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 Continental West European countries
The top 5 countries most similar to France are all countries in the European Union. In fact, there are many countries similar to France that don’t make this list, since many European countries are relatively similar. These countries are have a high level of development and their governments also have relatively liberal policies.
The four least similar countries are all located around the Red Sea. Their culture, geography, infrastructure, and government are all significantly different from France. They are all located in hot deserts and have significant Muslim populations.
Top 10 Places Most Similar to France
- Belgium is by far the most similar country to France. It is just to its north and even has been part of France in the past. Approximately half of the country speaks French natively, although the other half speaks Dutch. The country is mostly Catholic, but its people are not especially religious, like France. In addition, they also both use Type C, E electrical outlets, unlike most other European countries.
- Luxembourg had been under French control between 1686 to 1815, when it was given autonomy during the Congress of Vienna. Like France, it is mostly Catholic. In addition, French is one of its official languages along with German and Luxembourgish. One difference is that Luxembourg has a parliamentary form of government with a constitutional monarch, while France was one of the first countries to abolish their monarchy.
- Germany‘s geography is very similar to France. Except for the French Riviera, they have a similar climate, population density, and percentage of agricultural land. Both countries grow mostly wheat, but also barley and rapeseed. Although Germany has a lower percentage of Catholics, both have a small Muslim minority coming from recent immigration. They also have a high percentage of atheists. The biggest difference is that the French do not speak a Germanic language and are more outgoing than Germans, according to the Lewis Model.
- Italy is to the southeast of France. Both countries speak Romance languages and have a majority Catholic population. Both countries also excel at the Olympics (especially in fencing) and have won the World Cup several times. However, Italians tend to be more religious. Furthermore, their climate is much warmer and their landscape is more mountainous.
- Slovenia is another Catholic country with a similar climate and standard of living. In fact, Slovenia was part of France for a brief period in the 19th Century. Both countries produce and drink a lot of wine. Slovenia relies on nuclear energy to produce a lot of its electricity, like France. However, one big difference is language, since Slovenia is a Slavic country.
- Spain, 7. Netherlands, 8. Czechia, 9. Portugal, 10. Austria
Top 10 Places Least Similar to France
- Somalia is an anarchic, Muslim country with poorly developed infrastructure, due to civil war. Its tropical desert landscape that contrasts France’s more verdant landscape. However, the country does use the Latin script, although its language is completely unrelated to French.
- Eritrea is another country in the Horn of Africa. Its government has been a dictatorship for almost 20 years. The country has little infrastructure, unlike France. Although its population is about 50% Christian, they are part of the Oriental Orthodox denomination. Linguistically, Eritrea has no similarity as well since they speak Afroasiatic languages and use the Ge’ez script.
- Yemen is located in Africa across the Red Sea from Eritrea. It is is a conservative Muslim country that, unlike other countries on the Arabian Peninsula, is poorly developed due to civil war, in contrast to France. The country has very loose gun laws and has the most guns per capita of any country except the United States. However, Yemeni people are considered to be Caucasian, although their ancestry is still significantly different from most French people.
- Sudan is located in the Sahara Desert. The country recently lost some territory to the newly formed country of South Sudan, due to civil war. Sudan is mostly Muslim and has far more conservative laws than France. It was once a protectorate of Great Britain, so it has more of a British influence.
- Papua New Guinea is one of the hottest and wettest countries in the world, in contrast to the France’s temperate climate. Its people have little in common demographically or culturally with France. Furthermore, although its people are mostly Christians, they are generally Protestants and more religious. Their infrastructure is also extremely different, since they drive on the left, use Type I electrical outlets, and also have no railroad in use.
- Bangladesh, 7. Laos, 8. Cambodia, 9. Solomon Islands, 10. South Sudan
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