Summary by Linguistic Diversity
Table 6 repeats the information in table 5 but presents the countries in order of their linguistic diversity, from most diverse to least diverse. The Index column reports Greenberg's diversity index. This is the probability that any two people of the country selected at random would have different mother tongues (Lieberson 1981). The highest possible value, 1, indicates total diversity (that is, no two people have the same mother tongue) while the lowest possible value, 0, indicates no diversity at all (that is, everyone has the same mother tongue). The computation of the diversity index is based on the population of each language as a proportion of the total population. The Coverage column indicates the completeness of the computation by reporting the percentage of languages in the country for which population estimates are available. Missing values are compensated for by using the total of known language populations (shown in the Count column) as the total population, rather than an estimate of the country's population.
Table 6. Linguistic diversity of countries (from highest to lowest)