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 Baltic and Slavic countries
Many European countries are somewhat similar to Latvia. Despite having a plurality of Protestants, four of the five most similar countries have a majority Catholic population. These four countries also speak languages from the Balto-Slavic family of languages. The only exception is Estonia, which despite having no linguistic similarity, still has many things in common with Latvia.
The four least similar countries are all clustered near the Red Sea and have hot, dry climates. Four of the five least similar countries are also predominately Muslim. Furthermore, these countries have a much lower standard of living than Lithuania.
Top 10 Places Most Similar to Latvia
- Estonia is another former country Soviet country that borders the Baltic Sea. The largest religious denomination in both countries is Protestant, however neither country is particularly religious. Both these countries also have cold climates and like to play ice hockey. Their governments are both parliamentary democracies with unicameral legislatures. The biggest difference between the countries is language. Estonian is not an Indo-European language. Still, both countries have a large population of Russian speakers in them.
- Lithuania is just south of Latvia. Lithuanian is the most similar language to Latvian. Like Estonia and Latvia, it was once part of the Soviet Union, before joining the European Union. The countries also have extremely similar geography. Both countries grow mostly wheat, but also barley, oats, and rapeseed. In contrast to Latvia, the country is generally more religious and has a much higher percentage of Catholics. Furthermore, Lithuanians are more interested in basketball than Latvians.
- Czechia is much less similar to Latvia than Estonia or Lithuania, but it still has many things in common. They are not very religious, although Czechia has a majority Catholic population. Another similarity is that Czechs also love to play ice hockey. Both countries tend to drink a lot of alcohol as well. Despite not being Germanic countries, they also have been heavily influenced by Germans. Still, Czechia is landlocked and more mountainous than Latvia.
- Poland is similar to Lithuania, except it was not part of the Soviet Union. It is another Eastern European country that is part of the European Union and borders the Baltic Sea. The countries also have a similar geography, although Latvia has a higher percentage of forested land and Poland has more agricultural land. Poland also has a more extensive train network and does not use railroad tracks with a Russian gauge.
- Slovakia is very similar to Poland and Czechia, since it is another country that speaks a Slavic language and is mostly Catholic. Slovakia and Latvia have a similar standard of living. Still, Slovakians tend to eat more meat and less potatoes than Latvians. Slovakia is also further south and its water flows into the Mediterranean Sea, not the Baltic Sea.
- Slovenia, 7. Croatia, 8. Germany, 9. Finland, 10. Hungary
Top 10 Places Least Similar to Latvia
- Sudan is in the Sahara Desert, bordering the Red Sea. Despite being in the same time zone as Latvia, it is far different. It is mostly Muslim and has far more conservative laws. A majority of its people speak Arabic. The country recently lost some territory to the newly formed country of South Sudan, due to civil war.
- Yemen is located on the Arabian Peninsula, across the Red Sea from Sudan. It is another conservative Muslim country that has poorly developed infrastructure, due to civil war. The country is also quite mountainous and its landscape is mostly barren, in contrast to Latvia.
- Eritrea is located between Sudan and Yemen. Its government has been a dictatorship for almost 20 years, unlike the current stable democracy in Lithuania. Its also has a unique language and writing system that is completely different from Latvian. However, over half of the people in the country are Christian, although they are part of the unique Oriental Orthodox denomination.
- Somalia is an anarchic, Muslim country that has poorly developed infrastructure. In addition, its hot desert climate contrasts Latvia’s cool temperate forest landscape. Furthermore, pork is by far the most consumed meat in Latvia, while in Somalia, it is forbidden. Still, one similarity is that both of their languages use the Latin alphabet.
- Niger is a landlocked, predominately Muslim country in the middle of the Sahara Desert. The country has the youngest population in the world, in stark contrast to Latvia, which is much older. It also has one of the highest birthrates in the world, while Lithuania has one of the lowest. Most of Niger’s population is male, while Lithuania has one of the lowest percentages of males in the world.
- South Sudan, 7. Chad, 8. Gambia, 9. Mali, 10. Mauritania
Full Ranking of Countries and Territories Most Similar to Latvia
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