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 Southeast Asian countries
There are few countries with a high degree of similarity with Laos. They are tropical countries located in Southeast Asia. They generally have mix of Indian and Chinese influences to varying degrees.
Top 10 Places Most Similar to Laos
- Cambodia and Laos were both part of the Khmer Empire and more recently, French Indochina, so the countries have significant demographic and cultural similarities. They have similar public holidays, like New Year’s Day in April, Vesak Day, and Women’s Day. They are also some of the least developed countries in the region. However, Laos is landlocked and more mountainous.
- Myanmar is another country that practices Theravada Buddhism. Both countries are quite mountainous and not very urbanized. One big difference is that Myanmar was once part of British India, so it has a greater British than Laos, which was colonized by France.
- Vietnam, like Cambodia and Laos, was part of French Indochina. Like Laos, it is also a one party Communist state. Although it is a Buddhist country, it differs significantly from the top 2 countries since its people follow Mahayana tradition. Both countries’ agricultural areas almost exclusively grow rice and their diets are based on it. However, Vietnam is more prosperous and has a lot of coastline.
- Thailand and Laos were part of the Khmer Empire before the kingdom declined. Thai and Lao are mutually intelligible languages and their writing systems are similar. Still, only around half of the Laotian population speaks Lao natively. Thailand is also wealthier and more developed than Laos.
- Nepal is another mountainous and landlocked country in Asia. Both countries rely on hydropower to create electricity and have a similar standard of living. Although Nepal and Laos are ethnically-diverse, the ancestry of Nepalese is closer to Indians than East Asians. In addition, Nepalese are mostly Hindu, but there is a small minority of Buddhists there as well.
- Bhutan, 7. Madagascar, 8. Philippines, 9. North Korea, 10. China
Top 10 Places Least Similar to Laos
- United States is vastly different from Laos in all five factors: demographics, culture, politics, technology, and geography. One thing they do share is that they were both European colonies at some point, however Laos was colonized by the French, unlike the United States which has a contrasting British influence.
- United Kingdom is a relatively flat island, in contrast to mountainous and landlocked Laos. It is much more developed and densely populated. In addition, since Laos was colonized by the French, it drives on the right and does not use British electrical outlets.
- Denmark is located to the east of the United Kingdom, across the North Sea. It is another extremely flat country that has a lot of coastline. It is also much more developed than Laos and has little demographic or cultural similarity.
- Canada, like the United States, has few traits in common with Laos. It is one of the coldest countries in the world, in contrast to Laos. In addition, while Laos has an authoritarian government with little rule of law, Canada has one of the most democratic governments in the world.
- Australia unlike other countries on this list, is relatively close in distance to Laos. While Laos is covered in forests, Australia is mostly desert and has completely different flora and fauna. In addition, its technology is quite different since it drives on the left and uses Type I electrical outlets, although the voltage is the same.
- Netherlands, 7. Ireland, 8. Germany, 9. Belgium, 10. New Zealand
Do you agree with the list?
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