Have you ever wondereHave 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 China and Southeast Asia
Unlike other Southeast Asian countries, Vietnam was more influenced by China than India. It still shares many traits of other Southeast Asian countries, like their climate, agriculture, and economic situation. 4 of the top 5 are part of the ASEAN Free Trade Area.
Four of the five least similar countries speak Germanic languages. They all have different climates as well. Australia and Niger are much drier, while Canada, Iceland, and Ireland are much colder. They all have governments that are more democratic than Vietnam.
Top 10 Places Most Similar to Vietnam
- Laos is to the west of Vietnam. It is another country that has a government controlled by the Communist Party. Both countries were part of French Indochina. While both countries have a similar climate, Laos is landlocked, in contrast to Vietnam, where most of the country is close to the coast. Laos also has a lower standard of living.
- Thailand is less Western-influenced than Vietnam since it was never colonized. Their diets remain extremely similar as both countries almost exclusively eat rice as their staple food, with a mix of chicken, pork, and fish. The infrastructure in Vietnam and Thailand also has a similar level of development. Their trains both use 1-meter gauge railroad tracks, however Thailand drives on the left.
- Cambodia, like Laos and Vietnam, was part of French Indochina. The countries have about the same percentage of forested land and agricultural land. Vietnamese and Khmer are distantly related, however their writing systems are completely different, since Vietnamese uses the Latin script. Cambodia is also poorer and less developed than Vietnam.
- China ruled Vietnam several times in history, most recently in 15th Century. So its culture is more similar to China than other Southeast Asian countries. The governments of both countries are totally controlled by the Communist Party. As a result, China and Vietnam have similar religious traditions as well. They both have high rates of atheism but also practice Mahayana Buddhism. One big difference is their geography. Since it is further to the north, China is colder. In addition, a lot of its land is desert.
- Philippines is another country that borders the South China Sea. It has a similar climate and level of economic development. Unlike most other East Asian countries, in both Philippines and Vietnam, beer is by far the most common alcoholic drink. Although Vietnam is mostly Buddhist, there is also a small minority of Catholics there. Both countries use the Latin alphabet, although their languages are unrelated.
- Indonesia, 7. Malaysia, 8. Myanmar, 9. Taiwan, 10. North Korea
Top 10 Places Least Similar to Vietnam
- Niger is a landlocked country in the middle of the Sahara Desert, so its geography is far different from Vietnam. Although both countries were once colonized by France, they have little in common. The country is mostly Muslim and has the youngest average population in the world. It also has a much lower standard of living. One big similarity is that both countries use the Latin alphabet.
- Canada has few traits in common with Vietnam. Its climate is much colder and its standard of living is higher. The country is less densely populated and more urbanized. However, there is a significant population of people with Asian ancestry living in Canada.
- Australia, unlike other countries on this list, is relatively close in distance to Vietnam. They both also have some beautiful beaches, however the similarities largely end there. While Vietnam is mostly rainforest, Australia is mostly desert and has completely different flora and fauna. The country’s technology is also quite different, since they drive on the left and use Type I electrical outlets.
- Iceland is one of the coldest countries in the world. Much of Iceland’s landscape is barren and little is used for agriculture. In addition, while Vietnam has a significant military and conscription, Iceland does not even have a military. While they have little in common culturally, both countries do have a significant amount of irreligious people.
- Ireland is another country in the North Atlantic Ocean, like Iceland. The country’s landscape has many pastures for livestock. Most of the agricultural land is devoted to growing barley. Ireland’s government is also far different from Vietnam. According to the Lewis Model, the Irish are also more outgoing than the Vietnamese.
- United States, 7. Saudi Arabia, 8. Afghanistan, 9. Yemen, 10. Chad
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