Which Countries are Most Similar to Brazil? 2.0

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 other Latin American countries

There are many countries with a high degree of similarity with Brazil. Latin American countries are especially similar to Brazil since they are generally Catholic, speak Romance languages, and are neither especially poor, nor especially rich. Their governments also have similar liberal policies except in regards to abortion. 

Although both Brazil and Portugal speak Portuguese, there are significant differences between the countries, especially in geography and infrastructure. Furthermore, its people are younger and have greater racial diversity.

All of the countries least similar to Brazil are located in desert climates. With the exception of Eritrea, they are all Muslim majority countries that do not have well developed infrastructure and have far more conservative laws.

Top 10 Places Most Similar to Brazil

  1. Colombia is the most similar country to Brazil, despite speaking Spanish instead of Portuguese. Both countries share similar demographics and level of development. In addition, both have significant portions of their territory covered by rainforest. However Colombia is much more mountainous than Brazil.
  2. Venezuela‘s geography is very similar to Brazil and Colombia, since it is also mostly rainforest. It also borders the Atlantic Ocean and is less mountainous than Colombia. The one big difference is that Venezuela’s government is more anarchic, due to the recent presidential crisis. 
  3. Peru is also similar to Brazil, however it has more of a Native American influence on its demographics and culture. Still, both have tropical climates, although Peru is significantly more mountainous. In fact, the Andes Mountains of Peru are the source of the Amazon River.
  4. Ecuador is located between Peru and Colombia. It is another South American country with a tropical climate, although it is much more mountainous. The country is also less democratic than Brazil, but they both have similar laws and form of government.
  5. Paraguay is to the southwest of Brazil, therefore its climate and landscape is especially similar to southern Brazil. Their agriculture is very similar. Both countries grow a lot of corn and soybean. However, unlike other countries on this list it is landlocked. The countries both get most of their electricity from hydropower. In fact they even share a large dam on ParanĂ¡ River at their border.
  6. Argentina, 7. Uruguay, 8. Dominican Republic, 9. Panama, 10. El Salvador

Top 10 Places Least Similar to Brazil

  1. Yemen is by far the least similar country to Brazil. It is located in the Arabian Desert and borders the Indian Ocean. It is a conservative Muslim country with little cultural or geographic similarity to Brazil. The country is much drier and its landscape is much more mountainous, although both countries typically have high temperatures. Due to on-going civil war, the country’s infrastructure is not well developed.
  2. Somalia is located across the Gulf of Aden from Yemen. Its desert landscape contrasts Brazil’s lush tropical rainforests. Its policies are also extremely conservative, compared to more liberal Brazil. In addition, Somalia’s demographics are also dissimilar. Like Yemen, the country’s government has a great deal of instability. Still, unlike other countries on this list it typically uses the Latin alphabet, like Brazil.
  3. Eritrea is located in Africa, across the Red Sea from Yemen. It is the only country on this list with a majority Christian population, however its Christians are of the unique Oriental Orthodox religion. It Its government has been a dictatorship for almost 20 years.
  4. Afghanistan is an extremely mountainous and landlocked Asian country with a dry climate. Its infrastructure and government also differ significantly from Brazil. Still, the native language of both countries are distantly related, since they are both part of the Indo-European language family.
  5. Sudan is yet another war torn Muslim country on this list. It is located in the Sahara Desert and borders the Red Sea. The country recently lost some territory to the newly formed country of South Sudan.
  6. Japan, 7. Niger, 8. North Korea, 9. Saudi Arabia, 10. Bhutan

    Full Ranking of Countries and Territories Most Similar to Brazil

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

14 Comments

  1. I don’t know how much I can agree with the chosen top 5 most similar countries. Specially when it comes to the demographics. If you look at the genetic data, Brazil is the third most European country in Latin America, at about 65%, not that far from Argentina (around 70%). Uruguay is first. Of course, the main difference here would be the fact that the remainder is way more African in Brazil, rather than Amerindian. If we look at demographics alone, Cuba should be the most similar country. For this reason, having a place like Peru at the top 5 is unfathomable, given that, alongside Bolivia, it is basically as Amerindian as modern countries can be, both culturally and genetically, while Brazil’s genetic heritage is only about 10-15% Amerindian.

    Also, the role of the Mercosur bloc seems to have been taken lightly.

    Personally, I would say that this similarity ranking would look good if we took only the northern half of the country into account. It feels weird for the rest of the country, and extremely alien for the south region in particular, and perhaps even for the state of Sao Paulo.

    Important hint: Please keep in mind that self identification and racial census in Latin America are often misleading, since most of the population actually have no clue of their own racial/continental ancestry in a genetic way. Just look at Chile for example, where most identify as White, but as a whole, their country is less European than Brazil.

    Like

    1. Thanks, Latin America is especially hard, since there is a lot of people with mixed race, so it depends on how you count it. Because countries like Peru are mostly people with mixed European and Amerindian ancestry, in they are actually being counted as 50-50. I suppose your point of view comes from the one-drop rule, which would suggest less similarity and I don’t necessarily disagree. However, Brazil’s racial makeup is unlike either Argentina or Peru, due to a much higher degree of African ancestry. Also remember, the demographics section is not simply about race but also about age, education level, affluence, etc.

      Like

      1. Fair enough.

        I don’t mean to come down too hard on your analysis. I meant it mostly as constructive criticism, that might come in handy when you work on your next Latin American country.

        Also, I suppose it would be impossible to please everyone’s point of view when discussing a country like Brazil, which has a lot of regional variety when it comes to every aspect that you use as a criterion.

        On that train of thought, it would actually be interesting to see, if you are willing to do it someday, which results your methodology would yield if you were to look at the 3 Brazilian socio-geographic divisions as if they were different countries. They differ from each other in most aspects, that is, not only on the demographic issues that we touched upon, but also to a great extent when it comes to development, economic situation, geography, climate, cultural aspects, among others. There might even be a bigger contrast among these internal regions than there is with some other countries.

        Just a thought, please don’t take it as if I am forcing/asking you to do anything.
        …It would be an interesting experiment though.

        Informative links:
        https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brazil_socio-geographic_division

        https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Centro-Sul
        https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nordeste_(socio-geographic_division)
        https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amaz%C3%B4nia_Legal

        Regards.

        Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s