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 Pacific Island nations, especially in Melanesia
Papua New Guinea is quite a unique country, although it does have a few similar similar countries in its vicinity. 4 of the top 5 have English as their official language, although these countries have a wide variety of native languages. In addition, these countries are all mostly Christian.
Four of the five least similar countries are located in Northern Europe. Although they are mostly Christian, they are much less religious. In addition, their infrastructure is more far more developed and they are more densely populated. Their climate and landscape is also far different. They have colder climates and are less densely forested.
Top 10 Places Most Similar to Papua New Guinea
- Solomon Islands is an archipelago to the east of Papua New Guinea. It is another Commonwealth realm nation, which still has the Queen of the United Kingdom as its head of state. Both countries have English as one of their official languages and are predominately Protestant. Their technology is similar as well since both drive on the left and use Type I electrical outlets, like Australia and New Zealand. Still, its standard of living is higher than Papua New Guinea.
- Vanuatu is another Pacific island country, even further to the east than the Solomon Islands. Like Papua New Guinea, it is also inhabited by Melanesian people that are mostly Protestant. However, since it was jointly administered by both Great Britain and France, it has less of a British influence, so it drives on the right and is not a constitutional monarchy.
- Samoa is in Polynesia, unlike Papua New Guinea. However, it still has many similarities due to its shared Anglosphere influence. While Papua New Guinea became a territory of Australia after World War II, Samoa was a territory of New Zealand. One big difference is that Samoa is less heavily forested and more of the land is cultivated.
- Fiji is also a former British colony in Melanesia. However, Fiji is unique since a large proportion of its population came from India, as indentured workers. So the country has a significant percentage of Hindus. It is also far more developed than Papua New Guinea.
- East Timor is another country that shares a island with Indonesia. Like Papua New Guinea, it is a mix of Austronesian and Melanesian cultures. However, it is a former Portuguese colony so English is not the lingua franca there and its population is mostly Catholic. In addition, its rainfall is also significantly less.
- Tanzania 7. Zambia, 8. Rwanda, 9. Liberia, 10. Sierra Leone
Top 10 Places Least Similar to Papua New Guinea
- Israel is a densely populated country in the Mediterranean. In contrast to the dry climate of Israel, Papua New Guinea is one of the wettest countries on Earth. While Papua New Guinea has little infrastructure, Israel is highly developed. It drives on the right and uses different electrical outlets as well. What especially makes Israel different is that is mostly Jewish and uses the Hebrew script.
- Netherlands is one of the world’s most developed countries. It is densely populated and extremely flat, unlike Papua New Guinea’s geography. The countries are very different political as Netherlands is much more liberal. For example, in the Netherlands gay marriage is legal, while in Papua New Guinea same-sex intercourse is criminalized.
- Denmark also borders the North Sea. It is another extremely flat country in Europe with relatively little forested land. The country is mostly agricultural land that is used to grow barley and wheat. Furthermore, the government’s entitlements to its citizens are much more generous. They are also more heavily taxed.
- Belgium is mostly Catholic, unlike other countries on this list. It is located just to the south of the Netherlands. It is also densely populated and highly developed.
- Germany actually colonized the northern part of New Guinea before it lost the territory after World War I. However, there is little legacy from that time. The two countries have highly divergent culture, demographics, and politics. The country’s population is also much older on average.
- Luxembourg, 7. Qatar, 8. South Korea, 9. United Arab Emirates 10. Japan
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