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 Tajikistan, Iran, and Pakistan
Afghanistan has a mix of characteristics of three countries that border it: Tajikistan, Pakistan, and Iran. Beyond those countries, it is also similar to other war-torn Muslim countries like Yemen and Sudan, due to their low standard of living.
In contrast to Afghanistan, the top four least similar countries are all located on islands and get much more rainfall. Furthermore, four of the top five least similar countries border the Pacific Ocean and have mostly people with East Asian ancestry. In addition, the infrastructure of these countries is significantly more advanced than Afghanistan.
Top 10 Places Most Similar to Afghanistan
- Tajikistan is another landlocked and extremely mountainous country bordering Afghanistan. Both countries mostly use hydropower to create electricity. Tajik and Dari are mutually intelligible languages. One big difference is that Tajikistan was part of the Soviet Union, so it uses the Cyrillic alphabet. Still, the railroads of both countries use Russian broad gauge tracks.
- Iran is most similar country linguistically to Afghanistan. Persian and Dari (the lingua franca of Afghanistan) are essentially the same language. They both use the same writing system as well. Its landscape is also quite similar since it is also a mountainous desert country in the same region. However, Afghanistan is much poorer than Iran. In addition, Iran’s government is run by religious leaders and is relatively more stable.
- Pakistan is located just to the south of Afghanistan. Both countries are mostly desert and have high mountains. In addition, both are Muslim and their governments practice Sharia law. However, unlike Afghanistan, Pakistan was a full colony of Britain, so it has more of a British influence. It drives on the left side of the road and has a parliamentary system of government. Still, both countries enjoy playing cricket.
- Yemen does not border Afghanistan, unlike the top 3 most similar countries. Like Afghanistan, its infrastructure is not well developed in part due to war. The laws in both these Muslim countries are extremely conservative. In addition, both have unstable governments and lots of corruption. Furthermore, both countries are quite mountainous and have a high average elevation.
- Sudan is quite far away from Afghanistan, since it is in Africa. Although both countries have mostly desert climate, Sudan is less mountainous. Still, Sudan’s government has very conservative Muslim laws. The countries have a similar low standard of living due to recent civil wars. One big difference is that its people have more Sub-Saharan African ancestry.
- Iraq, 7. Mauritania, 8. Egypt, 9. Somalia, 10. Syria
Top 10 Places Least Similar to Afghanistan
- Japan‘s demographics, culture, and infrastructure are extremely different from Afghanistan, despite both countries being located on the Asian continent. It has the oldest average population in the world. Its language and writing system are both completely unrelated to Pashto and Dari. Furthermore, Japan drives on the left and does not use broad gauge railroad tracks. Its electrical system is also different from Afghanistan. It uses Type A, B outlets and a lower voltage.
- Singapore‘s geography is extremely different from Afghanistan, since it is essentially a densely populated city on a tropical island. While there are some Muslims in Singapore, they are less than 20%. Its government is more liberal and has a higher degree of rule of law. Furthermore, Singapore’s population is mostly East Asians, not Caucasians like in Afghanistan.
- Taiwan is yet another country located on an island in the Pacific Ocean. Although both countries are mountainous, Taiwan’s climate is hotter and wetter. Its government is also much less conservative than Afghanistan. Taiwan allows same sex marriage, alcohol, and prostitution.
- Bahamas is the least similar country to Afghanistan in the Western Hemisphere. The ancestry of its people is primarily from Africa. In addition, in contrast to Afghanistan, it is located on a group of small low-lying islands in the Caribbean. The standard of living in the Bahamas is much higher. Furthermore, its people have a lower marriage rate.
- South Korea is yet another East Asian country on this list, however there are a few aspects than make it more like Afghanistan they the others. Although South Korea’s infrastructure is much more developed, both countries drive on the right and use Type C, F electrical outlets. Furthermore, both countries have a presidential system of government.
- Canada, 7. Trinidad & Tobago, 8. New Zealand, 9. Finland, 10. United Kingdom
Full Ranking of Countries and Territories Most Similar to Afghanistan
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