What Are Some Characteristics of a Homogeneous Society?

A homogeneous society is a population that overwhelmingly shares certain traits or views. These commonalities may include ethnicity, language, religion, cultural practices and worldview. The opposite of homogeneous society, heterogeneous society, describes a population with diverse traits and characteristics.

An example of a homogeneous society is Japan. Much of the population shares common roots, ethnic identity, language and religious disposition (Buddhism and Shintoism). The Japanese people also share a common cultural outlook which emphasizes communal cooperation and responsibility as opposed to the rugged individualism valued in many Western societies.

While homogeneity can be a source of inspiration and shared experience, the results of such a mindset are not always positive. The sameness associated with homogeneous society may serve as justification to exclude other groups or to eradicate them altogether. Historical cases of genocide, particularly with respect to Nazi Germany, have been predicated on the idea of creating a perfectly homogeneous society.

The idea of a homogeneous society often plays a part in political arguments regarding immigration. Opponents of immigration argue that the arrival of new and ethnically diverse immigrants undermines the cohesion of society. Alternately, proponents of immigration embrace the arrival of new immigrants, particularly in countries with aging populations that are not reproducing quickly enough to meet social and economic needs.