Ranked: The Most Diverse Countries By Language
Thousands of languages are spoken worldwide, but only a fraction are used widely. In fact, the speakers of 23 languages account for more than half of the total global population.
Despite this, there are still pockets around the globe that are rich in linguistic diversity. Here’s a look at the top 10 countries where the most languages are spoken.
These numbers include established and immigrant dialects.
Top 10 Countries with the Most Languages
Despite a population of just 8.8 million, Papua New Guinea comes in first with a total of 840 languages spoken across the country. To put things into perspective, that’s almost 12% of the world’s languages spoken in an area that’s roughly the size of California.
|Rank||Country||Total Languages||Population 2020 (M)|
|1||🇵🇬 Papua New Guinea||840||8.8|
|5||🇺🇸 United States||328||328.2|
A likely reason for the country’s linguistic diversity is its isolation from modern life. Over 80% of Papua New Guinea’s population lives in rural areas and has minimal contact with external influences or other tribes.
Second on the list is Indonesia, with 711 different languages used throughout the country. Like Papua New Guinea, a major factor that could explain its language diversity is its geography—Indonesia is made up of around 17,500 islands (although more than 7,000 of them are uninhabited).
The Future of Language Diversity
While it’s clear that a multitude of languages still exist, around 40% of the world’s languages are at risk of dying out. Even in parts of the world where immense linguistic diversity remains, languages are disappearing with each subsequent generation.
In efforts to combat this, organizations like the United Nations are actively trying to promote and protect these endangered languages.
>>Like this? Check out our article on the Top 10 Most Spoken Languages
Which Countries Believe WWIII is Coming?
In every single country surveyed, the majority of respondents believed a global conflict would break out between superpowers in coming years
Which Countries Believe WWIII is Coming?
After a pandemic, rampant inflation, a faltering global economy, and geopolitical flare-ups, it’s no surprise that people have a souring outlook on the future.
Even so, the results of this recent survey by Ipsos are eyebrow raising. In all 33 countries where polling took place, the majority of respondents said they believe a world war on the scale of WWI and WWII would break out between global superpowers in coming years.
Here’s a look at how various countries felt about the possibility of an impending global conflict:
|Country||% somewhat/strongly agree||Change from 2021 (p.p.)|
|🇺🇸 United States||76%||+6|
|🇬🇧 Great Britain||75%||+19|
|🇿🇦 South Africa||75%||+3|
|🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia||74%||+12|
|Global Country Average||73%||+10|
|🇰🇷 South Korea||69%||+17|
Japan was the least sure of an impending global conflict—an opinion that is almost certainly shaped by the country’s historical experience in WWII.
Australia was the most certain of an impending global conflict. The country has a unique relationship with Asian and Western countries, so geopolitical tensions between superpowers may resonate more in the Land Down Under.
The Power of Fear
Given the negative slant of stories covered by mass media and the types of stories that are most widely shared on social media platforms, it’s easy to understand how people have developed such a gloomy view of the future. But “bad vibes” aside, how could this perception translate into real world action?
For one, public opinion helps shape political priorities. A narrative of impending conflict could have an impact on geopolitical policy and relationships.
Another possibility is an increase in military spending across the board. 64% of people across 30 countries somewhat or strongly agree that their home government should beef up military spending “given the dangers in the world.” Aside from Ukraine, India (84%) and Poland (81%) ranked the highest in support of increasing military spending.
One other noteworthy finding is that 85% of people in the countries surveyed believe that the world needs new international agreements and institutions to deal with the challenges faced by the world today, and that world powers are unlikely to respect agreements made through international bodies. These findings are significant since war becomes more likely as cooperation between countries breaks down.
What Does 30 Years of Global Deforestation Look Like?
Deforestation over the last 30 years has led to a 177.5 million hectare reduction in world’s forests. See why these trends need to reverse swiftly in order to effectively manage climate change. (Sponsored Content)
30 Years of Deforestation
Estimates say deforestation practices need to be thwarted by 75% by 2030, in order to effectively manage rising global average temperatures. But when looking at deforestation data over the last 30 years, it’s clear we’ve gone in the opposite direction.
This sponsored graphic from The LEAF Coalition looks at the total land lost to deforestation since the 1990s and compares it to the total land in the U.S. as a point of reference.
The Rise and Fall of Forests
Approximately 4% of the world’s forests have been lost since the 1990s. This is equivalent to 177.5 million hectares or 685,000 square miles, and greater than the total land area of 179 countries in the world. In addition, this covers one-fifth of the land in America. Here’s how the average global annual net change in forest area looks on a decade-by-decade basis.
|Period||Global Annual Forest Area Net Change (Hectares)
A silver lining here is that in the most recent decade that’s passed we’ve seen a reduction in the amount of deforestation. Compared to the late 1990s, the decade between 2010 and 2020 has seen yearly deforestation reduce by 3.1 million hectares from 7.8 million to 4.7 million.
However, there’s still plenty of work that needs to be done and the devastating impact deforestation has on the environment cannot be understated.
Not Out of the Woods Yet
By some estimates, 30% of the globe’s carbon emissions are absorbed by forests each year. In order to keep our global average temperatures at 1.5°C, action needs to ramp up to diminish deforestation. One solution is to open up funding and participation to the private sector and bridge their efforts with that of the public sector.
Swift action is required in order to slow deforestation and decelerate rising average temperatures. See how The LEAF Coalition, a public-private initiative is accelerating climate action by providing results-based finance to countries committed to protecting tropical forests.
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