Which Countries are Most Similar to Indonesia?


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 Malaysia and the Philippines

There are relatively few countries with a high degree of similarity with the Indonesia. Unlike other East Asian countries, except Malaysia and Brunei, they practice Islam and therefore have more conservative policies. Although, the Philippines is mostly Catholic, its geography, ancestry, and standard of living are quite similar.

Top 10 Places Most Similar to Indonesia

  1. Malaysia is highly similar to Indonesia, since the countries both practice Islam and speak mutually intelligible languages. However, Malaysia’s economy is more prosperous. In addition, Malaysia’s government is unique since it is an elective monarchy.
  2. Philippines is another densely populated archipelago in the Pacific Ocean. 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 mostly Sunni. This difference creates divergent culture and politics.
  3. Brunei used to rule a large portion of Borneo, before Indonesia and Malaysia took over a majority of the island. Like Indonesia and Malaysia, Brunei practices Islam and speaks the Malay language. However, Brunei is much more wealthy and developed than Indonesia due to its oil production.
  4. East Timor gained its independence from Indonesia in 2002. Unlike Indonesia, it is mostly Catholic, since it was a colony of Portugal. In addition, the genetics and ancestry of its people are quite different from the majority of Indonesians.
  5. Vietnam is another Asian country bordering the South China Sea that is similar to Indonesia. While Indonesia was colonized by the Netherlands, Vietnam was colonized by France, although it was for a much shorter time period. Both have a similar tropical climate and long coastlines. 
  6. Bangladesh, 7. Thailand, 8. Myanmar, 9. Sri Lanka, 10. Cambodia

Top 10 Places Least Similar to Indonesia

  1. Canada is by far the least similar country to Indonesia. The countries share little demographic, cultural, or technological similarity. In addition, their climates are significantly different since Canada is one of the coldest countries with relatively little precipitation compared to Indonesia. 
  2. Switzerland is one of the wealthiest and most developed countries in the world. Switzerland’s geography is also quite different from Indonesia, being a temperate, landlocked country. However, both countries are mountainous.
  3. United States is another country, similar to Canada, which has little similarity to Indonesia in demographics, culture, or technology. One thing the countries do share is that they are both democracies that use the presidential system.
  4. Iceland is a well developed but sparsely populated country. Not only are their demographics and culture quite different from Indonesia, but also their geography. Iceland’s climate is much colder and hardly any of their land is used for agriculture.
  5. Finland‘s geography has little similarity to Indonesia, since it is quite cold, relatively flat, and has a lot of freshwater lakes. It also has a much higher standard of living. In addition, Finland is Christian and much less religious than Indonesia.
  6. Sweden, 7. Norway, 8. Denmark, 9. Luxembourg, 10. Netherlands

    Full Ranking of Countries and Territories Most Similar to Indonesia

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



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