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 African countries with savanna land
The top five countries most similar to South Sudan all have a significant amount of savanna land. In addition, 4 of the top 5 have English as one of their official languages. Four of the five most similar countries are mostly Christian, but still have significant percentage of Muslims.
Although South Sudan was recently part of Sudan, it is not even one of the top 10 most similar countries, reflecting the reason South Sudan felt the need to become independent. Sudan is mostly Muslim and its landscape is generally barren desert, not tropical savanna land. Furthermore, its people have more ancestry from the Middle East than South Sudanese.
The five least similar countries are located in two different areas: East Asia and Western Europe. These countries are all wealthier and have a higher standard of living than South Sudan. In addition, they have a greater degree of rule of law and democracy.
Top 10 Places Most Similar to South Sudan
- Tanzania is the only country other than Egypt that South Sudan allows visitors to come from without a visa. Both countries were once colonized by Great Britain. They are also part of the East African Community. However, Tanzania has a much higher percentage of Muslims.
- Uganda is to the south of South Sudan. Although both countries are landlocked, the Nile River runs through them. While, both countries do not have well developed infrastructure, Uganda drives on the left, uses Type G electrical outlets, and also one meter railroad gauge, unlike South Sudan.
- Kenya borders both Tanzania and Uganda. It is another country that is part of the East African Community and uses English as its official language. Furthermore, many people in Kenya speak Nilo-Saharan languages, although a much lower percentage than in South Sudan. Also, Kenya’s climate is drier and it has more desert. The farms in Kenya tend to grow corn, not sorghum like in South Sudan.
- Nigeria is the most similar country in West Africa. It is another former British colony in Africa that drives on the right and uses 3′ 6″ railroad gauge. Both countries are relatively flat and have a similar climate. However, like Tanzania, it has a much higher percentage of Muslims.
- Central African Republic is a landlocked country located to the west of South Sudan. They are mostly Christian, but also have many people who believe in traditional African religions as well. Both countries have very low literacy rates and their people are generally not well educated. The biggest difference is that Central African Republic was once a colony of France so its official language is French.
- Zambia, 7. Cameroon, 8. Benin, 9. Burundi, 10. Rwanda
Top 10 Places Least Similar to South Sudan
- Japan is by far the least similar country to South Sudan. Not only is its geography significantly different, but also its demographics, culture, and technology. There just isn’t much in common between the two, except that their railroads both use the 3′ 6″ railroad gauge.
- South Korea is also located in East Asia. It is another highly developed, densely populated country with a lot of coastline. However, South Korea does have a significant Christian population, although the country has little else in common with South Sudan.
- Taiwan is another Asian country located in the Pacific Ocean on this list. Like Japan, its demographics and culture are quite different from South Sudan. However, Taiwan’s subtropical climate is more similar to South Sudan than Japan and South Korea’s more temperate climate.
- Norway‘s climate is far colder and more mountainous. It also has a lot more coastline than South Sudan. Still both countries are mostly Christian, although Norwegians are much less religious. Its government is also quite different from South Sudan, since its laws are more liberal.
- Netherlands is another extremely liberal Germanic country on this list that borders the North Sea. While South Sudan is landlocked, much of the Netherlands is low-lying and located next to the coast. It also is much more densely populated and developed than South Sudan. Like Norway, its laws a much more liberal, but both countries do allow gambling.
- Iceland, 7. Luxembourg, 8. Denmark, 9. Canada, 10. Finland
Do you agree with the list?
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