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 Germanic-speaking countries with temperate climates
The five most similar countries to Ireland are other countries that speak Germanic languages. They also have a similar temperate climate despite their latitude, since it is moderated by the ocean water. With the exception of Luxembourg, they all border the North Sea. These countries are all quite wealthy and are among the most affluent in Europe.
With the exception of Laos, the least similar countries to Ireland are all located in the same general area. Three of the five least similar border the Red Sea. These countries all have large Muslim populations and do not use the Latin alphabet for their native languages. Four of the five least similar natively speak Semitic languages.
Top 10 Places Most Similar to Ireland
- United Kingdom ruled Ireland for over 100 years. It wasn’t until 1922 that it got its independence. The countries have similar culture, technology, and geography. The biggest difference between Ireland and the United Kingdom is religion. The Irish are mostly Catholic and more religious.
- Netherlands might seem like a surprising choice to be on this list, since Ireland used to be much poorer and much more religious than the Netherlands. However in the last 20 years, the situation has changed dramatically. Ireland is now one of the richest countries in the world and has become far less conservative. It even had an openly gay head of government, Leo Varadkar. In addition, Ireland and the Netherlands are both low-lying and have a lot of wetlands. However, the Netherlands is much more densely populated. Both countries primarily rely on natural gas for power, but are rapidly installing more wind turbines.
- Belgium is the closest mostly Catholic country, although it is less religious than Ireland. Like the Netherlands and Ireland, it is part of the EU. However, their agriculture is different since most of Ireland’s fields are devoted to producing barley. In addition, Belgium does not have much coastline.
- Luxembourg is another mostly Catholic country between Belgium, France, and Germany. Luxembourg is the richest country in the European Union, while Ireland is the second richest. One big difference is that Luxembourg is landlocked, but the countries do have a similar climate.
- Denmark is another European country with a similar climate and physical geography. Both countries are quite flat and have a low percentage of forested land. Their agricultural areas both grow mostly barley. Furthermore, the people of these countries are also among the most outgoing in Northern Europe, according to the Lewis Model. However, Denmark is mostly Protestant and has few Catholics.
- Germany, 7. New Zealand, 8. France, 9. Australia, 10. Austria
Top 10 Places Least Similar to Ireland
- Eritrea is an extremely dry country located between Sudan and the Red Sea. Although it has a majority Christian population, it is Oriental Orthodox. Its government has been a dictatorship for almost 20 years and is much less liberal than Ireland. The country’s languages are completely unrelated to English and they use the unique Ge’ez script.
- Laos is a landlocked and quite mountainous country in Southeast Asia. It is also mostly forest, in contrast to Ireland. The country is mostly Buddhist. Its government is far less democratic and controlled by the Communist Party. It also has a much lower standard of living than Ireland.
- Sudan is an impoverished Muslim country in the Sahara Desert. It is a war torn nation that recently lost some territory to the newly formed country of South Sudan. One big similarity with Ireland is that it English is actually one of its official languages, however few people in the country speak it.
- Chad is another landlocked Muslim country in the Sahara Desert. It not only has little development of its infrastructure, but also it uses different technology than Ireland, since it uses Type C electrical outlets, drives on the right, and uses oil to create electricity. Although Chad has some European influence, its colonizers were French.
- Yemen is a conservative Muslim country that, unlike other countries on the Arabian Peninsula, has little development of infrastructure. It is located on the Red Sea across from Eritrea. However, Yemen uses Type G electrical outlets, since part of the country was once a protectorate of Britain. Its people are also considered to be Caucasian, however their ancestry is still significantly different from the Irish.
- Niger, 7. Cambodia, 8. Mauritania, 9. Somalia, 10. Ethiopia
Do you agree with the list?
Please leave any thoughts in the comments section.