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 other countries in the Balkans
The top 5 countries most similar to North Macedonia were all once occupied by the Ottoman Empire at some point. The top 4 countries are all mostly Orthodox Christians that speak Southern Slavic languages. However all these countries have significant Muslim populations as well.
Kosovo was not included in this list because many major statistics gathering organizations include it with Serbia. There simply is not enough data gathered to make a comparison, although it very well have might made the list.
Few countries are extremely different from North Macedonia, in part because it has a mix of Christians and Muslims. It also is neither an extremely wealthy or poor country. Three of the least similar countries are located around the Red Sea, while the two others are located in Melanesia.
Top 10 Places Most Similar to North Macedonia
- Montenegro is another former Yugoslavian country that is mostly Orthodox Christian, but also has many Muslims. Montenegro also has a parliamentary form of government, with the head of state elected by popular vote. Their laws are also significantly similar. However, Montenegro’s agriculture is quite different, since a large portion of their land is devoted to growing figs and grapes. It is also not landlocked.
- Bulgaria is the only country in the European Union in the top five. It was not part of Yugoslavia, but it is still quite similar to North Macedonia. Bulgarian is the most similar language to Macedonian and some even consider it to be the same language. It addition they both use the Cyrillic writing system. Both countries like wrestling but Bulgaria has been more successful at the Olympics.
- Serbia is located just to the north of North Macedonia. It is another landlocked country that was once part of Yugoslavia. The people in both countries are mostly Orthodox Christians. Their infrastructure is nearly identical. Both countries use a mix of hydropower and coal to create electricity. There is not a big difference in their governments either, although Serbia is not part of NATO.
- Bosnia & Herzegovina is also a mix of both Christians and Muslims. Still, it has more Catholics and less Albanians. Both countries generate power mostly with coal. Due to their mountainous terrain, they both also have many dams, which are used as water reservoirs and also create electricity. Bosnia’s government is also unique since it has an unusual presidency that rotates periodically between a Croat, Serb, and Bosniak.
- Albania is located to the west of North Macedonia. Albanian is actually one of the official languages of North Macedonia, since over 25% of its people are Albanian. Still, the Albanian language is far different from Macedonian. It also has few Christians. Albania’s climate is very similar to Macedonia and both countries are quite mountainous. However, Albania has a lot of coastline.
- Croatia, 7. Slovakia, 8. Romania, 9. Slovenia, 10. Greece
Top 10 Places Least Similar to North Macedonia
- Papua New Guinea is located in the Pacific Ocean. It is one of the hottest and wettest countries in the world, in contrast to North Macedonia. A large portion of the country is forested. However, both countries are quite mountainous. Both countries are also mostly Christian, but Papua New Guinea is mostly Protestant. Its infrastructure is significantly different as well. It drives on the left side of the road and uses Type I electrical outlets.
- Sudan is another country where a large portion of its land flows into the Mediterranean. Both countries also have many Muslims. However Sudan is far different in many respects. The country natively speaks Arabic. Its government’s laws are far more conservative. It does not allow gambling, alcohol, or abortion. Its standard of living is also far lower than North Macedonia.
- Solomon Islands is very similar to Papua New Guinea. The tropical rainforest nation shares few things in common with North Macedonia, but it is lower on this list than Papua New Guinea primarily because it has a higher standard of living and a more democratic government.
- Yemen is far different from North Macedonia, despite both countries being quite mountainous. The country is mostly barren desert and little agricultural land. Yemen is currently undergoing civil war. Furthermore, while North Macedonians tend to be quite tall, Yemenis are some of the shortest on average. Still, both of their people are considered to be Caucasians.
- Somalia is across the Gulf of Aden from Yemen. It is another poor Muslim country on this list currently in a civil war. Its climate is much hotter and drier. A low percentage of its land is used for agriculture. Somalia also has a lot more coastline and is not as mountainous.
- Niger, 7. Eritrea, 8. Cambodia, 9. Chad, 10. Singapore
Do you agree with the list?
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