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 island nations in the South Pacific
The Solomon Islands is only similar to other countries located in tropical climates in its vicinity. The top four have English as one of their official languages and most of the people in four of the top five countries natively speak Austronesian languages. In addition, these countries are mostly Christian. However, one difference is that it was jointly governed by France and Great Britain.
The five least similar countries to Vanuatu are fairly disimilar from each other. Four are located in Asia and three are located in the Middle East. One thing they share in common is that they are all far more developed and wealthy than Vanuatu.
Top 10 Places Most Similar to Vanuatu
- Solomon Islands is another archipelago to the northwest of the Vanuatu. Both countries are inhabited by Melanesian people that speak Austronesian languages and are mostly Protestant. Both countries are mostly tropical forest and have a lot of coastline. Most of their people are farmers and their agriculture depends on the cultivation of coconuts.
- Papua New Guinea is just to the west of the Solomon Islands. It is another country with many Melanesian people that are now mostly Protestant. Both countries have English as one of their official languages, however most people in Papua New Guinea do not natively speak Austronesian languages. Their laws are similar as well. Polygamy, prostitution, and the possession of pornography are criminalized there, while gambling and alcohol are allowed.
- Samoa is in Polynesia, unlike Vanuatu. Its people have more ancestry from East Asia and less Melanesian ancestry. However, it still has many similarities due to its climate shared Anglosphere influence. Their native languages are also related. Both countries are mostly Protestant, although Samoa has more Mormons. Their diets also consist of a lot of coconuts and bananas.
- Fiji is country located on tropical islands in Melanesia. However, Fiji is unique since a large proportion of its population came from India, as indentured workers. It is more religiously diverse as a result, since it has significant amounts of Hindus and Muslims. However, it has a higher percentage of farmland and a lower percentage of forested land than Fiji. Furthermore, its standard of living is higher.
- East Timor, unlike other countries on this list, was a colony of Portugal, not Great Britain. Therefore, it is mostly Catholic and does not have English as one of its official languages. Still, it has a similar climate and demographics. Their diet is also quite different from Vanuatu. Their people eat a lot more rice and corn in proportion to Vanuatu. Furthermore, while both countries are democracies, East Timor does not use the parliamentary system of government.
- Philippines 7. Belize, 8. Madagascar, 9. Guyana, 10. Liberia
Top 10 Places Least Similar to Vanuatu
- Saudi Arabia is mostly Muslim and has an authoritarian government. Its laws are also significantly different since it does not allow alcohol or gambling. Furthermore, its desert landscape is barren and has little vegetation in stark contrast to Vanuatu.
- Israel is a densely populated country that borders the Mediterranean Sea. Its population is mostly Jewish and they natively speak Hebrew. In contrast to the dry climate of Israel, Vanuatu gets far more rainfall. While Vanuatu has little infrastructure, Israel is highly developed. Still both countries are fairly mountainous and most of their lands are near the coast.
- Japan is another archipelago in the Pacific Ocean, however they have little else in common. Japan’s climate is more temperate. Its people are far less religious than Vanuatu. Japan’s infrastructure is not only much more developed but it also drives on the left and uses Type A, B electrical outlets unlike Vanuatu.
- United Arab Emirates is yet another Middle Eastern country on this list. Not only is its landscape barren and has few trees, but it is also far more densely populated than Vanuatu. The country also has far more men than women, since many men moved there for work opportunities. While the United Arab Emirates boasts the tallest building in the world, Vanuatu does not even have a skyscraper in the country.
- Netherlands is the least similar country in Europe. It is far more densely populated than Vanuatu and its climate is much colder. Furthermore, it is not nearly as mountainous. Still, both countries are predominately Christian and use the Latin alphabet. They also have multi-party parliamentary governments. Still, the laws in Netherlands are far more liberal than Vanuatu.
- Germany, 7. Bahrain, 8. Denmark, 9. Qatar, 10. Russia
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