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 former republics of the USSR
It’s no surprise that the most similar countries to Kazakhstan were all once part of the USSR. The top 4 are all have a majority Muslim population and also speak Turkic languages. Kazakhstan is also the most similar country to Russia of all the Central Asian countries. It is really a hybrid state comprised of both Russian and Turkic influences.
Appropriately, four of the five least similar countries to Kazakhstan are located on tropical islands. They are all predominately Christian countries. In addition, four of the five least similar countries have English as one of their official languages and drive on the left side of the road.
Top 10 Places Most Similar to Kazakhstan
- Kyrgyzstan‘s language has a high degree of mutual intelligibility with Kazakh. In addition, both countries cultures have been significantly influenced by Russia. They are the only Central Asian countries that still have Russian as one of their official languages. However, Kyrgyzstan differs from Kazakhstan in two significant ways. It is a democracy, not an authoritarian regime. Furthermore, it is much more mountainous.
- Uzbekistan is another Turkic Central Asian country that had been part of the Soviet Union. Both countries have serious political similarities as well since they are both one-party states with presidents who regularly receive over 90% of the vote in elections. They both excel in boxing and wrestling at the Olympics. However, Uzbekistan has less Russians.
- Turkmenistan is highly similar to both Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, especially politically, demographically, and culturally. Turkmenistan is generally more isolated from the rest of the world however as the government banned all satellite dishes in the country. It is one of the few countries in the world that still has an analog TV broadcasting standard. The country relies on natural gas to create electricity, while Kazakhstan mostly uses coal. It also is on a different electrical grid, since Turkmenistan disconnected from the old Soviet Union grid.
- Azerbaijan is another country on this list that borders the Caspian Sea. Although Azerbaijan is not technically a Central Asian country, it is also Muslim and speaks a Turkic language like Kazakhstan. Both countries are considered to be authoritarian regimes as well. However, Azerbaijan is mostly Shi’ites. Another difference is that Azeris have less Asian ancestry.
- Russia had ruled Kazakhstan for over 100 years. Both countries still maintain significant economic and military ties. The biggest difference between Russia and Kazakhstan is the ethnicity of its people. Kazakhs are Turkic people who practice Islam. However, there still are a large amount of Russians living in Kazakhstan, although their numbers have been steadily dwindling. Russia still uses Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to launch all its spacecraft.
- Tajikistan, 7. Belarus, 8. Mongolia, 9. Ukraine, 10. Armenia
Top 10 Places Least Similar to Kazakhstan
- Papua New Guinea is one of the hottest and wettest countries in the world. Its people have little in common demographically or culturally with Kazakhstan. It is also one of the least developed countries in the world. It is mostly Christian and its people have Melanesian ancestry.
- Solomon Islands is another country similar to Papua New Guinea in the Pacific Ocean. The islands need to import all their energy in the form of oil, while Kazakhstan relies on domestically produced coal. In addition, it is a parliamentary democracy that has many different parties, in stark contrast to Kazakhstan.
- Malawi is the only non-island country on this list. In fact, it is landlocked just like Kazakhstan. However, the similarities end there. Malawi is a multi-party democracy with a majority Christian population. In addition, it is one of the poorest countries in the world.
- Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Its geography and level of development are not at all similar to Kazakhstan. However, unlike other countries on this list, it is not British influenced, since it was originally a French colony. While abortion is legal in Kazakhstan, it is banned in Haiti.
- Jamaica is another country in the Caribbean Sea where most people have African ancestry. Jamaica also has a much higher murder rate and a much lower suicide rate than Kazakhstan. Jamaica’s democratic government also has less lucrative entitlements for its citizens, since it does not have free college, single payer healthcare, or generous welfare benefits.
- Liberia, 7. Vanuatu, 8. Sierra Leone, 9. Bahamas, 10. South Sudan
Full Ranking of Countries and Territories Most Similar to Kazakhstan
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