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 other tropical Latin American countries, especially Honduras, El Salvador, and Nicaragua
There are many countries with a high degree of similarity with Guatemala. Latin American countries are especially similar to Guatemala since they are generally Catholic, speak Romance languages, and have similar governments. People in Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, and Nicaragua can move freely between their countries since there are no checkpoints at their shared borders.
Four of the five least similar countries are located on the Arabian Peninsula. They are mostly Muslim and their standard of living is generally higher than Guatemala’s. While Guatemala has a lot of agricultural land and forested land, the landscapes of the countries on the Arabian Peninsula are mostly barren. Their governments are monarchies as well, not democracies.
Top 10 Places Most Similar to Guatemala
- Honduras and Guatemala are extremely similar. Although both are mostly Catholic, they also have around 40% Protestants (among the highest in Latin America). The two countries have a similar diet, since they eat a lot of corn and their preferred meat is chicken. Both are extremely mountainous and have a similar climate. However, Guatemala has a greater Mayan influence and also has more Native Americans.
- El Salvador borders both Honduras and Guatemala. El Salvador is especially similar politically to Honduras. They both recognize Catholicism in their constitution, but are secular. In addition, both are among the most conservative Latin American countries since they do not allow gay marriage or abortion. El Salvador’s agriculture is similar to Guatemala as well since they grow mostly corn, but also coffee, sugar, and beans. Both their railroads uniquely use 3-foot gauge tracks.
- Nicaragua is also quite similar to Guatemala, even though they do not border each other. Although their geographies are still quite similar, Nicaragua has far more freshwater, since Lake Nicaragua is the second largest lake in Latin America, after Lake Titicaca. It is also poorer and has less developed infrastructure than Guatemala.
- Costa Rica is yet another Central American country in the top 5. However, Costa Rica is more developed and wealthier. Its population is older and has far fewer farmers. Furthermore, there is a higher degree of rule of law in Costa Rica than Guatemala.
- Ecuador is the only non-Central American country in the top 5. Both countries are extremely mountainous. Furthermore, both have a significant Native American population. However, unlike Guatemala, there is little corn in their diet. In addition, Ecuador has far fewer Protestants.
- Colombia, 7. Panama, 8. Dominican Republic, 9. Mexico, 10. Peru
Top 10 Places Least Similar to Guatemala
- Bahrain is a small densely populated island in the Persian Gulf. Bahrain is highly developed and urbanized, in contrast to Guatemala. It also has a higher standard of living than Guatemala. In addition, its climate is much drier and its terrain is quite flat.
- Qatar is a small Arabian country close to Bahrain. It is a peninsula in the Persian Gulf, connected to Saudi Arabia. It has one of the highest GDPs per capita in the world in contrast to Guatemala. Most of its land is barren and has little vegetation.
- Japan has little demographic, technological, or cultural similarity to Guatemala. Their transportation infrastructure is especially different, since Japan drives on the left and has far more vehicles. In addition, Guatemala does not have passenger rail service and uses a different rail road gauge than Japan. The biggest similarity is that both countries are located on Ring of Fire, so they have many active volcanos and earthquakes. They also both use Type A, B electrical outlets.
- United Arab Emirates another Muslim country on the Arabian peninsula, like Bahrain and Qatar. It is home to the tallest building in the world, Burj Dubai, and has many skyscrapers. In contrast, Guatemala does not have any skyscrapers.
- Saudi Arabia‘s government is an absolute monarchy and the country does not even have a congress. Its laws are also far more conservative than Guatemala’s. Same sex relationships and alcohol are not allowed there. Its climate is also much drier and it has a lower population density.
- Kuwait, 7. Australia, 8. Israel 9. South Korea, 10. United Kingdom
Full Ranking of Countries and Territories Most Similar to Guatemala
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