Which Countries are Most Similar to the Philippines? 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 Indonesia and Malaysia

There are very few countries with a high degree of similarity with the Philippines. Indonesia and Malaysia are the closest, although several Central American countries are in the top 10 as well. This is in part because Philippines was colonized by both Spain and later the United States, leading to its highly unique character. Although its geography and people are Asian, its standard of living and infrastructure is similar to Latin America.

The four least similar countries are all Nordic. Not only is their climate much colder than the Philippines, but they are much wealthier and their infrastructure is better developed. Although these countries are predominately Christian, like the Philippines, they are Protestant and much less religious.

Top 10 Places Most Similar to the Philippines

  1. Indonesia‘s geography is very similar to the Philippines. It is also composed of densely populated tropical islands. Their people have relatively similar demographics and standard of living. However, the biggest difference between the Philippines and Indonesia is religion. Most Filipinos are Catholic, while Indonesians are Sunni. This difference creates divergent culture and politics.
  2. Malaysia is highly similar to Indonesia. However it is lower on this list because it has higher standard of living than both Indonesia and the Philippines. It also has more of a British influence, since it had once been one of its colonies, so it drives on left and uses Type G electrical outlets. Unlike the Philippines, it is a parliamentary democracy with a constitutional monarch.
  3. Samoa is a group of tropical islands in Polynesia. It is another country that natively speaks an Austronesian language, but also has English as one of their official languages. However, Samoa was once a colony of New Zealand, not the United States, so its culture and infrastructure is more similar to New Zealand. Like Filipinos, Samoans are mostly Christian, but a much lower percentage are Catholic.
  4. East Timor is the only other Catholic country in Asia, since it was formerly a colony of Portugal. It gained its independence from Indonesia in 2002. However, its people have a different ancestry than Filipinos. In addition, English is not in widespread use in East Timor.
  5. Vietnam is another Asian country bordering the South China Sea that is geographically similar to the Philippines. While Philippines was colonized by Spain, Vietnam was colonized by France, although it was for a much shorter time period. Both have a similar tropical climate and long coastlines. The biggest difference is that Vietnam is an authoritarian one party state, while Philippines is a multi-party democracy. Both use the Latin alphabet, although their languages are entirely unrelated. Still, most Vietnamese are Buddhist and also tend to be less religious than Filipinos.
  6. Dominican Republic, 7. Vanuatu, 8. Guatemala, 9. Liberia, 10. Panama

Top 10 Places Least Similar to the Philippines

  1. Iceland is a well developed but sparsely populated country, in contrast to the Philippines. Not only are their demographics and culture quite different from Philippines, but also their geography. Iceland’s climate is much colder and hardly any of their land is used for agriculture. Still, both countries are mountainous islands. Iceland also uses far more electricity and creates much of it by using geothermal energy.
  2. Finland‘s geography is quite cold, relatively flat, and has a lot of freshwater lakes. It also has a much higher standard of living. While both countries are Christian, Finland is Protestant and much less religious, like other Nordic countries.
  3. Sweden is similar to its neighbor, Finland. Its demographics, culture, geography, technology, and politics are all fairly different from the Philippines. Its government is much more liberal and also less authoritarian.
  4. Norway is yet another wealthy Nordic country on this list. Its demographics are extremely different to the Philippines. Its people are much taller and heavier. However, the country’s long coastline and relatively mountainous geography pushes it slightly lower down on this list relative to the other countries.
  5. Switzerland is landlocked and far wealthier than the Philippines. It is yet another Germanic-speaking country on this list. However, Switzerland does have many Catholics, like the Philippines. They are also both quite mountainous, although Switzerland is much colder.
  6. Saudi Arabia, 7. Libya, 8. Luxembourg, 9. Yemen, 10. Eritrea

Full Ranking of Countries and Territories Most Similar to the Philippines

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


  1. Would you please add “Which countries are Most Similar to Indonesia?”. Indonesia is the 7th largest country by GDP (PPP) and the 4th most populous country, so it surely deserves its own list now that you have added dozens of other countries.


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