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 India
There are few countries with a high degree of similarity to Sri Lanka. It is most similar to India, but it also shares similar geography and culture with Southwest Asian countries, especially Thailand. Other tropical island countries with Indian diaspora have some of the same traits as well.
Although both Bhutan and Sri Lanka are mostly Buddhist, their schools of Buddhism are different. Furthermore, Bhutan’s landscape is vastly different since it is landlocked and extremely mountainous.
Two regions Sri Lanka has little similarity to are Europe and countries in the Sahel region of Africa. Europe is wealthier and has better infrastructure than Sri Lanka, while many African countries have a lower standard of living. Their culture and climates are also quite different.
Top 10 Places Most Similar to Sri Lanka
- India is by far the most similar country to Sri Lanka. A majority of the population descended from Northern India and they have deep demographic and cultural ties. Both countries love to play cricket, but have little success in the Olympics. However, there are some big differences as well since the majority of Sri Lankans practice Buddhism, not Hinduism. In addition, its climate is hotter and wetter than India.
- Bangladesh is another country on the Indian subcontinent. Both countries were once colonized by Great Britain. Like India and Sri Lanka, Bangladesh primarily speaks an Indic language. In addition, they both have tropical climates and primarily grow rice. However, Bangladesh is mostly Muslim. In addition, it has one of the densest populations in the world.
- Mauritius is another tropical island located in the Indian Ocean, although it is closer to Madagascar. Around two-thirds of the country has Indian ancestry. Most were brought to Mauritius by the British as indentured servants. Despite their similar climates, most of their farms produce sugarcane, not rice. In addition, most of its people are Hindu, not Buddhist.
- Fiji is in Pacific Ocean. Like Mauritius, many people with Indian ancestry were brought to the island by the British as indentured servants, but it is less than 40% of the population. Both countries widely use English due to their colonial history. It is mostly Christian, but also has a large Hindu population.
- Thailand began practicing Theravada Buddhism after Sinhalese monks converted them in the 13th Century. Both countries produce a lot of rice and their cuisine is similar. In addition, their writing systems both descended from the Grantha script, although their languages are completely different. Another big difference is that Thai people have East Asian ancestry, unlike Sri Lanka.
- Myanmar, 7. Philippines, 8. Malaysia, 9. Indonesia, 10. Guyana
Top 10 Places Least Similar to Sri Lanka
- Iceland is another country located on an island, but they have little else in common. It is a well developed, sparsely populated country. Not only are their people and culture quite different from Sri Lanka, but also their politics. Iceland is much more liberal than Sri Lanka. Its climate is much colder and little of its land is used for agriculture.
- Finland is a flat and sparsely populated country with many freshwater lakes. Like Iceland and Switzerland, it is much more liberal than Sri Lanka. In addition, while Sri Lanka is one of the most religious countries in the world, more than 50% of people in Finland don’t practice religion.
- Eritrea also borders the Indian Ocean, although it is far different from Sri Lanka. The country’s landscape is mostly barren desert. In addition, the country has a mix of Christians and Muslims. Its language is completely unrelated to native languages spoken in Sri Lanka and it uses the unique Ge’ez script. Furthermore, the country’s government is an authoritarian dictatorship.
- Chad is a landlocked country in the middle of Africa. It is also mostly desert. The country was ruled by an authoritarian dictatorship for many years. Its standard of living is far lower than Sri Lanka. It is predominately Muslim, but also has a large percentage of Christians.
- Switzerland is one of the wealthiest and most developed countries in the world, in contrast to Sri Lanka. Switzerland’s geography is also quite different, being a landlocked country with a temperate climate. Still, both countries do have a large proportion of forested land.
- Niger, 7. Somalia, 8. Sweden, 9. Norway, 10. Mali
Do you agree with the list?
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