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 Mostly White, English-Speaking Countries
The 5 most similar countries to New Zealand have all been part of the United Kingdom at one time or another so they share similar traits. These countries are composed of a majority White and English-speaking population. They are also predominately Christian nations that have well developed infrastructure.
The least similar countries are all located in desert climates in Africa and the Middle East. Four of the five least similar countries are mostly Muslim and have more conservative governments. Their standard of living is also much lower.
Top 10 Places Most Similar to New Zealand
- Australia is by far the most similar country to New Zealand. Both are former British colonies with similar politics and culture. Australia even asked New Zealand to be one of its states when it was formed. Due to the Trans-Tasman agreement citizens of both countries can live and work in either country. However, its climate is much drier and has hotter temperatures. In addition, New Zealand is much more mountainous.
- United Kingdom colonized New Zealand, so it is no wonder that they are high on this list as well. In fact of all the former British colonies, New Zealand is the most similar to it. Although it is on the opposite side of the world, it has significant geographical similarities to Britain since it is also an island with a temperate climate.
- Ireland also has similar culture and demographics to New Zealand in part because of its high degree of similarity to Britain. Both countries have a lot of pastures for livestock. However, unlike other English speaking countries on this list, Ireland is mostly Catholic. Furthermore, the Irish are more outgoing than Kiwis, who are generally more reserved according to the Lewis Model.
- Canada is another former British colony similar to New Zealand. They also share similar politics and culture. Both countries are sparsely populated but Canada is much colder. In addition, both are highly urbanized. However, Canada has adopted some American traits, like driving on the right side and playing baseball, instead of driving on the left and playing cricket.
- United States like Canada, is on the opposite side of the planet, so its geography is significantly different. The government of the United States is also quite different, since it has a bicameral legislature and does not have a constitutional monarch. Furthermore, the US has far less restrictive gun control laws, but prohibits prostitution unlike New Zealand. Still, both countries speak English natively and have about the same standard of living.
- Norway, 7. Sweden, 8. Iceland, 9. Germany, 10. Denmark
Top 10 Places Least Similar to New Zealand
- Mauritania borders the Atlantic Ocean and is located in the Sahara Desert, so its landscape is mostly barren. The country is Muslim so it has more conservative laws. Most people there speak Arabic, although since it was once a French colony, French is also used.
- Niger is is a relatively flat, landlocked African country. Its demographics are quite different from New Zealand, since it is the youngest country in the world and has an extremely high birth rate. One similarity is that both countries use the Latin alphabet.
- Eritrea borders the Red Sea. It is a totalitarian one-party dictatorship and has poorly developed infrastructure, in contrast to New Zealand. However, it is the only country in the top 5 that has a majority Christian population. Still, New Zealanders are far less religious.
- Yemen is another country that borders the Red Sea on this list. It is an anarchic Muslim country that is currently in civil war. Unlike other countries in the Arabian Peninsula, its infrastructure is not well developed. It also has much less restrictive gun control laws.
- Chad is yet another country on this list that is mostly Muslim and is located in the Sahara Desert. The country’s infrastructure is also far different from New Zealand, since it drives on the right and uses Type C, F electrical outlets. It also does not have a railroad and few people have cars there. The country was ruled by a dictator for decades.
- Somalia, 7. Sudan, 8. Mali, 9. Ethiopia, 10. Cambodia
Full Ranking of Countries and Territories Most Similar to New Zealand
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