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. It weighs equally five major aspects of countries: their demographics, culture, politics, infrastructure, and geography. The methodology is exactly the same for each country. The research combines 1,000 different data points to arrive at the conclusions.
Similar to Mostly White, English-Speaking Countries
The top 5 countries most similar to the Australia have all been part of the United Kingdom at one time or another so they share similar traits. These countries are composed of a majority White and English-speaking population. They are also predominately Christian nations that have well developed infrastructure.
On the other end of the spectrum, the two least similar countries are located in Southeast Asia, Laos and Cambodia. Not only is their landscape vastly different, but also their culture. Furthermore, these countries are far less developed than Australia.
Top 10 Places Most Similar to Australia
- New Zealand is by far the most similar country to Australia. It was even asked to become one of Australia’s states when it formed. New Zealand citizens even have the right to live and work in Australia. Both are former British colonies with similar politics and culture. However, New Zealand’s climate is much wetter and has more moderate temperatures.
- United Kingdom originally founded Australia, so it is no wonder that they are high on this list as well. Most Australians trace their ancestry back to Britain than any other country. However its geography is significantly different from the United Kingdom. Its population is much denser and its climate is much more temperate.
- Canada is another former British colony similar to Australia, so they also share similar politics and culture. Their geography is both similar and different. On one hand both countries have large swathes of land that are uninhabited with relatively little agricultural land. In addition, both are highly urbanized. However, Canada is on the opposite side of the Earth and much colder. Both countries excel in the Olympics. However, Canadians are more interested in ice hockey, while Australians are more interested in cricket. In addition, over 20% of Canadians speak French.
- Ireland also has similar culture and demographics to Australia in part because of its similarity to Britain, but also because over 10% of the Australian population claims to have Irish ancestry. However, unlike other English speaking countries on this list, Ireland is mostly Catholic.
- United States is yet another former British colony characterized by a large European immigrant population. However, unlike Australia, New Zealand, and Canada, it is now longer part of the Britain Commonwealth and became independent much earlier, so its government tends to be is less similar to Australia than the other countries on this list. Still, it has a variety of different climates, like Australia, although it has a lower percentage of desert land.
- Germany, 7. Sweden, 8. Norway, 9. Netherlands, 10. Denmark
Top 10 Places Least Similar to Australia
- Laos is is a landlocked, mountainous and heavily forested Southeast Asian country, unlike Australia. In addition, Laos and Australia have very different demographics and culture. It is also one of the poorest Asian countries and most of its people are farmers. The country also has little democracy, since its government is dominated by the Communist Party.
- Cambodia is just to the south of Laos, but it is less heavily forested and less mountainous than Laos. It has a tropical climate and gets far more rainfall than Australia. Like Laos, most people in Cambodia are Buddhist. Furthermore, they use the unique Khmer script for their writing.
- Guinea-Bissau is a tropical country in Africa that was once colonized by Portugal. Despite this, a vast majority of its people are Muslim. The country’s government has experienced many military coups and the country’s infrastructure is not well developed.
- Eritrea is a totalitarian one-party dictatorship and has poorly developed infrastructure. However its climate is dry, like most of Australia. Although its population is about 50% Christian, they are part of the Oriental Orthodox denomination and are also much more religious than Australians. Linguistically, Eritrea has no similarity as well since they speak Afroasiatic languages and use the Ge’ez script.
- Yemen is across the Red Sea from Eritrea. It is an anarchic Muslim country that is poorly developed and very conservative. However, like Australia and Eritrea, most of its land is desert, although its vegetation is more barren. One significant similarity is that Yemeni people are considered to be Caucasian, although their ancestry is significantly different than most Australians.
- North Korea, 7. Somalia, 8. Myanmar, 9. Chad, 10. Mauritania
Full Ranking of Countries and Territories Most Similar to Australia
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