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.
Top 10 Countries Most Similar to the UAE
The United Arab Emirates is an Arab country. The top five countries most similar to it are all part of the Gulf Cooperation Council. The GCC is similar to the European Union in that people and goods are allowed to flow freely between their countries. Furthermore, while these countries do not have a shared currency, all of their currencies have a fixed exchange rate with the US dollar. They are also all monarchies and are some of the richest Arab countries.
- Qatar is another country on the Persian Gulf Coast that was once a British protectorate. Both countries are highly developed and have a massive amount of male immigrants, especially from India. However, political relations between the United Arab Emirates and Qatar have broken down recently. The UAE government has even banned travel to it. Despite this, these countries have an incredibly high degree of similarity.
- Kuwait is a small oil-rich country between Saudi Arabia and Iraq. Like Qatar and UAE its landscape is flat and barren desert. However, Kuwait has more Shi’ites than the United Arab Emirates. It also relies more on oil than gas to generate electricity, unlike the other countries on this list.
- Bahrain is a small island in the Persian Gulf, near Qatar, so its population density is much higher than the United Arab Emirates. Still, both countries have many skyscrapers. One difference is that most Bahrainis are Shi’tes, not Sunnis. The country also has less immigrants.
- Oman is located to the south of the United Arab Emirates. It is more conservative than the UAE and has less tourists. In stark contrast to other countries on this list, it does not have any skyscrapers. In fact, they are illegal. Furthermore, most of its people are Ibadis, not Sunnis. It is also more mountainous than UAE.
- Saudi Arabia is another oil-rich Muslim country with a high level of development. However, UAE is far more cosmopolitan than Saudi Arabia. Its laws are more liberal and nearly 90% of its inhabitants are immigrants. In addition, UAE is much more densely populated than Saudi Arabia, although large portions of both countries are barren desert.
- Jordan, 7. Egypt, 8. Iraq, 9. Libya, 10. Syria
Top 10 Countries Least Similar to the UAE
The five least similar countries to the United Arab Emirates are in a variety of locations across the world. They are all countries with a majority Christian population and their languages use the Latin alphabet. They also have a much lower standard of living than the United Arab Emirates as well.
- Lesotho is completely surrounded by South Africa, so it is landlocked. It is also far more mountainous than the United Arab Emirates. Nearly all of its people are Christian. Although both countries are monarchies, Lesotho’s monarch only has ceremonial powers and the government is mostly democratic. Furthermore, its infrastructure is not nearly as well developed.
- Haiti is the least similar country in the Western Hemisphere to UAE. Its people are mostly Catholic and have African ancestry. Although there is little forest cover in both countries, Haiti’s climate is wetter and it has a much higher percentage of farmland. Most of its people are farmers, in contrast to more urbanized UAE. However, most of the land in both countries is close to the coast and they are at a similar latitude.
- Democratic Republic of Congo is a former Belgian colony that is extremely poor. In contrast to UAE, a vast majority of its land is forested and it has very little coastline. In addition, it also has little demographic or cultural similarity to UAE as well. It is mostly Christian and it has few Muslims.
- Papua New Guinea is a tropical Christian country in the Pacific Ocean. In contrast to the deserts of UAE, it is one of the wettest countries on Earth. While UAE is highly developed, Papua New Guinea has little infrastructure. It is a mostly Christian country. One similarity is that it both countries were controlled by Britain.
- Mozambique is a tropical country, next to Malawi. It was a colony of Portugal before its independence. Although it is mostly Christian, it has the highest percentage of Muslims on this list with around 20%. Still, its technology is far different from UAE, since it drives on the left, has different electrical outlets, and uses a different train gauge.
- Central African Republic, 7. East Timor, 8. Burundi, 9. Madagascar, 10. Laos
The United Arab Emirates is like if Qatar was more like Oman
Qatar and the United Arab Emirates are two of the most similar countries in the world. However, they have a few differences as well. The data shows that Oman is one country that has some of the traits of the United Arab Emirates that Qatar lacks. Both the United Arab Emirates and Oman are less densely populated and more mountainous than Qatar. Furthermore, the death penalty is rarely used in Qatar compared to UAE and Oman. Their governments also mandate companies to give their workers more paid vacation days than Qatar.
All data accurate as of 2020.