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 both English-Speaking and Scandinavian Countries
Canada is similar to two general groups of countries: white English-speaking countries and Scandinavia. Not only does Canada share a similar climate to Scandinavia, but it also is well developed and has a liberal government. The biggest difference is that Scandinavian countries do not natively speak English, although a high number of their citizens can speak it as a second language.
All of the countries least similar to Canada are unsurprisingly located in hot desert climates. With the exception of Eritrea, they are all Muslim majority countries as well. They do not have well developed infrastructure and have far more conservative laws.
Top 10 Places Most Similar to Canada
- United States is by far the most similar country to Canada. This is in part because they are both originally British colonies. However Canada retained more characteristics of Britain than the United States since it became independent much later. Still, the United States has had a great influence on Canada due to its close proximity, especially in regards to infrastructure and culture. In fact, they share the longest border between any two countries in the world.
- Australia is another former British colony characterized by a large European immigrant population. Its government and demographics are quite similar to Canada’s. However, it is on the opposite side of the earth and its climate is far warmer so its geography is significantly different. Still, they are both sparsely populated countries that have a lot of coastline.
- Sweden is a Scandinavian country, whose cold climate and liberal government are very similar to Canada. They are both heavily forested with coniferous trees and have many lakes. In addition, both countries enjoy ice hockey and winter sports. Although it is not their native language, most people can speak English in Sweden as well.
- Norway‘s geography is one of the most similar to Canada. Both countries are sparsely populated and have cold climates, although Norway is more mountainous. Its government and policies are also similar. Both are constitutional monarchies with liberal governments that have similar policies, such as the decriminalization of sex work, single payer healthcare systems, and generous pensions to retirees. In addition, both countries are primarily powered by hydroelectricity.
- New Zealand is the third former British colony on this list. A majority of the people in both countries are White, however they also have a significant percentage of Asians as well. Both countries are constitutional monarchies, although New Zealand has a unicameral legislature, unlike Canada. Another difference is that New Zealand’s climate is warmer and wetter, although it also has some cold regions in its mountainous areas. As a result, few New Zealanders play ice hockey. Instead, rugby and cricket are far more popular there.
- United Kingdom, 7. Switzerland, 8. Ireland, 9. France, 10. Germany
Top 10 Places Least Similar to Canada
- Eritrea‘s government is a conservative, totalitarian one-party dictatorship. It has a hot dry climate and a barren desert landscape, in contrast to heavily forested Canada. The country also lacks well developed infrastructure. Still, a majority of its population is Christian, however they are of the unique Oriental Orthodox denomination.
- Somalia is an anarchic, conservative Muslim country with poorly developed infrastructure, due to on-going civil war. In addition, Somalia’s demographics are also dissimilar. Like Yemen, the country’s government has a great deal of instability. Still, it typically uses the Latin alphabet, like Canada.
- Yemen is the only country on this list not in Africa. It is located at the southern most point of the Arabian Peninsula, across the Gulf of Aden from Somalia. It is another conservative Muslim country with an anarchic government. The country’s climate is much drier and hotter than Canada.
- Niger, located in the Sahara Desert, is one of the hottest countries in the world. It also has the lowest average age in the world. It is another conservative Muslim country in Africa on this list. Its extremely low level of development made its infrastructure the least similar to Canada. Still, there is some language similarity. Both countries have French as an official language, although English is more common in Canada, and they both use the Latin alphabet.
- Sudan is another poor Muslim country in the Sahara Desert, which recently lost some territory to the newly formed country of South Sudan, due to civil war. Its conservative and undemocratic government is quite unlike Canada’s. Although Sudan has English as one of its official languages, it is not widely spoken in this Arabic-speaking country.
- Chad, 7. Mauritania, 8. Bangladesh, 9. Laos, 10. Cambodia
Full Ranking of Countries and Territories Most Similar to Canada
Do you agree with the list?
Please leave any thoughts in the comments section.