Which Countries are Most Similar to Iceland?

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 Nordic and Germanic countries

It is no surprise that the four most similar countries to Iceland were all once part of the Kalmar Union, which united these Nordic countries for over a century. These countries tend to have cooler climates and sparsely populated landscapes. In addition, their governments are very democratic and liberal.

Top 10 Places Most Similar to Iceland

  1. Norway is by far the most similar country to Iceland. Their demographics are nearly identical, in part due to the fact that it was settled by Norwegians. Both countries use a lot of energy and primarily rely upon hydroelectricity to produce it. They are also mountainous and have a lot of coastline.
  2. Sweden is another Scandinavian country like Norway. There are few aspects where Sweden is more similar to Iceland than Norway. However neither country produces a lot of oil, unlike Norway.
  3. Finland and Iceland are the only Nordic countries without monarchs. They are the top two European countries in cars per capita. However, Finland is the only country in the top 5 which does not speak a Germanic language, in fact, Finnish isn’t even in the Indo-European language family.
  4. Denmark actually ruled Iceland until World War II, so they share a lot of the same traits. Both countries have potable water and get most of their water from ground water, not surface water. However, there are some significant geographical differences since Denmark is very flat and has a much more temperate climate. In addition, Iceland does not have a railroad, while Denmark’s network is quite dense.
  5. Ireland is another island country in the Atlantic Ocean. It might seem to be a surprising inclusion in the top 5, since it is Catholic. However, the countries share deep rooted history since Vikings captured many Irish and brought them to become slaves in Iceland, which created a blend of Irish and Norse cultures there. Their people both primarily grow barley and also eat a lot of fish. Furthermore, both countries are parliamentary democracies with strong social welfare systems.
  6. Austria, 7. Switzerland, 8. Netherlands, 9. Germany, 10. Luxembourg

Top 10 Places Least Similar to Iceland

  1. Yemen is a war-torn and extremely conservative Muslim country that unlike other countries on the Arabian Peninsula, is not well developed. Iceland and Yemen have no linguistic similarity either. However, one way they are alike is that they have relatively many firearms per capita.
  2. Sudan is located in the Sahara Desert. It is another poor Muslim country, like Yemen, that has recently experienced internal conflicts. As a result, it lost some territory to the newly formed country of South Sudan.
  3. Eritrea is located on the Red Sea, next to Sudan. It is the only country on this list with a majority Christian population. However, they are mostly Oriental Orthodox. In addition, it is extremely poor and its government has been a dictatorship for almost 20 years.
  4. Somalia is yet another country near the Red Sea on this list. It is another anarchic, war-torn, Muslim country in stark contrast to Iceland. However, both countries use the Latin alphabet. Furthermore, both countries do not have railroads.
  5. Bangladesh‘s geography is significantly different from the other countries on this list, since it is quite wet and has a high percentage of farmland. However, it does share the fact that it is another Muslim country with underdeveloped infrastructure. It is also one of the most densely populated countries in the world, while Iceland is quite sparse. Furthermore, it is extremely flat, since it is located in a large river delta.
  6. Cambodia, 7. Mauritania, 8. Afghanistan, 9. Chad, 10. Ethiopia

    Full Ranking of Countries and Territories Most Similar to Iceland

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


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