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 countries once part of Yugoslavia and Romania
With the exception of Romania, 4 of the top 5 countries most similar to Bulgaria were once part of Yugoslavia. They all speak Slavic languages and have majority Christian populations. In addition, their farmlands tend to grow corn and wheat.
The four least similar countries are all located in Africa. Although they are relatively in close proximity to Bulgaria, their climate is much hotter and drier. In addition, these countries have a lower standard of living and very different culture, since they have large populations of Muslims.
Top 10 Places Most Similar to Bulgaria
- Serbia is located to the west of Bulgaria. Other than being landlocked, its climate and landscape is quite similar to Bulgaria. It is another predominately Orthodox Christian country, however Bulgarian is not mutual intelligible with Serbo-Croatian, although they are closely related. The countries also have a similar standard of living. One difference is that unorganized prostitution is legal in Bulgaria, unlike Serbia.
- North Macedonia borders both Bulgaria and Serbia. It is yet another country that has mostly Orthodox Christians on this list. Macedonian is considered by some to be just a dialect of Bulgarian and both languages use the Cyrillic alphabet exclusively. However, North Macedonia also has more Albanians and more Muslims than Bulgaria. It also has a lower percentage of farmland and tends to grow more barley and grapes, although their diets are extremely similar.
- Croatia is another Slavic country in the European Union. Both countries have beach resorts that are frequented by many Europeans. However, it is mostly Catholic and does not use Cyrillic. In addition, while soccer is the favorite sport of both countries, basketball and handball are more popular in Croatia.
- Romania is another Orthodox Christian nation, located on the Black Sea. It is just to the north of Bulgaria, across the Danube River. There actually have been a few proposals to unify the two countries before. They are among the poorest countries in the European Union. However, linguistically Bulgaria and Romania are far apart since Romania speaks a Romance language and uses the Latin script. In addition, its people are more religious.
- Slovenia is similar to Croatia. It is another Slavic country in the European Union that borders the Mediterranean Sea. While both countries tend to drink a lot of alcohol, Slovenia consumes a much larger amount of wine. Slovenia’s standard of living is also slightly higher than Bulgaria’s.
- Slovakia, 7. Montenegro, 8. Czechia, 9. Ukraine, 10. Hungary
Top 10 Places Least Similar to Bulgaria
- Sudan is located in the Sahara Desert, close to Somalia and Yemen. Due to civil war, the country recently lost some territory to the newly formed country of South Sudan. Sudan follows conservative Muslim laws that forbid abortion or homosexuality, but allow polygamy.
- Niger is a completely landlocked country. Like Sudan, it is also in the Sahara Desert. While Bulgaria’s population is quite old, Niger has the youngest average population in the world. Its people are mostly Muslim and the country’s official language is French.
- Eritrea borders the Red Sea. Its government has been a dictatorship for almost 20 years. It also has a unique language and writing system are completely different from Bulgaria. Still, Eritrea does have some Christians, although they are more religious. Furthermore they are part of the Oriental Orthodox denomination, not Eastern Orthodox.
- Somalia is another poor Muslim country on this list. Its government is more conservative and more anarchic than Bulgaria. The country is currently undergoing civil war. Its climate is also much hotter and drier than Bulgaria. A low percentage of its land is used for agriculture.
- Papua New Guinea is the least similar country outside of Africa. It is one of the hottest and wettest countries in the world. The country has a low percentage of agricultural land and is mostly just tropical forest. Furthermore, its infrastructure is quite different. It drives on the right and uses Type I electrical outlets. Still, both countries are primarily Christian, although Papuans are generally Catholic or Protestant and more religious.
- Chad 7. Yemen, 8. Solomon Islands, 9. Gambia, 10. South Sudan
Do you agree with the list?
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