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 Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka
There are relatively few countries with a high degree of similarity with India in part because it is a highly diverse place even within its own boundaries. 4 out of the top 5 nations were originally part of British India, before gaining independence. Some may be surprised that Bhutan is not on this list, but it is more of a hybrid between India and China, while having its own unique eccentricities. India also shares traits with countries like Kenya and Nigeria, who also have adopted English as an official language, a mix of tropical and desert climates, and also significant Muslim populations.
The 5 least similar countries are all highly developed countries in the Northern Hemisphere with much cooler climates. A low percentage of their land is used for agriculture and few people are farmers, unlike India. Furthermore, they all drive on the right side of the road and use a different railroad gauge.
Top 10 Places Most Similar to India
- Nepal is the only other country with more than 50% of the population that follows Hinduism. The Nepali language is also similar to Hindi and they use the same writing system. Nepal and India also use the parliamentary system. In addition, the Indian Rupee is legal tender in Nepal. They even have open borders with each other. However, its more mountainous terrain and cooler climate make its geography significantly different.
- Pakistan is also similar to India, despite the fact that the countries are on unfriendly terms with each other. Pakistan’s official languages English and Urdu (a dialect of Hindi using the Arabic writing system) are similar to India. However, it has a majority Muslim population. Its climate is also significantly drier.
- Sri Lanka is an island off the coast of India. The main differences from India, like Pakistan and Bangladesh, are mostly linguistic and religious. The majority of Sri Lankans practice Theravada Buddhism. The country is also linguistically divided, mainly speaking Sinhalese, but having Tamil speakers as well. However, like India, English is a working language of its government.
- Bangladesh, along with Pakistan, was part of India until 1947, so the countries have significant similarities. The main differences are religious and linguistic. Like Pakistan, Bangladesh has a majority Muslim population and their official language is Bengali. The country is also significantly more densely populated and it does not have any tall mountains.
- Myanmar is another country on this list that was a province of British India, before becoming independent. However, it is significantly less similar than the others. The ethnicity of its people is more similar to other East Asian populations, like Thailand and Cambodia. Myanmar is also mostly Buddhist and its language is completely unrelated to the major languages spoken in India. Still, their writing systems are distantly related, since they are both abugidas that descended from Brahmi script.
- Indonesia, 7. Bhutan, 8. Mauritius, 9. Nigeria, 10. Fiji
Top 10 Places Least Similar to India
- Iceland is by far the least similar country to India. It is a well developed, sparsely populated island. Not only are their people and culture quite different from India, but also their geography. Iceland’s climate is much colder and hardly any of their land is used for agriculture. However, one way India is far more developed than Iceland is their heavily used railroad network. In contrast Iceland does not have a railroad.
- Finland is another extremely cold and sparsely populated Nordic country. The genetics of its people are further different from India than other European countries, since Finnish people have more genes originating from Siberia. While Cricket is extremely popular in India, Finland’s favorite sport is ice hockey.
- Canada and India were both former colonies of Britain, but they quite different in almost every aspect, aside from India adopting English as an official language. Its sparsely populated, highly urbanized population starkly contrasts India’s dense but rural population. Furthermore, India’s mostly vegetarian diet is vastly different from the meat-loving Canadians. In addition, Canada does extremely well at the Olympics for a country its size, in contrast India has won few medals at the Olympics.
- Norway is yet another Nordic country on this list. The country is extremely mountainous, unlike most of India. It is more democratic and has a generous welfare system in place for its citizens, due to oil revenue. This has made Norway’s GDP one of the highest in the world.
- South Korea is the least similar country in Asia. Although both countries are fairly densely populated, South Korea has much less agricultural land and most of its land is near the coast. Its culture and demographics are particularly different from India. Although a large portion of people in both countries follow Dharmic religions, South Korea is less religious.
- United States, 7. Japan, 8. Sweden, 9. Switzerland, 10. New Zealand
Full Ranking of Countries and Territories Most Similar to India
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