Ranked: The Countries with the Most Linguistic Diversity
- Papua New Guinea is the most linguistically diverse country in the world, with approximately 840 different languages spoken across the islands
- In second place, Indonesia has around 711 different languages. Only 20% of the population speaks the national language of Bahasa Indonesian at home
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
Where does this data come from?
Notes: This database covers a majority of the world’s population and details approximately 7,111 living languages
The Link Between Entrepreneurship and Mental Health Conditions
Research explores the link between entrepreneurship and mental health conditions such as ADHD and bipolar disorder
- Prevalence of ADHD, substance use disorders, and mood disorders appears to be higher in entrepreneurs than in the general public
- One-third of entrepreneurs reported two or more co-occurring mental health conditions
The Link Between Entrepreneurship and Mental Health Conditions
Entrepreneurship has long been associated with traits like risk-taking, persistence, and creativity. It’s no surprise, then, many of the world’s most successful companies were brought to life by neurodivergent founders.
Neurodivergence refers to natural differences in brain function among individuals with conditions such as autism, ADHD, dyslexia, and bipolar disorder. As this 2019 study demonstrates, entrepreneurs appear to experience mental health and addiction issues more frequently than the general public, and tend to have families with these illnesses at a higher rate.
Nearly half of entrepreneurs included in the study have one or more mental health conditions. Below the are the numbers for four of the conditions studied.
|Entrepreneurs||General Sample Group|
The research also looked at anxiety, but found that levels were similar between entrepreneurs and the sample group.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), dyslexia, and Asperger’s Syndrome, which are not included in this research, are other noteworthy conditions that are sometimes connected with entrepreneurship.
Asperger’s, in particular, is present in a number of successful founders, including Elon Musk and Bill Gates. Peter Thiel, billionaire investor and serial entrepreneur, has argued that this mild version of autism could be an asset in founding successful companies.
An Open Question
There are two competing ideas around the link between entrepreneurship and mental health conditions.
First, some posit that traits associated with mental health conditions (e.g. hyperfocus for ADHD, or attention to detail for Asperger’s) are assets in the startup world.
Secondly, it is also thought that because neurodivergent individuals have more trouble succeeding in conventional frameworks in academia and business, they are more likely to forge their own path by founding companies and pursuing self-employment.
It’s entirely possible that both these ideas are true. The more research that is published around mental health and entrepreneurship, the clearer view we have on the traits associated with creating successful businesses.
The more open the conversation is around mental health, the more we can create conditions in the workplace that empower neurodivergent individuals.
Source: Freeman, M.A., Staudenmaier, P.J., Zisser, M.R. et al. The prevalence and co-occurrence of psychiatric conditions among entrepreneurs and their families. Small Bus Econ 53, 323–342 (2019).
Data notes: Data was analyzed from 76 MBA student and faculty pool participants, 149 psychology students, and 110 entrepreneurs not affiliated with the university. Participants from either recruitment group who reported a history of self-employment or founding or co-founding a for-profit or non-profit business were categorized as entrepreneurs (n = 242).
Hat tip: We discovered this research via The Generalist who published a fantastic post on who becomes an entrepreneur.
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