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 former Eastern Bloc members and Moldova
Many Eastern European countries are similar to Romania. The 4 of the top 5 countries were all members of the Eastern Bloc, so they were aligned with the Soviet Union, until the end of the Cold War. Nowadays these countries have all joined the European Union and NATO. Moldova is the only exception.
The four least similar countries all border the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea. Although they are relatively in close proximity to Romania, their climate is much hotter and drier. In addition, these countries have a lower standard of living and very different cultures.
Top 10 Places Most Similar to Romania
- Moldova had been part of Romania until the end of World War II, when it became part of the Soviet Union. Both countries speak Romanian and have similar customs and traditions. However, it is smaller and less developed. It is also landlocked and quite flat compared to Romania. Furthermore, Moldova is not part of the European Union.
- Poland is politically similar to Romania, since they have the same semi-presidential form of government and extremely similar laws. They both have free college and have generous welfare benefits, due to their shared socialist history. While both countries are quite religious, Poland is Catholic. Still, Poland borders the Baltic Sea, not the Black Sea.
- Bulgaria is another Orthodox Christian nation, located on the Black Sea. It is just to the south of Romania, across the Danube River. There actually have been a few proposals to unify the two countries before. They are among the poorest countries in the European Union. However, linguistically Bulgaria and Romania are far apart since Bulgaria speaks a Slavic language and uses the Cyrillic script. In addition, its people are less religious.
- Slovakia is yet another Catholic country on this list, despite Romania being Orthodox Christian. Both countries still have a low level of urbanization compared to the rest of Europe. In addition, the countries have similar laws. The Carpathian Mountains make up a large portion of both countries.
- Hungary borders Romania to the west. There is actually a large percentage of people speaking Hungarian in Transylvania, a remnant of the time when part of Romania was ruled by Austria-Hungary. Still, Hungarian is not even in the same language family as Romanian. Hungary’s agriculture is incredibly similar to Romania. They both produce mostly corn and wheat. Both countries have had success in canoeing and wrestling at the Olympics.
- Serbia, 7. Croatia, 8. Italy, 9. Slovenia, 10. Czechia
Top 10 Places Least Similar to Romania
- Sudan is located in the Sahara Desert. It is similar to both Somalia and Yemen. The country recently lost some territory to the newly formed country of South Sudan, due to civil war. It is mostly Muslim and its people speak Arabic.
- Somalia is an anarchic, Muslim country that has poorly developed infrastructure. In addition, its hot desert climate contrasts Romania’s temperate forest landscape. The country is more sparsely populated and has a lower percentage of agricultural land.
- Yemen is located on the Arabian Peninsula, across the Gulf of Aden from Somalia. It is another conservative Muslim country whose infrastructure is underdeveloped due to civil war. The country has extremely loose gun control laws and only the United States has more guns per capita.
- Eritrea is located on the Red Sea, across from Yemen. The country is primarily desert and also quite mountainous. Its government is a totalitarian one-party dictatorship. Like other countries on this list it has poorly developed infrastructure. Although its population is about 50% Christian, they are part of the unique Oriental Orthodox denomination. Linguistically, Eritrea has no similarity as well since they speak Afroasiatic languages and use the Ge’ez script.
- Papua New Guinea, like Romania, is a Christian country, however they are mostly Protestant. Apart from their religion and writing system, the countries have little similarity. Papua New Guinea is a sparsely populated, tropical island, with a small percentage of agricultural land. Most of its people have Melanesian ancestry.
- Niger, 7. Solomon Islands, 8. Chad, 9. Gambia, 10. Cambodia
Full Ranking of Countries and Territories Most Similar to the Romania
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