Which Countries are Most Similar to Italy?


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 other Mediterranean countries in the European Union

Many countries are similar to Italy. The top 5 countries are all in the European Union and 4 of the 5 border the Mediterranean Sea. They are known for their scenic beaches and are also quite mountainous. In addition, the 4 of the top 5 have a majority Catholic population.

Top 10 Places Most Similar to Italy

  1. Spain is just across the Balearic Sea from Italy. The two countries have similar climate, demographics, and culture. In addition, both are parliamentary multi-party democracies, although Spain is a constitutional monarchy.
  2. France is to the northwest of Italy. Both countries drink and grow a lot of wine. In addition, they share some sporting similarities, since they both have won the World Cup and have also won a majority of their Olympic medals in fencing. However, France also has a more diverse population, since it has more Muslims and Africans. Furthermore, France is cooler and less mountainous.
  3. Portugal doesn’t actually border the Mediterranean Sea, however it is still considered a Mediterranean country. Like France and Italy, it grows and consumes a lot of wine. Like Spain and Italy, it also grows many olives. However, Portugal’s economic situation is slightly worse than Italy.
  4. Croatia is first nation on this list that does not speak a Romance language. However, it is another Catholic country with similar values and practices, located on the Adriatic Sea. In fact, most of the Croatian coast was once ruled by Venice. Croatia is also quite mountainous and has a lot of coastline, so it is a scenic destination for tourists, albeit more off the beaten path than Italy.
  5. Greece is another mountainous peninsula in the Mediterranean Sea. Both Italy and Greece were the two epicenters of classical civilization. They were both part of the Roman Empire. The two countries share similar politics, technology, and geography. However, Italy is Catholic and Greece is Orthodox. In addition, their languages are writing systems, while distantly related, are different.
  6. Slovenia, 7. Belgium, 8. Austria, 9. Germany, 10. Slovakia

Top 10 Places Least Similar to Italy

  1. Somalia, despite being in part colonized by Italy, is by far the least similar country to Italy. It is an anarchic, Muslim country that has poorly developed infrastructure. Its conservative policies contrast Italy’s more liberal society.
  2. Sudan is located in the Sahara Desert, near Somalia. It is another impoverished Muslim country. It recently lost some territory to the newly formed country of South Sudan. Its authoritarian government and lack of development make it quite different from Italy.
  3. Yemen is located on the Arabian Peninsula, but it is relatively close to Somalia and Sudan. It is another conservative Muslim country that has poorly developed infrastructure. 
  4. Eritrea is the only country on this list with a majority Christian population, however the Christians there are part of the unique Oriental Orthodox denomination. Eritrea has one of the world’s most authoritarian governments. In addition, its climate is much hotter and drier than Italy’s.
  5. South Sudan is one of the world’s newest countries. It is located in Africa, south of the Sahara Desert. Its geography also bears little resemblance to Italy, since it is rural, landlocked, and relatively flat.
  6. Chad, 7. Niger, 8. Sierra Leone, 9. Mauritania, 10. Gambia

    Full Ranking of Countries and Territories Most Similar to Italy

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


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