Which Countries are Most Similar to Saudi Arabia?

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Have you ever wondered how similar or different two countries are? The Country Similarity Index attempts to quantify how similar countries are to each other relative to other countries. The index is a statistically-based objective way to measure this. The index weights equally five major aspects of countries: their demographics, culture, politics, technology, and geography. In addition each aspect was roughly balanced evenly between quantity/percentage and quality/type. See this post for a full explanation: https://objectivelists.home.blog/2020/05/30/country-similarity-index/

Similar to other countries on the Arabian peninsula

The top 5 countries most similar to Saudi Arabia are all its neighbors on the Arabian Peninsula. All of these countries, except for Jordan are in the Gulf Cooperation Council. The GCC is similar to the European Union in that people and goods are allowed to flow freely between their countries. Furthermore, while these countries do not have a shared currency, all of their currencies have a fixed exchange rate with the US dollar.

Top 10 Places Most Similar to Saudi Arabia

  1. Oman is another absolute monarchy which is conservative and censors journalists. It also shares similar demographics and development of infrastructure. The biggest difference between the two countries is their religious denomination. Most people in Oman are Ibadi Muslims whereas most people in Saudi Arabia are Sunni Muslims.
  2. Kuwait is a small country between Saudi Arabia and Iraq. In the past, Saudi Arabia wanted to annex the entire Kuwaiti territory. However it did manage to annex two-thirds of its territory in the 1920s.
  3. Jordan is a Sunni Muslim country to the north of Saudi Arabia. Jordan’s royal family, the Hashemites, once ruled the Kingdom of Hejaz, which comprises both Mecca and Medina, but were taken over by the Saudis in the 1920s. Therefore, Jordan’s culture and demographics are extremely similar to Saudi Arabia. However, its economy is not nearly as advanced.
  4. United Arab Emirates is another oil-rich Muslim country with a high level of development. However, UAE is far more cosmopolitan than Saudi Arabia. Nearly 90% of its inhabitants are immigrants.
  5. Qatar is a small peninsula connected to Saudi Arabia. Political relations between Saudi Arabia and Qatar have broken down recently and the border between them has been closed. Despite this, both countries have a high degree of similarity.
  6. Libya, 7. Bahrain, 8. Iraq, 9. Egypt, 10. Syria

Top 10 Places Least Similar to Saudi Arabia

  1. Papua New Guinea is a tropical Christian country in the Pacific Ocean. In contrast to the deserts of Saudi Arabia, it is one of the wettest countries on Earth. While Saudi Arabia is highly developed, Papua New Guinea has little infrastructure.
  2. Burundi is a densely populated, landlocked African country. Like Papua New Guinea it is also a Christian country that has poorly developed infrastructure.
  3. Lesotho is another poor Christian country on this list. It is completely surrounded by South Africa. Although both countries are monarchies, Lesotho’s monarch only has ceremonial powers and the government is democratic.
  4. Malawi is another landlocked African country that has little development of its infrastructure. It is located on Lake Malawi, the world’s fourth largest freshwater lake and large percentage of its land area is lakes or wetlands, in contrast to the Arabian desert.
  5. Mozambique is a tropical country, next to Malawi. It was a colony of Portugal before its independence. Although it is mostly Christian, it has the highest percentage of Muslims on this list with around 20%. It has the list similar technology to Saudi Arabia, since it drives on the left and uses a different train gauge.
  6. Haiti, 7. Rwanda, 8. East Timor, 9. Solomon Islands, 10. Madagascar

    Full Ranking of Countries and Territories Most Similar to Saudi Arabia

Do you agree with the list?
Please leave any thoughts in the comments section.

16 Comments

  1. Jordan being “similar” to Saudia is ridiculous. Genetically there is no link, Jordan is close to the Levant. Culturally the two are polar opposites. The Hashemites are a ruling class and were opposed by the entire country. The first Hashemite king of Jordan was kicked out of his palace in Salt and had to choose an uninhabited town ruled by Circassians as his new residence (Amman). Then he was assassinated by his own subjects. Ruling class doesn’t determine the culture or genetics of the people, that’s ridiculous. Also Jordan has an indigenous Christian population which doesn’t exist in Saudia.

    Geographically it’s also not similar or even close. sykes-Pico split Damascus in half and the lower half became Jordan. So Jordan is part of Syria, in culture, blood, and geography. Look at the population density for example:

    https://books.openedition.org/ifpo/5021

    Like

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