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 Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka
There are relatively few countries with a high degree of similarity with India in part because it is a highly diverse place even within its own boundaries. 4 out of the top 5 nations were originally part of British India, before gaining independence. Some may be surprised that Bhutan is not on this list, but it is more of a hybrid between India and China, while having its own unique eccentricities. India also shares traits with countries like Kenya and Nigeria, who also have adopted English as an official language and have significant Muslim populations.
Top 10 Places Most Similar to India
- Nepal is the only other country with more than 50% of the population that follow Hinduism. Nepal also has an open border with India. In addition, the Indian Rupee is legal tender in Nepal. However, its more mountainous terrain and cooler climate make its geography significantly different.
- Pakistan is also similar to India, despite the fact that the countries are on unfriendly terms with each other. Pakistan’s official languages English and Urdu (a dialect of Hindi using the Arabic writing system) are similar to India. However, like Bangladesh, it has a majority Muslim population.
- Bangladesh, along with Pakistan, was part of India until 1947, so the countries have significant similarities. The main differences are religious and linguistic. Bangladesh has a majority Muslim population and their official language is Bengali.
- Sri Lanka‘s main differences from India, like Pakistan and Bangladesh, are mostly linguistic and religious. The majority of Sri Lankans practice Theravada Buddhism. The country is also linguistically divided, mainly speaking Sinhalese, but having Tamil speakers as well.
- Myanmar is another country on this list that was a province of British India, before becoming independent. However, it is significantly less similar than the others. The ethnicity of its people is more similar to other East Asian populations, like Thailand and Cambodia.
- Bhutan, 7. Indonesia, 8. Tanzania, 9. Mauritius, 10. Kenya
Top 10 Places Least Similar to India
- Iceland is a well developed, sparsely populated island. Not only are their people and culture quite different from India, but also their geography. Iceland’s climate is much colder and hardly any of their land is used for agriculture.
- United States and India were both former colonies of Britain, but they quite different in almost every aspect, aside from India adopting English as an official language. Their mostly vegetarian diet is vastly different from the meat-loving Americans. In addition, while the United States is a sports powerhouse, India has won few medals at the Olympics.
- Canada was also a colony of Britain, but it is extremely similar to the United States, so it is no wonder that it also makes this list. Its sparsely populated, highly urbanized population starkly contrasts India’s dense but rural population.
- Finland‘s demographics are the least similar to India, in part due to the fact that of all European countries it has the least genetic similarity, since Finns have more Siberian genes.
- Switzerland is one of the wealthiest and most developed countries in the world. Switzerland’s geography is also quite different, being an extremely mountainous, landlocked country.
- Norway, 7. New Zealand, 8. Sweden, 9. Luxembourg, 10. Denmark
Full Ranking of Countries and Territories Most Similar to India
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