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 former countries in Yugoslavia and Slovakia
Croatia is similar to many countries in Europe. The top five countries all speak Slavic languages. Four of the top five countries most similar to Croatia were once part of Yugoslavia. In addition these countries are all democracies that have a parliamentary system of government.
The four least similar countries are all located near the Red Sea. Despite their proximity, they have little similarity in their demographics, culture, and infrastructure. All these countries have significant Muslim populations. They also have a much lower standard of living.
Top 10 Places Most Similar to Croatia
- Montenegro used to be part of Serbia until 2006. Other than Croatia, it is the only other former country of Yugoslavia to have a significant amount of coastline. Both countries speak Serbo-Croatian. Although Montenegro is not part of the European Union, it is also a member of NATO. Both countries love soccer, basketball, and handball. Although both countries have roughly the same percentage of agricultural area, Montenegro’s crops are significantly different, since it produces many fruits.
- Slovenia is the only other former country of Yugoslavia that is predominately Catholic. Both countries are also in the European Union. Both countries exclusively use the Latin script, however the Slovenian language is slightly different from Serbo-Croatian. The two have also won skiing and rowing medals at the Olympics. Their agriculture is similar as well, since they both predominately produce corn and wheat. However, Slovenia has very little coastline.
- Serbia is another country that speaks Serbo-Croatian. The countries have similar demographics. Both have more women than men and the average age of the countries is about the same. They are also two of the tallest countries. There are two big differences. Serbians are Orthodox Christians, not Catholic. Another difference is Serbia is landlocked and has more farmland, while Croatia is famous for its beautiful beaches.
- Bosnia & Herzegovina has about 15% Croatian people. Still, it is significantly different from Croatia, since around half of its population is Muslim. Furthermore, to accommodate different ethnic groups, it has a unique government. Other than the fact that Bosnia is nearly landlocked, the countries also have extremely similar geography.
- Slovakia and Croatia were both once part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Both countries are mostly Catholic and speak Slavic languages. In addition, both Croatia and Slovakia are in the European Union. One difference is that Slovakians prefer ice hockey to basketball. Both countries are fairly mountainous, but Slovakia is landlocked. Another difference is that Slovakia relies mostly on nuclear power for electricity, in contrast Croatia has no nuclear power plants.
- Poland, 7. Bulgaria, 8. Czechia, 9. Italy, 10. Hungary
Top 10 Places Least Similar to Croatia
- Eritrea, like Yemen and Somalia, is also located near 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 Croatian. Still, Eritrea does have some Christians, although they are of the Oriental Orthodox denomination. Both countries also have a lot of their land close to the coast.
- Somalia is another poor Muslim country currently in a civil war, like Yemen. Its climate is much hotter and drier. A low percentage of its land is used for agriculture. While both countries have a lot of coastline, Somalia is much less mountainous.
- Sudan is located in the Sahara Desert and borders Eritrea. Due to civil war, the country recently lost some territory to the newly formed country of South Sudan. Sudan’s laws are much more conservative than Croatia. Its government does not allow abortion or homosexuality.
- Yemen is far different from Croatia, despite both countries being mountainous and having a lot of coastline. Yemen has a desert climate and a low percentage of forested land. It also has extremely different politics. Yemen is currently at civil war. It also has much more conservative laws than Croatia. Furthermore, while Croatians are some of the tallest people on average, Yemenis are some of the shortest.
- Niger is a landlocked country in the middle of the Sahara Desert. It was once a French colony before becoming independent. The country has the youngest average population in the world, in contrast to Croatia’s aging population. Still, both countries use the Latin alphabet.
- Chad, 7. Laos, 8. South Sudan, 9. Mauritania, 10. Mali
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