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 Mediterranean countries in the European Union
Many countries are similar to Italy. The top 5 countries are all in the European Union and 4 of the 5 border the Mediterranean Sea. They are known for their scenic beaches and are also quite mountainous. In addition, the top 5 all have a majority Catholic population.
The least similar countries are all located in Africa, despite their relative proximity. These countries all have a much hotter and drier climate and their landscapes have less vegetation. 4 of the 5 least similar are countries with a Muslim majority.
Top 10 Places Most Similar to Italy
- Spain is just across the Balearic Sea from Italy. The two countries have similar climate, demographics, and culture. In addition, both are parliamentary multi-party democracies, although Spain is a constitutional monarchy. The countries are also similar economically.
- Portugal doesn’t actually border the Mediterranean Sea, however it is still considered a Mediterranean country. Like France and Italy, it grows and consumes a lot of wine. Like Spain and Italy, it also grows many olives. However, Portugal’s economic situation is slightly worse than Italy.
- France is to the northwest of Italy. Both countries drink and grow a lot of wine. In addition, they share some sporting similarities, since they both have won the World Cup and have also won a majority of their Olympic medals in fencing. However, France also has a more diverse population, since it has more Muslims and people with African ancestry. Furthermore, France is cooler and less mountainous.
- Croatia is first nation on this list that does not speak a Romance language. However, it is another Catholic country with similar values and practices, located on the Adriatic Sea. In fact, most of the Croatian coast was once ruled by Venice. Croatia is also quite mountainous and has a lot of coastline, so it is a scenic destination for tourists, albeit more off the beaten path than Italy.
- Slovenia borders Italy to its east. Like Croatia, it is another Catholic country that speaks a Slavic language. However unlike Croatia and Italy, it has little coastline. The countries both have a parliamentary form of government with a prime minister and a head of state. Their laws are also fairly similar. They both only allow civil unions for same-sex couples. They also allow unorganized prostitution.
- Greece, 7. Belgium, 8. Austria, 9. Germany, 10. Romania
Top 10 Places Least Similar to Italy
- Sudan is a predominately Muslim country located in the Sahara Desert. Most of the native people in the country speak Arabic. It recently lost some territory to the newly formed country of South Sudan. Due to civil war, its infrastructure is far less developed than Italy’s. Its authoritarian government also makes it quite different from Italy.
- Somalia, despite being in part colonized by Italy, is also very different from Italy. Like Sudan, it is an anarchic, Muslim country that has poorly developed infrastructure. Its conservative policies contrast Italy’s more liberal society. Although the Somali language is completely unrelated to Italian, both countries do use the Latin script.
- Eritrea is the only country on this list with a majority Christian population, however the Christians there are part of the unique Oriental Orthodox denomination. Eritrea has one of the world’s most authoritarian governments. In addition, its climate is much hotter and drier than Italy’s. Most people in the country speak Tigrinya and Tigre, using the unique Ge’ez script.
- Chad is a landlocked, sparsely populated country in the Sahara Desert, with very little infrastructure. It has been ruled by a dictator for more than 30 years. It is mostly Muslim, however there is a Christian minority population as well. Its official languages are Arabic and French.
- Niger is a similar country to Chad located to its west. The country has the youngest population in the world, in stark contrast to Italy. It also has one of the highest birthrates in the world. However, it is lower on this list since it is more democratic than Chad. Still, the country’s official language is French and it uses the Latin script like Italy.
- Mali, 7. Laos, 8. South Sudan, 9. Cambodia, 10. Yemen
Full Ranking of Countries and Territories Most Similar to Italy
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