Which Countries are Most Similar to the Philippines?


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 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 Southeast Asia and Latin America

There are relatively few countries with a high degree of similarity with the Philippines. Although its geography and people are Asian, its culture and politics are more aligned with Latin America. Reflecting this, 6 out of the top 10 most similar nations are in Latin America, while the other 4 are in Asia. The Philippines was colonized by both Spain and later the United States, leading to its highly unique character.

Top 10 Places Most Similar to the Philippines

  1. Indonesia‘s geography is by far the most similar to the Philippines. It is also composed of densely populated tropical islands. Their people have relatively similar demographics and standard of living. However, the biggest difference between the Philippines and Indonesia is religion. Most Filipinos are Catholic, while Indonesians are Sunni. This difference creates divergent culture and politics.
  2. Dominican Republic, like the Philippines, had periods of being colonized by both Spain and the United States. So it is no surprise that the Dominican Republic would be high on this list. Both countries are Catholic and have few atheists. They also share American traits like using 911 for emergencies and having Type A,B power outlets. In addition, both countries have relatively similar standards of living.
  3. Malaysia is highly similar to Indonesia. However it is lower on this list because it has higher standard of living than both Indonesia and the Philippines. It also has more of a British influence, since it had been one of its colonies, so it drives on left and uses Type G electrical outlets.
  4. Vietnam is another Asian country bordering the South China Sea that is similar to the Philippines. While Philippines was colonized by Spain, Vietnam was colonized by France, although it was for a much shorter time period. Both have a similar tropical climate and long coastlines. The biggest difference is that Vietnam is an authoritarian one party state, while Philippines is a multi-party democracy.
  5. East Timor is the only other Catholic country in Asia, since it was formerly a colony of Portugal. It gained its independence from Indonesia in 2002. However, its people have a different ancestry than Filipinos.
  6. Guatemala, 7. Panama, 8. Ecuador, 9. Mexico, 10. El Salvador

Top 10 Places Least Similar to the Philippines

  1. Finland‘s geography is the least similar to Philippines, since it is quite cold, relatively flat, and has a lot of freshwater lakes. It also has a much higher standard of living. While both countries are Christian, Finland is Protestant and much less religious.
  2. Sweden is similar to its neighbor, Finland. Its demographics, culture, geography, technology, and politics are all fairly different from the Philippines.
  3. Iceland is a well developed but sparsely populated country. Not only are their demographics and culture quite different from Philippines, but also their geography. Iceland’s climate is much colder and hardly any of their land is used for agriculture.
  4. Switzerland is one of the wealthiest and most developed countries in the world. Switzerland’s geography is also quite different from the Philippines, being a temperate, landlocked country. However, both countries are covered with mountains.
  5. Norway is another wealthy Northern European country on this list. However, its long coastline and relatively mountainous geography pushes it slightly lower down on this list relative to the other countries.
  6. Kuwait, 7. Denmark, 8. Australia, 9. Germany, 10. Luxembourg

Full Ranking of Countries and Territories Most Similar to the Philippines

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


  1. Would you please add “Which countries are Most Similar to Indonesia?”. Indonesia is the 7th largest country by GDP (PPP) and the 4th most populous country, so it surely deserves its own list now that you have added dozens of other countries.


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