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 Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore
There are relatively few countries with a high degree of similarity to Brunei. By far the most similar country is Malaysia. Due to its abundance of oil and gas, it is the second richest East Asian country, behind Singapore. At the same time it is a Muslim country ruled by an absolute monarch with very conservative laws. As a result, despite significant differences in geography, three of the top ten are wealthy Arab countries.
The four least similar countries have French as one of their official languages. The five least similar countries are also landlocked. With the exception of Switzerland, they all have a lower standard of living than Brunei. Interestingly enough, four of the five least similar countries have significant Muslim populations, even though Brunei does as well.
Top 10 Places Most Similar to Brunei
- Malaysia is the only country that borders Brunei. Like Brunei, it practices Islam and speaks the Malay language. Both countries use Type G electrical outlets and drive on the left, like Great Britain. Their governments are both monarchies, although Malaysia is more democratic. Another difference is that Brunei is wealthier and more developed.
- Indonesia is similar to Brunei, since the countries both practice Islam and speak mutually intelligible languages. However, Indonesia is less prosperous. Furthermore, it was colonized by the Netherlands, not Great Britain, so it has less British characteristics. Unlike Malaysia and Brunei, its government is not a monarchy, but a multi-party democracy that uses the presidential system.
- Singapore is another small but wealthy country near Malaysia, where English is widely spoken. However, despite its proximity there are some significant differences as well. It is much more densely populated and few of its people work in industry, unlike Brunei. Furthermore, it is more religiously diverse. A plurality of its people are Buddhist, but there are also many Christians. Less than 15% of the population is Muslim.
- Philippines is significantly less similar to Brunei than the top 3 countries. Most Filipinos are Catholic, although there is a small percentage of Muslims there as well. Its standard of living is significantly lower than Brunei as well. Since it was an American colony, it drives on the right and uses Type A,B electrical outlets, unlike Brunei. However, their ancestries are nearly identical. In addition, English is widely spoken in both countries and the Malay language is related to Filipino. Furthermore, the countries have a similar tropical climate.
- Thailand is another tropical country that borders the South China Sea. Both countries have mostly East Asian ancestry. However, Thailand has some significant differences from Brunei. It is mostly Buddhist and uses a unrelated language and different writing system. Furthermore, it is not as heavily forested, since much of its land is used to cultivate rice.
- Samoa, 7. Qatar, 8. Vietnam, 9. Oman, 10. United Arab Emirates
Top 10 Places Least Similar to Brunei
- Chad is a relatively poor and landlocked country in Africa. Much of its land is located in the Sahara Desert. While it is about 60% Muslim and both their leaders have been in power for over 25 years, it has few other aspects in common with Brunei. Its infrastructure is especially dissimilar since it drives on the right, does not have railroads, and uses Type C, E, and F electrical outlets.
- Switzerland is landlocked and much more mountainous than Brunei. The country is mostly Christian, in contrast to Brunei. However, both countries a quite wealthy and have a high standard of living. Switzerland’s government is also far more democratic than Brunei’s absolute monarchy.
- Burkina Faso is yet another landlocked country in Africa on this list. It is mostly tropical savanna and has little forested land. Although over 60 percent of its people are Muslim, there is little else this country has in common with Brunei.
- Niger, like Brunei, is mostly Muslim, however other than religion there is little else they have in common. It is a landlocked and sparsely populated African country in the Sahara Desert. It is a multi-party democracy, which uses the semi-presidential system of government, unlike Brunei.
- Ethiopia has a mix of Christians and Muslims. Still, its geography and infrastructure are significantly different from Brunei. Furthermore, the country uses the unique Ge’ez script, unlike Brunei, which uses both the Latin and Arabic scripts.
- Lesotho, 7. Eritrea, 8. Angola, 9. Denmark, 10. Cape Verde
Full Ranking of Countries and Territories Most Similar to Brunei
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