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 Germanic countries
The most similar countries to Norway are all Germanic countries that border the Atlantic Ocean. These countries are have many Protestants, but they are also some of the least religious countries in the world. In addition, their governments tend to be very democratic and liberal. They are also some of the most prosperous and well developed countries.
The four least similar countries all border the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea. Although they are relatively in close proximity to Norway and are also sparsely populated, their climate is much hotter and drier. In addition, these countries have a far lower standard of living and their culture is much more conservative. Four of the five least similar countries are mostly Muslim.
Top 10 Places Most Similar to Norway
- Sweden and Norway were a united country for nearly 100 years, until Norway declared independence in 1905. The countries have similar geography, although Sweden is less mountainous. Both countries are constitutional monarchies with similar egalitarian laws and generous welfare benefits. Sweden and Norway are the two most successful countries at the Olympics in cross-country skiing. While both countries enjoy soccer and handball, Sweden is more interested than Norway in ice hockey.
- Denmark and Norway were also a united country until 1814, but they were united much longer than Norway and Sweden. Danish was the official language in Norway for many years and therefore it is extremely similar to Bokmål Norwegian. Both languages use the same alphabet. However, Denmark’s geography is quite different from Norway, since it is extremely flat, has a far greater percentage of agricultural land, and a more temperate climate. Still, both countries have a lot of coastline.
- Iceland and Norway’s demographics are nearly identical, in part due to the fact that Iceland was settled by Norwegians. Both countries use a lot of energy and primarily rely upon hydroelectricity to produce it. They are also mountainous and have a lot of coastline. Their legislatures are unicameral and their governments have similar laws, although Iceland does not have a monarch.
- Germany another is country that borders the North Sea, but it has far less coastline and its climate is more temperate. A lot of Norway’s military equipment is made in Germany. One difference is that Germany has more Catholics, although neither country is especially religious. Also, Germany does not have nearly as many dams and does not rely on hydropower to create electricity.
- Netherlands is much more densely populated than other countries on this list. It is also on of the flattest countries in the world, in contrast to Norway. Still, the two countries share many similar traits. Both countries are constitutional monarchies with generous welfare systems. They both also have a high standard of living. Another similarity is that the Netherlands and Norway are the two most successful countries at the Olympics in speed skating.
- Switzerland, 7. Austria, 8. United Kingdom, 9. Finland, 10. Luxembourg
Top 10 Places Least Similar to Norway
- Sudan is located in the Sahara Desert, so its climate is much hotter and drier than Norway. It is a poor Muslim country, like others on this list, that has recently experienced internal conflicts. As a result, it lost some territory to the newly formed country of South Sudan.
- Somalia is another country in Africa that has little similarity to Norway. It is another anarchic, war-torn, Muslim country. Furthermore, Somalia has little infrastructure, while Norway has many cars and trains per person. However, both countries do use the Latin alphabet and have a lot of coastline.
- Eritrea is located on the Red Sea, next to Sudan. It is the only country on this list with a majority Christian population. However, they are mostly Oriental Orthodox and have a large Muslim population as well. In addition, it is extremely poor and its government has been a dictatorship for almost 20 years.
- Yemen is a war-torn and extremely conservative Muslim country that unlike other countries on the Arabian Peninsula, is not well developed due to civil war. The countries have no linguistic similarity as well, since Arabic is an Afroasiatic language that does not use the Latin script. Still, both countries are quite mountainous.
- Chad is a landlocked country in the Sahara Desert. It is yet another African country on this list. The country has both Arabic and French as official languages and has a mix of Muslims and Christians living there. Although both countries drive on the right and use Type C electrical outlets, Chad’s infrastructure is far less developed than Norway.
- Niger, 7. Gambia, 8. South Sudan 9. Mali, 10. Mauritania
Full Ranking of Countries and Territories Most Similar to Norway
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