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 Mediterranean countries
Many countries are similar to Portugal. The top five countries are all in the European Union and border the Mediterranean Sea, even though Portugal does not. In addition, four of the top five are mostly Catholic.
Although Brazil speaks Portuguese, there are significant differences between them. Brazil has large swathes of sparsely populated rainforests, in contrast to the chaparral landscape of Portugal. Furthermore, Brazil has a high amount of racial diversity, unlike Portugal. It is also less developed and poorer.
The least similar countries all have dry climates and little agricultural or forested land. In addition, the five least similar countries have significant Muslim populations. Their governments are less democratic and their standard of living is lower as well.
Top 10 Places Most Similar to Portugal
- Spain is Portugal’s only neighbor on the Iberian Peninsula. They share similar demographics and culture. Both countries have a similar climate. Furthermore, they both use a unique railroad gauge, not used anywhere else in Europe. One difference is that Portugal has a semi-presidential system of government, while Spain is a constitutional monarchy, however their laws are extremely similar.
- Italy is located across the Balearic Sea from Spain. Like Portugal, it grows and consumes a lot of wine. It also grows many olives. Although both countries have beautiful beaches, Italy has a higher coastline to area ratio.
- France and Portugal both have a semi-presidential system of government, since they both abolished their monarchies. Like Portugal and Italy, both countries grow and drink a lot of wine. However, Portugal eats less cheese. Since France is more northern, its climate is not as hot.
- Greece is the only country in the top 5 that is not Catholic. In addition, their language and writing system is quite different. However, there are some huge similarities as well. Their economic situations are worse than other EU members and they have high unemployment numbers. Portugal and Greece’s climates are similar and their predominant crop is olives. They both have similar laws and a unicameral legislature dominated by two parties.
- Croatia is yet another Catholic country that borders the Mediterranean on this list. One big difference is that it speaks a Slavic language. While Croatia is in the European Union, it has still not adopted the Euro. Both countries have extremely low birth rates and an aging population. Still, Croatians tend to be much taller.
- Poland, 7. Belgium, 8. Slovenia, 9. Luxembourg , 10. Romania
Top 10 Places Least Similar to Portugal
- Sudan is located in the Sahara Desert and borders the Red Sea. Due to recent civil war, the country’s infrastructure and standard of living is quite low. It recently lost some territory to the newly formed country of South Sudan. Its authoritarian government and desert climate make it quite different from Portugal.
- Somalia is another African country on this list. It is another anarchic, Muslim country that has poorly developed infrastructure due to civil war. Its conservative policies contrast Portugal’s more liberal society.
- Eritrea is located between Sudan and Somalia. Although it is the only country on this list with a majority Christian population, it is Oriental Orthodox. Eritrea’s government has been a dictatorship for almost 20 years. The country also uses the unique Ge’ez script for writing.
- Yemen is located on the Arabian Peninsula, across the Gulf of Aden from Somalia. It is another conservative Muslim country on this list. Unlike other Arab countries on on the Arabian Peninsula, it has poorly developed infrastructure and a low standard of living.
- Chad is a landlocked country in the Sahara Desert, located next to Sudan. Chad has a mix of European and Arab influence. Its official languages are French and Arabic. The country was run by an authoritarian dictator for many years.
- Papua New Guinea, 7. Niger, 8. Mauritania, 9. South Sudan, 10. Afghanistan
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