Which Countries are Most Similar to United Arab Emirates?

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 objective 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 countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council

The top 5 countries most similar to the United Arab Emirates are all part of the Gulf Cooperation Council. The GCC is similar to the European Union in that people and goods are allowed to flow freely between their countries (although this is not the case for Qatar since 2017). Furthermore, while these countries do not have a shared currency, all of their currencies have a fixed exchange rate with the US dollar. They are also all monarchies and are some of the richest Arab countries.

Top 10 Places Most Similar to the United Arab Emirates

  1. Qatar is another country on the Persian Gulf Coast that was once a British protectorate. Both countries are highly developed and have a massive amount of male immigrants, especially from India. However, political relations between the United Arab Emirates and Qatar have broken down recently. The UAE government has even banned travel to it. Despite this, these countries have an incredibly high degree of similarity.
  2. Bahrain is an island in the Persian Gulf, near Qatar. It is also quite similar to the UAE. One difference is that most Bahrainis are Shi’tes, not Sunnis. The country also has less immigrants than those countries.
  3. Kuwait is a small oil-rich country between Saudi Arabia and Iraq. Like Bahrain, it has many Shi’ites, although they are not the majority. It relies more on oil than gas to generate electricity, unlike the other countries on this list.
  4. Oman is located to the south of the United Arab Emirates. It is more conservative than the UAE and has less tourists. In stark contrast to other countries on this list, it does not have any skyscrapers. In fact, they are illegal. Furthermore, most of its people are Ibadis, not Sunnis.
  5. Saudi Arabia is another oil-rich Muslim country with a high level of development. However, UAE is far more cosmopolitan than Saudi Arabia. Its laws are more liberal and nearly 90% of its inhabitants are immigrants. In addition, UAE is much more densely populated.
  6. Jordan, 7. Egypt, 8. Iraq, 9. Libya, 10. Lebanon

Top 10 Places Least Similar to the United Arab Emirates

  1. Burundi is a densely populated, landlocked African country. It was a colony of Belgium, before becoming independent. So it is mostly Catholic and one of its official languages is French. It is one of the poorest countries in the world, in contrast to the UAE.
  2. Papua New Guinea is a tropical Christian country in the Pacific Ocean. In contrast to the deserts of UAE, it is one of the wettest countries on Earth. While UAE is highly developed, Papua New Guinea has little infrastructure. Like Burundi, it is also a Christian country, but it is mostly Protestant. One similarity is that it both were controlled by Britain.
  3. Lesotho is another poor Christian country on this list. It is completely surrounded by South Africa. Although both countries are monarchies, Lesotho’s monarch only has ceremonial powers and the government is mostly democratic.
  4. Mozambique is a tropical country, next to Malawi. It was a colony of Portugal before its independence. Although it is mostly Christian, it has the highest percentage of Muslims on this list with around 20%. Its technology is also far different from UAE, since it drives on the left, has different electrical outlets, and uses a different train gauge.
  5. Democratic Republic of Congo, like Burundi, is another former Belgian colony that is extremely poor. In contrast to UAE, a vast majority of its land is forested. In addition, it also has little demographic or cultural similarity to UAE as well.
  6. Madagascar, 7. East Timor, 8. Haiti, 9. Rwanda, 10. Malawi

    Full Ranking of Countries and Territories Most Similar to the United Arab Emirates

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


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