I know that positive Ethics Divergence means that pops drift away from your empires' core ethics, and negative means they drift towards, that's not a problem. See related question.

What I want to know (that's not answered by the above link) is, what's the math? How often does a pop have a chance to change ethos? Once a year? Once a month? Does positive divergence mean that any ethos moves will be away from the empire ethos, guaranteed (even if it's a conquered pop that already has very different ethos)? Does a more negative value mean that the pop will get more chances to change to your empire's ethos, or does it mean that you will get the same chances to change, but the probability of it working is higher?

Additionally, how do changes between the different tiers work? Does the shape of the ethos wheel matter (other than directly opposing ethos, which obviously matters)? For example, is it easier to go from militarist to Xenophobe or Spiritualist than it is to go to Xenophile or Materialist?

Ethos Wheel

I've read this forum post as well which seems to be a better explanation than anything on the wiki, but there have been some major patches since then and I don't know if it's current. It also seems to suggest that fanatic pops can rotate around the wheel (like Fanatic Militarist can one-step go to Fanatic Xenophobe or Fanatic Spiritualist), which doesn't make a lot of sense to me.

  • 4
    I am pretty sure the ethics divergence is calculated monthly, in that every month there is an X% chance of that pop changing ethics. And no, in my experience fanatics go to the regular ethic, then to another. Of course I would write an answer, but I don't have the time to go link fishing.
    – Jax
    Commented Nov 21, 2016 at 19:31
  • @DJMethaneMan if they're calculated monthly than that link at the end of my post is wrong (which is entirely possible).
    – durron597
    Commented Nov 21, 2016 at 19:32
  • That thought about rotating about the wheel is interesting. I had assumed that there were essentially six independent axes, with the pop having a score on each one.
    – DCShannon
    Commented Nov 22, 2016 at 0:50
  • @DCShannon I haven't been playing super close attention, but I feel like in my current game (my empire is Collectivist / Fanatic Militarist) on my planets with negative ethics divergence, Individualist pops have been going through Xenophobe sort of randomly on their way to Militarist. I keep being surprised to see Xenophobe show up in certain situations, but I've always thought I remembered wrong when conquering a planet.
    – durron597
    Commented Nov 22, 2016 at 19:35
  • @durron597 That could make sense. I've had xenophobia develop on some of my worlds in my current game. I assumed it was because those worlds bordered alien empires, but it could just be random lateral drift.
    – DCShannon
    Commented Nov 22, 2016 at 19:56

1 Answer 1


Ethics 'divergence' is pretty straightforward. Each pop has a 2% chance each year to re-evaluate its ethos. When a pop re-evaluates its ethos, it calculates its individual weight towards each ethic. This weighting is based on empire factors (eg, what ethos you are, what treaties you have, what factions you have, etc) and factors unique to its situation (eg is it a synth, on a planet with slaves, etc). You can find a full list of these factors in the wiki. If any ethic's weight is less than 10% of the total weighting for all ethos, it is ignored. The pop then chooses randomly based on this weighting.

Keep in mind, the pop can simply re-pick its existing ethic. You can see the weighting for any given pop by selecting it and mousing over the icon for its ethic. This is the weighting you should go by, not what's on the faction screen.

  • 1
    Keep in mind that Stellaris's core systems change from patch to patch; the question was asking about a rather different pop ethic system that's since been overhauled. The "ethics divergence" factor specifically was replaced in the new system with "governing ethics attraction", which makes pops in or near your capital more likely to follow your governing ethics because they are your governing ethics (on top of any other factors).
    – Cadence
    Commented Jan 7, 2019 at 14:52

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .