What it’s like to live in countries with highest white population as a non-white person? Do residents of these countries show tolerance towards their non-white fellow citizens? Is white population on the decline in these countries? Do governments encourage the inclusion of non-white population into society? These are some questions we will try to answer as we present you countries that have ranked as the whitest in the world.
Overall taken, whites are still privileged – they are richer, have better access to education, job market, and health care compared to other races. Still, individual differences between countries regarding racial tolerance aren’t negligible. While in some countries whites believe in a society that is built upon the principle of equality, in others racial incidents, even in parliament, are almost part of everyday life.
While ranking countries by whiteness, we had a similar problem as when we created the list 11 countries with highest black population outside Africa. What do terms “white” and “white population” mean, or more precisely, who identifies as white? US Census Bureau defines white as “a person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa”. However, this definition might change very soon, as organizations that represent people from the Middle East and South Africa emphasize that people they are representing can’t identify with the label white. For this reason, we didn’t include countries from the Middle East on this list, although, if we followed Census Bureau’s definition, Iran would found a place.
To create the list of countries with highest white population we used multiple sources. While census in countries like the US includes questions about respondent’s race, most European countries don’t collect data on its citizens’ racial identity. So we relied on CIA Factbook, which gives an ethnic profile of all countries in the world. For instance, Factbook describes the population of Poland in the following way: “Polish 96.9%, Silesian 1.1%, German 0.2%, Ukrainian 0.1%, other and unspecified 1.7%”. To estimate the number of white residents we summed up percents of white ethnical group and got the number of around 38 million. Additionally, we used other rough estimation we could find. Besides the number of white residents, we also look into racial tolerance in this countries using as a source European Value Survey (EVS), World Value Survey 2005-2009 (WVS 2005-2009) and World Value Survey 2010-2014 (WVS 2010-2014).
White population: around 27 million
Former British and French colony, Canada, is dominantly white with around 80 percent of residents who have European roots. However, the country’s ethnic profile is going to change in the future, as the population of Asian immigrants will rise while the number of white residents will decrease because of high median age and low fertility rate among white Canadians. It is estimated that by 2031 Asians will account for 30 percent of total population.
Compared to other countries from this list, Canada is the most racially tolerant place. In WVS 2005-2009, only 2.2 percent of respondents said that they wouldn’t like to have a neighbor of a different race. Other resources also confirm that in general Canadians are open to newcomers, and support their integration into the society. However, despite ranking high on many surveys on tolerance and inclusiveness, “racism is alive and well in Canada”, as described on Huffingtonpost’s blog. From racist remarks during the election campaign to racial profiling, Canada also has had its moments of intolerance.
White population: around 38 million
By summing percents of white ethnic groups living in Poland (96.9 percent of Polish, 1.1 percent Silesian, 0.2 percent German, 0.1 percent Ukrainian), we estimated that around 38 million whites live in the country. Besides Silesians, about whom there is ongoing debate whether they should be regarded as a specific ethnic group, Germans, Ukrainians, and Belarusians represent largest minority communities in Poland. Non-white population in Poland includes Vietnamese (around 50.000), Zulus, African Americans, Kurds who are present in hundreds.
Poland, along with other Slavic countries on the list, falls into the category of less racially tolerant places. On EVS and WVS 2005-2009, Polish expressed similar levels of racial intolerance – around 12 percent of participants reported that they wouldn’t like to have a neighbor of a different race. The percent was more than halved on the next WVS 2010-2014 when 5 percent of respondents showed racial intolerance. However, this doesn’t mean that Polish became more tolerant in the meanwhile; at least, that’s what BBC Panorama episode from 2012 suggests. The episode titled Euro 2012: Stadiums of Hate, which was aired shortly before beginning of European Championship, hosted by Ukraine and Poland, showed widespread racial violence and anti-Semitism in two countries. Although both governments criticized the episode as not representing reality, no one can dispute that racial incidents described by BBC really took place.
White population: around 42 million
According to CIA Factbook, 97 percent of the country’s population is white, which makes Argentina one of the whitest countries on our list in terms of the share of white residents in the total population. Other non-white groups in Argentina include Amerindian and mestizo.
Among countries on our list Argentina showed lowest levels of racial intolerance on WVS 2010-2014, when only 1.9 percent of participants said that they wouldn’t like to have a neighbor of a different race. However, even in a country whose citizens seem tolerant and open for different races and cultures, occasional racist incidents happen. Earlier this year, Argentina’s president, Cristina Kirchner, was accused of racism because of the Twit in which she mocked Chinese accent. And around the same time, Brazilian football players complained about racist taunts shouted at them during Davis Cup football match in Buenos Aires.
White population: around 44 million
Ukraine, like neighboring Poland, is pretty much white country. According to CIA Factbook, Ukraine population includes 77.8 percents of nationals, 17.3 percent of Russians, 0.6 percent of Belarusian, 0.5 percent of Moldovans….
In last two years, following a succession of Crimea, Russians, as a largest minority group in the country, have experienced increased discrimination. Besides Russians, other groups, especially non-whites, don’t always feel welcome in the country. In Washington Post article with revealing title “A Cop in Ukraine said he was detaining me because I was black. I appreciated it.”, Terrell Jermaine Starr, African American, who arrived in Ukraine as Fulbright scholar, talks about his encounter with Ukraine’s blunt and harsh racism. Racial intolerance, which range from not allowing Sierra Leone woman with a child to enter the bus to deadly violent attacks on Jordan students, resembles worst Nazi-like racism.
7. United Kingdom
White population: 51,736,290
Almost 52 million White British account for 81.9 percent of UK’s total population. They are mainly concentrated in Northern Ireland, where they constitute 96 percent of the local population, while in Greater London, one of the most ethnically and culturally diverse metropolitan areas in Europe, less than 50 percent of the population is white. Like other highly developed countries, the UK will experience a change in ethnic profile as it is expected that by 2050 ethnic minorities and blacks will represent one-third of the UK’s total population.
One of the countries with largest black population outside Africa, UK, showed relatively low racial intolerance on value surveys – on EVS, 5.9 percent expressed intolerance, and on WVS the percent of those who wouldn’t like to have a neighbor of a different race was 4.8. However, the white population is still largely privileged compared to other races. Whites have better employment prospects, earn more, seize higher positions in society, and experience poverty less often.
White population: around 60 million
The sixth country on the list 11 countries with highest white population, France, prohibits collecting data on residents’ race, ethnicity, and religion since 1978. Two years ago French officials went one step further and decided to erase the word “race” from state’s documents. The logic behind the ban is that the words race and racial can support racist ideologies. However, the fact that there are no official estimates on the number of ethnic groups creates a pile of problems – it is hard to measure the level of discrimination against minorities if there are no data about their number. According to rough estimations, there are around 60 million whites living in France, who account for 85 percent of total population.
While European value survey showed that level of racial intolerance in France is relatively low, in World Value Survey 22.6 percent of respondents said that they wouldn’t like to have a different race neighbor, which is the largest percent among the countries on this list. Moreover, earlier this year Council of Europe labeled France as a country that “is becoming more racist and intolerant”.
White population: around 60.5 million
Since CIA Factbook doesn’t give information on the percent of ethnic groups living in Italy, we used another source to determine the number of whites in the country. There are around 1.3 million non-white people living in Italy, among which Chinese represent the largest group.
Racism in Italy has had a long history that started with Benito Mussolini alliance with Hitler and anti-Semitic ideology. Today, it is still pretty much alive and present even in places where one would expect to find zero tolerance for racist outbursts. In 2013, Cécile Kyenge, first black minister in Italian government, experience series of verbal and physical attacks – bananas were thrown at her, she was compared to an orangutan, and one councilor said she should be raped. Italians express equal intolerance towards Romas, whose population is around 150.00 in Italy. Discrimination in EU 2012 showed that besides Cyprus, Italy is the only member state where an absolute majority of respondents disagree that society could benefit from better integration of the Roma. At the same time, a little less than half of the respondents, 48 percent of them would feel uncomfortable if their children had Roma schoolmates. Finally, the prevalence of racial intolerance is confirmed by data on World and European value survey, on which 11.8 and 15.6 respondents retrospectively said they wouldn’t like to have a neighbor of a different race.
White population: around 81 million
Using CIA ethnic profile of Germany, we estimated that there are around 81 million whites living in the country. However, while CIA estimates that Turks, a largest minority group in the country, account for 2.4 percent of the population, other sources say that they constitute up to 5 percent of the population.
Along with Italy, Germany is the country with the cruelest history of racism. On the surface, it seems that Germany puts a lot of effort to distance itself from Nazi ideology and to make amends. However, a recent anti-refugee demonstration against people fleeing from war zones actualized the question of racism in the country. In 2013, Spiegel, renowned German weekly news magazine, talked to 15 people of foreign descendants about their experience of racism in the country. Their stories confirm that racism, sometimes overtly, sometimes covertly, is present in Germany in almost all corners of life – from streets across real-estate to job market.
White population: 91,051,646
Census in 2010 showed that whites were in the minority for the first time in the history of Brazil. According to data, whites accounted for 47.7 percent of the population, while 50.7 percent of Brazilians were black or mixed race. The dominance of non-whites can be partly explained by the fact that more and more people were ready to embrace African roots and proudly self-identify as blacks.
Although Brazil falls into the group of racial tolerant countries on this list – only 1.9 Brazilians showed racial intolerance on WVS 2010-2014, as in other parts of the world white population is privileged compared to other races. Depending on the part of the country, whites earn from 2.4 to 3.2 times more than blacks. At the same time, the greatest share of wealth is in the hands of white residents – 82.3 percent of wealthiest Brazilians are white while 76.3 percent of poorest are African-Brazilian.
White population: around 121 million
With nearly 200 ethnic groups Russia is one of the most ethnically diverse countries. Using Wikipedia list of ethnicities living in the country, we estimated that there are around 121 million white residents.
European Value Survey showed that 15.8 percent of Russians wouldn’t like to have as a neighbor a person of different race, which is the highest number among countries on this list. At the same time, according to WVS 2010-2014, 17.2 respondents expressed racial intolerance. Russians show similar religious narrow-mindedness. There is a growing concern among Orthodox Russians about increasing Muslim population which will account for one-fifth of all population by 2020. Even Vladimir Putin, former Russian prime-minister and today’s president, went as far as to urge Russians to “have more sex” to preserve country’s orthodox identity
White population 246.795.361
With almost 247 million white residents, who account for 77,4 percent of all population, America ranks as first on our list 11 countries with highest white population. Like neighboring Canada, the US will also undergo a demographic change in the future. Current minorities will become the majority in the US by 2045 due to low birth rate and high median age among whites.
Although America is one of the most ethnically diverse countries, income and wealth gap between white residents on one side and non-whites on the other is increasing. While median household wealth among white families is 111,146 dollars, black households have 7,113 and Hispanic 8,348 dollars. Wealth difference influences other spheres of life such as access to health care and education which in turn further extends the gap between races. Inequality along with continuous mistreatment of blacks by police, sparked racial unrest across the country. Earlier this year, Barack Obama, first American black president, said that while “race relations have improved significantly during my lifetime” the country is not cured of racism.