diversity index is based on the population of each language as a proportion of the total population. The index cannot fully account for the vitality of languages.

Also, the distinction between a language and a dialect is fluid and often political. A great number of languages are considered to be dialects of another language by some experts and separate languages by others. The index does not consider how different the languages are from each other, nor does it account for second language usage; it considers only the total number of distinct languages, and their relative frequency as mother tongues.

Below is a table of the data used to create the map. This data has been sourced from Wikipedia.

 Papua New Guinea.990
 Solomon Islands.965
 Central African Republic.960
 Democratic Republic of the Congo.948
 Côte d’Ivoire.917
 South Africa.869
 Sierra Leone.817
 Federated States of Micronesia.792
 United Arab Emirates.777
 Burkina Faso.773
 Trinidad and Tobago.696
 Saudi Arabia.609
 Cayman Islands.547
 Syrian Arab Republic.503
 San Marino.494
 Brunei Darussalam.456
 Equatorial Guinea.453
 Bosnia and Herzegovina.416
 Sao Tome and Principe.389
 Cook Islands.379
 Libyan Arab Jamahiriya.362
 United States of America.353
 Sri Lanka.313
 Russian Federation.283
 France[note 1].272
 Netherlands Antilles.266
 Viet Nam.234
 British Virgin Islands.167
 Turks and Caicos Islands.145
 United Kingdom.139
 New Zealand.102
 Cape Verde.070
 Czech Republic.069
 Antigua and Barbuda.057
 Dominican Republic.053
 Costa Rica.050
 Marshall Islands.027
 Saint Lucia.020
 Saint Kitts and Nevis.010
 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.009
 El Salvador.004
 South Korea.003
 Saint Helena
 Holy See
 Hong Kong
 North Korea


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