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 former USSR countries in Eastern Europe
The top four countries most similar to Belarus were all part of the USSR and border it. As a result, all these countries have similar traits, such as using the same railroad gauge, having a high percentage of atheists, and more females than males. They also have similar secular public holidays.
The two least similar countries to Belarus are located in Melanesia, but it also has little similarity to several countries with a Muslim majority population. All the countries least similar to Belarus have a low percentage of farmland and either have more forest or more barren land. They also have higher birth rates and a lower average age.
Top 10 Places Most Similar to Belarus
- Ukraine is another Slavic country to the south of Belarus. They both are Orthodox Christians, but not especially religious. However, while Belarus has maintained close ties to Russia, Ukraine has a more strained relationship. Both countries still have many Russian speakers. In addition, their geography is fairly similar. Both are quite flat, although Ukraine’s climate is not as cold. Although their technology is very similar, Ukraine relies on coal and nuclear power to create electricity, not natural gas.
- Russia retains closer ties to Belarus than any other former USSR country. Belarus also has the highest percentage of Russian speakers outside of Russia. Citizens of both countries can move freely between them and also work. There are even two Russian army bases located in Belarus. The biggest difference is geography. Belarus is much more densely populated and landlocked in contrast to Russia.
- Lithuania ruled the area that is now Belarus for a long period in history, until it was partitioned by the Russian Empire. Their geography and climate are extremely similar. The countries have nearly the same percentages of agricultural and forest land. However, the countries have some significant differences. Lithuanians are mostly Catholic. They also prefer basketball to football or ice hockey.
- Latvia is another country with many Russian speakers living there. Although the country has many Catholics and Protestants, it also has a significant portion of Orthodox Christians. Both countries are relatively successful in the Olympics and have won medals in canoeing, track & field, and weightlifting. However, its government is much more democratic than Belarus. It is also a parliamentary republic with a unicameral legislature.
- Serbia is another Slavic speaking country where most people are Orthodox Christian. Both countries are landlocked. However, Serbia is the only country in the top five that was not once part of the Soviet Union. It does not use the Russian railroad gauge. Furthermore, it primarily uses coal to create electricity, not natural gas.
- Moldova, 7. Bulgaria, 8. Slovakia, 9. Poland, 10. Czechia
Top 10 Places Least Similar to Belarus
- Papua New Guinea is one of the hottest and wettest countries in the world. Its people have little in common demographically or culturally with Belarus. Furthermore, although its people are Christians, they are generally Protestants, while Ukraine has a high rate of irreligious people.
- Solomon Islands is similar to Papua New Guinea. It is also located in the Pacific Ocean. The islands need to import all their energy in the form of oil, while Belarus uses mostly natural gas. In addition, it is far more mountainous than Belarus.
- Somalia is a conservative Muslim country in Africa with poorly developed infrastructure and an anarchic government. In contrast to cold, landlocked Belarus, Somalia is located in a tropical desert on the Indian Ocean coast. However, it is at least in the same time zone as Belarus.
- Niger is another landlocked country. However, it has little else in common with Belarus. Its landscape is mostly barren desert and its climate is much hotter and drier. The country is mostly Muslim and it has the youngest average population in the world.
- Yemen is another conservative Muslim country on this list. Unlike other countries on the Arabian Peninsula, is poorly developed due to civil war. The country also is far more mountainous than Belarus and has more coastline.
- Gambia, 7. Sierra Leone, 8. Djibouti, 9. Malawi, 10. Sudan
Full Ranking of Countries and Territories Most Similar to Belarus
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