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 countries
The five most similar countries to Iceland all speak Germanic languages. They all are very democratic and high some of the highest standards of living in the world. In addition, the average temperatures of these countries are some of the lowest in the world.
The least similar countries are spread out across Africa and Asia. These countries all have a much lower standard of living. Furthermore, they are much more religious countries. They are also all located closer to the equator.
Top 10 Places Most Similar to Iceland
- Norway is by far the most similar country to Iceland. Their demographics are nearly identical, in part due to the fact that it was settled by Norwegians. Both countries use a lot of energy and primarily rely upon hydroelectricity to produce it. Their landscapes are also fairly similar. They are both mountainous and have a lot of coastline.
- Sweden is another Scandinavian country like Norway. There are few aspects where Sweden is more similar to Iceland than Norway. Sweden is less mountainous and its climate is more temperate than Iceland and Norway. Ice Hockey is also more popular in Sweden than those countries.
- Denmark actually ruled Iceland until World War II, so they share a lot of the same traits. Both countries have potable water and get most of their water from ground water, not surface water. However, there are some significant geographical differences since Denmark is very flat and has a much more temperate climate. In addition, Iceland does not have a railroad, while Denmark’s network is quite dense.
- Ireland is another island country in the Atlantic Ocean. It might seem to be a surprising inclusion in the top 5, since it is Catholic. However, the countries share deep rooted history since Vikings captured many Irish and brought them to become slaves in Iceland, which created a blend of Irish and Norse cultures there. Their people both primarily grow barley and also eat a lot of fish. Furthermore, both countries are parliamentary democracies with strong social welfare systems.
- Austria is the only landlocked country in the top five, but it does share similar terrain. Due to its location in the Alps, it is quite mountainous and has a high average elevation. Both countries have a lot of sparsely vegetated land. Furthermore, the countries both have a parliamentary system of government without a monarch.
- Finland, 7. Netherlands, 8. Switzerland, 9. United Kingdom, 10. Germany
Top 10 Places Least Similar to Iceland
- Sudan is located in the Sahara Desert. Its climate is much hotter and drier than Iceland. It is Muslim country with a low standard of living. The country has recently experienced internal conflicts. As a result, it lost some territory to the newly formed country of South Sudan.
- Eritrea is located on the Red Sea, next to Sudan. It is the only country on this list with a majority Christian population. However, they are mostly Oriental Orthodox and more religious than Iceland. In addition, it is extremely poor and its government has been a dictatorship for almost 20 years.
- Cambodia is the least similar country in Asia. Its people are mostly Buddhist. Its government is far less democratic and more corrupt. The country’s terrain is much flatter than Iceland. It also has a much higher percentage of forested land.
- Somalia is yet another country near the Red Sea on this list. It is another anarchic, war-torn, Muslim country in stark contrast to Iceland. However, both countries use the Latin alphabet. Furthermore, both countries do not have railroads.
- Bangladesh‘s geography is significantly different from the other countries on this list, since it is quite wet and has a high percentage of farmland. It is yet another Muslim country on this list with underdeveloped infrastructure. It is also one of the most densely populated countries in the world, while Iceland is quite sparse. Furthermore, it is extremely flat, since it is located in a large river delta.
- South Sudan, 7. Ethiopia, 8. Myanmar, 9. Yemen, 10. Gambia
Full Ranking of Countries and Territories Most Similar to Iceland
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