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 Southeast Asian countries
There are very few countries with a high degree of similarity with Thailand. They are all tropical countries located in Southeast Asia. They generally have mix of Indian and Chinese influences to varying degrees. Their diet is also predominately rice-based.
The four least similar countries to Thailand are all located in Africa. They all have dry desert climates and their infrastructure is much less developed than Thailand’s. Furthermore, they have little demographic or cultural similarity.
Top 10 Places Most Similar to Thailand
- Cambodia and Thailand were part of the Khmer Empire before the kingdom declined. Their people have relatively similar demographics and culture. In addition, both countries are constitutional monarchies and have similar laws. A majority of the land in both Cambodia and Thailand is used to farm rice. However, Cambodia is poorer and less developed than Thailand.
- Vietnam is another Asian country bordering the South China Sea that is similar to Thailand. The countries have a similar standard of living. In addition, both have a tropical climate and beautiful beaches. However, Vietnam’s culture and government is more similar to China than Thailand. Vietnam is less religious due to its communist government. It also practices a different branch of Buddhism than Thailand.
- Laos shares a lot of cultural similarity with Thailand, since their languages are related, their alphabets are very similar, and they practice Theravada Buddhism. However, Laos is poorer and its infrastructure is less developed. In addition, it is landlocked and more mountainous than Thailand. A far lower percentage of its land is used for agriculture.
- Malaysia is by far the most similar country to Thailand in regards to technology. Both countries mostly use gas to create electricity. In addition, their power grids are connected. Their transportation is also similar, since both countries drive on the left and use meter-gauge railroad tracks. However, Malaysia is a Muslim country, unlike Thailand. Furthermore, most of its agriculture is devoted to producing palm oil, not rice.
- Myanmar borders Thailand to the west. In the 1500’s, both countries were part of the Toungoo Empire. Later, Myanmar became part of British India, before becoming independent after World War II. Therefore, Myanmar is more influenced by India than the rest of Southeast Asia. Its economic situation is also worse than Thailand and it is less developed.
- Indonesia, 7. Sri Lanka, 8. Brunei, 9. Philippines, 10. Taiwan
Top 10 Places Least Similar to Thailand
- Niger‘s demographics are very different from Thailand. The country has the youngest population in the world, in contrast to Thailand. It also has one of the highest birthrates in the world, while Thailand has one of the lowest birthrates in Asia. It is also a landlocked and sparsely populated country with a desert climate.
- Chad is located to Niger’s east. It is another landlocked, sparsely populated country in the Sahara Desert, with very little infrastructure. The country has a mix of Christians and Muslims, unlike Thailand.
- Eritrea is another country on this list in Africa. It has a conservative totalitarian one-party dictatorship and poorly developed infrastructure. In addition, its dry desert climate contrasts Thailand’s tropical forest landscape.
- Somalia, is a predominately Muslim African country. Its infrastructure is poor, due in part to the fact that it is still in civil war. Its government is extremely conservative. In addition, although both countries border the Indian Ocean, Somalia’s climate is much dryer than Thailand.
- Iceland is a well developed but sparsely populated country. Not only are their demographics and culture quite different from Thailand, but also their geography. Iceland’s climate is much colder and hardly any of their area is used for agriculture. It is mostly barren land. Iceland’s people are also much wealthier than Thailand.
- Canada, 7. Yemen, 8. Djibouti, 9. Afghanistan, 10. Mauritania
Do you agree with the list?
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