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 Turkey and Central Asia
Azerbaijan is like the transition country between Turkey and Central Asia. Its culture and ancestry are more similar to Turkey, but like the Muslim countries in Central Asia, it was part of the Soviet Union. The top 5 countries all have secular governments with authoritarian leaders. Four of the top five speak Turkic languages. One way Azerbaijan is different from the top 5 countries is that a majority of its population is Shi’ite, like its neighbor to the south, Iran.
The four least similar countries are located on islands, in contrast to landlocked Azerbaijan. In addition these countries drive on the left side of the road. Four of the five least similar countries are mostly Christian and were once British colonies, so they still have English as one of their official languages.
Top 10 Places Most Similar to Azerbaijan
- Turkey is the only country in the top 5 that was not part of the USSR, so it does not use the same railroad gauge or electrical grid. Still, their culture and ancestry are alike. The most similar language to Azeri is Turkish and they both use the Latin alphabet. In addition, both countries have won many medals in wrestling at the Olympics. Azerbaijan is also the only other Turkic-speaking country with little East Asian ancestry. Furthermore, the major cities of both countries have many skyscrapers. One big difference is that Turkey has a lot of coastline, while Azerbaijan is landlocked.
- Uzbekistan may be the most similar country in Central Asia. Its technology is extremely similar. Due to the abundant reserves of natural gas in the region, both countries rely on it to create most of their electricity. In addition, they both use a lot of water for irrigation. Both countries predominately grow wheat, although Uzbekistan grows more cotton than barley. Another difference is that it does not border the Caspian Sea.
- Kazakhstan is another yet authoritarian, Turkic-speaking country in Central Asia on this list. Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan are the least religious Muslim countries that were once part of the USSR. Both countries have many non-believers. In addition, the countries have been relatively successful at the Olympics and both have won medals in wrestling and boxing. Still, Kazakhstan has more Russian-speaking and Orthodox Christians. In addition, it is far less densely populated and not as mountainous.
- Turkmenistan is across the Caspian Sea from Azerbaijan and to the south of Uzbekistan. The countries have a similar GDP per capita. Both countries have presidents that are dictators, although Turkmenistan’s is more extreme. The country has blocked YouTube and other websites. In addition, Turkmenistan has not yet completed the transition to digital television, unlike most other countries. Furthermore, Turkmenistan has never won an Olympic medal.
- Tajikistan is the only country in the top 5 that does not speak a Turkic-language. In addition, their language uses the Cyrillic alphabet. Despite these differences, there are also some similarities. Its people have less East Asian ancestry than other Central Asian countries. Azerbaijan and Tajikistan’s secular and religious public holidays are extremely similar. Both countries criminalize polygamy and prostitution, while allowing abortion. In addition, Tajikistan and Azerbaijan are very mountainous,
- Kyrgyzstan, 7. Iran, 8. Armenia, 9. Georgia, 10. Belarus
Top 10 Places Least Similar to Azerbaijan
- Solomon Islands is an archipelago in the Pacific Ocean. In addition, it is a parliamentary democracy, in stark contrast to Azerbaijan. Its laws are also significantly different, despite both countries having secular governments, since it criminalizes homosexuality and does not allow abortion.
- Papua New Guinea is another country very similar to Solomon Islands in the Pacific Ocean. It has a high percentage of forested land and one of the highest rainfall amounts in the world. It is also less developed and its standard of living is lower than Azerbaijan. Its people have little in common demographically or culturally with Uzbekistan as well, since they are Christians with Melanesian ancestry. However, both countries are quite mountainous.
- Japan is technically on the same continent as Azerbaijan, but it is extremely different. Its culture is especially different. One reason is that Japanese do not follow an Abrahamic religion. Furthermore, its language and writing system are completely different. Their diet is also quite different since they eat a lot of pork, fish, and rice in contrast to Azeris. In addition, Japan is far more developed.
- Bahamas is the least similar North American country. Like the Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, it is another island country colonized by Great Britain. In contrast to Azerbaijan, its land is extremely flat. Furthermore, its people are of mostly African ancestry. In addition, it’s technology is completely different, since it drives on the left and uses Type A, B electrical outlets with a lower voltage than in Azerbaijan. In addition, its electricity is primarily generated by fuel oil.
- South Sudan is a newly formed African country. It is mostly Christian and its official language is English, like other countries on this list. The standard of living is also much lower in South Sudan than Azerbaijan. However, it is another landlocked country with relatively little rainfall.
- Singapore, 7. Jamaica, 8. Haiti, 9. Guyana, 10. Vanuatu
Full Ranking of Countries and Territories Most Similar to Azerbaijan
Do you agree with the list?
Please leave any thoughts in the comments section.