World’s Most and Least Racially Tolerant Countries

Published: 29 May 2013

Region: Worldwide

racial tolerance world mapBased on the research of two Swedish economists, the Washington Post made a map of world’s most and least racially tolerant countries. The newspaper went back to the source, compiled the original data and mapped it out. In the bluer countries, fewer people said they would not want neighbours of a different race; in red countries, more people did.

According to the survey, Anglo and Latin countries are the most tolerant ones.

Also, Pakistanis are more racially tolerant than the Germans or the Dutch while France is the least tolerant country in Europe.

If we treat this data as indicative of racial tolerance, then we might conclude that people in the bluer countries are the least likely to express racist attitudes, while the people in red countries are the most likely”, concludes the Washington Post’s blogger Max Fisher.


  • Anglo and Latin countries are the most tolerant ones. People in the survey were most likely to embrace a racially diverse neighbour 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 have also scored high.

  • India and Jordan are by far the least tolerant countries, according to the Washington Post survey. In only two of 81 surveyed countries, more than 40 per cent of respondents said they would not want a neighbour of a different race.

Immigration and national identity are big, touchy issues in much of Europe, where racial make-ups are changing, reports the Washington Post. Though you might expect the richer, better-educated Western European nations to be more tolerant than those in Eastern Europe, that’s not exactly the case.

  • France appeared to be one of the least racially tolerant countries on the continent, with 22.7 per cent saying they didn’t want a neighbour of another race. Former Soviet states such as Belarus and Latvia scored as more tolerant than much of Europe.

Many in the Balkans, perhaps after years of ethnicity-tinged wars, expressed lower racial tolerance.

  • The Middle East is not so tolerant. Immigration is also a big issue in this region, particularly in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, which often absorb economic migrants from poorer neighbours.
  • Racial tolerance is 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 scepticism of diversity. This was also true, to a lesser extent, in China and Kyrgyzstan. There were similar trends in parts of sub-Saharan Africa, reports the Washington Post.

South Korea is not very tolerant. Although the country is rich, well-educated, peaceful and ethnically homogenous – all trends that appear to coincide with racial tolerance – more than one in three South Koreans said they do not want a neighbour of a different race. This may have to do with Korea’s particular view of its own racial-national identity as unique – studied by scholars such as B.R. Myers – and with the influx of Southeast Asian neighbours and the nation’s long-held tensions with Japan, reports the US newspaper.

On the other side, Pakistan is remarkably tolerant. 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 per cent of Pakistanis objected to a neighbour of a different race. This would appear to suggest Pakistanis are more racially tolerant than even the Germans or the Dutch.