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. 20% of the index is based on geography. 10% of a country’s geography score (2% of the overall Country Similarity Index score) is allocated for anthropization in the country. These include man-made changes to the environment, such as buildings and pollution. The following are the factors that were included:
Singapore and Bahrain are essentially city-states, so a high percentage of their land is built-up. Besides those outlier countries, Belgium and the Netherlands also have over 10% built-up land. Despite bring one of the most densely populated countries, Bangladesh has only 0.8% built-up land. Less than 0.1% of land is built-up in many sparsely populated, developing countries. Bhutan and Mongolia, as well as several African and Pacific Island countries have very little built-up land.
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development is the main source of the data:
Countries were categorized into the following groups by percentage of artificial surface:
0-0.6%, 0.6-1.2%, 1.2-2.4%, 2.4-4.8%, 4.8-9.6%, 9.6-19.2%, 19.2+
In some countries, the major cities are full of skyscrapers and high rises, while other countries do not have any tall buildings. The cities in East Asia tend to have many skyscrapers. The cities in many of the wealthier Middle Eastern countries also have a lot. In contrast, despite the wealth of several European countries, only a few have many skyscrapers, like Great Britain and Ukraine. Many poorer countries that are still developing do not even have a skyscraper in the entire country.
Emporis is the main source of the data:
Countries were categorized into the following groups by the number of skyscrapers per 1 million sq. km of built-up area:
0-100, 100-200, 200-400, 400-800, 800-1600, 1600+
There is a lot more light pollution in developed countries, especially densely populated ones. Again, Singapore and Bahrain are essentially city-states, so they are outliers. South Korea, Benelux, and the Czech Republic all have a lot of light pollution as well. The vast majority of countries actually have little light pollution, since they are either sparsely populated or not developed.
The First World Atlas of the Artificial Night Sky Brightness is the source of the data:
Countries were categorized into the following groups by percentage of the night sky that is more than twice the natural brightness:
0-8.33%, 8.33-16.66%, 16.66-33.33%, 33.33%-50%, 50%-75%, 75-100%
The most densely populated developed countries emit the most pollution, relative to their area. Conversely, sparsely populated countries with little development generally create little pollution. In general, these countries also have a lot of built-up area and light pollution as well.
Our World in Data is the main source of the information:
Countries were categorized into the following groups by annual tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per sq. kilometer:
0-250, 250-500, 500-1000, 1000-2000, 2000-4000, 4000-8000
Obviously there is no one clear way to determine how similar one country is to another. How would you quantify how similar one country is to another?
Please leave any thoughts in the comments section.