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 Indonesia & Brunei
There are relatively few countries with a high degree of similarity with Malaysia. Unlike other East Asian countries, except Indonesia and Brunei, they practice Islam and therefore have more conservative policies.
Top 10 Places Most Similar to Malaysia
- Brunei used to rule a large portion of Borneo, before Malaysia and Indonesia took over a majority of the island. Like Malaysia, Brunei practices Islam and speaks the Malay language. Both countries use Type G electrical outlets, like Great Britain. One difference is that Brunei is wealthier due to its oil production.
- Indonesia is highly similar to Malaysia, 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.
- Thailand is just to the north of Malaysia. While it does not have much linguistic or religious similarity to Malaysia, the two countries are both constitutional monarchies. In addition, Thailand’s technology is quite similar to Malaysia since both countries drive on the left and use one-meter wide railroad tracks. Their power grids are interconnected as well, although they do not use the same electrical outlets.
- Philippines is another densely populated country in the Pacific Ocean. Their people have relatively similar demographics and standard of living. However, the biggest difference between the Philippines and Malaysia is religion. Most Filipinos are Catholic, while Malaysians are mostly Sunni Muslims.
- Singapore is a small island country off the Malay Peninsula, but despite its proximity, there are some significant differences. It is basically just a densely populated city, so its geography is quite different from Malaysia which is quite mountainous and forested. Singapore’s lingua franca is English, not Malay. Furthermore, few people in Singapore speak Malay natively, since nearly 75% of its population are Chinese in ethnicity. Furthermore, less than 15% of the population is Muslim.
- Vietnam, 7. Fiji, 8. Myanmar, 9. Sri Lanka, 10. Samoa
Top 10 Places Least Similar to Malaysia
- Switzerland is one of the wealthiest and most developed countries in the world. In addition, its geography is also quite different from Malaysia, since it is a temperate, landlocked country. However, both countries are mountainous.
- Burundi is on the opposite end of the spectrum from Switzerland, since it is one of the poorest countries in the world. Like Switzerland, it is also landlocked but also has a lot of freshwater. While both countries were colonized by European countries, Burundi was colonized by Belgium and Germany, not Great Britain.
- Iceland is a well developed but sparsely populated country. Not only are their demographics and culture quite different from Malaysia, but also their geography.
- Chad is the only country in the bottom 5 that has a majority Muslim population, however religion is the only major similarity between Chad and Malaysia. It is a landlocked country in the Sahara Desert. Its infrastructure is much less developed than Malaysia.
- Finland‘s geography has little similarity to Malaysia, 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 Malaysia.
- Niger, 7. Angola, 8. United States, 9. Haiti, 10. Germany
Full Ranking of Countries and Territories Most Similar to Malaysia
Do you agree with the list?
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