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 Latin American countries
Many Latin American countries are especially similar to Panama, in part due to its central location between Central and South America. These countries are generally Catholic and speak Romance languages. They also have similar governments that use the presidential system.
The five least similar countries to Panama all have a majority Muslim population. In addition, four of the five use the Arabic script. These countries also have a much lower standard of living. Their governments are less democratic and more anarchic.
Top 10 Places Most Similar to Panama
- Costa Rica, like its neighbor to the north, is one of the few countries without a military and both countries are strong allies of the United States. Panama and Costa Rica are also two of the most prosperous Central American countries. Both countries primarily use hydroelectricity to create power. One big difference is that Panama has many more skyscrapers.
- Colombia is the only South American country that borders both the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea. Panama was once part of Colombia, before achieving independence in 1903 with the help of the United States. It shares similar culture, demographics, and standard of living with Panama. Its agriculture is also similar. Both countries produce a lot of coffee, rice, and sugarcane. They also have a high percentage of forested land. One difference is that Colombia has one of the largest armies in the Western Hemisphere.
- Nicaragua is yet another country that borders both the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea on this list. In fact, there are plans to build a canal between the two, just like in Panama. However, Panama is more prosperous and it has far more skyscrapers. Furthermore, while Nicaragua has close relations with Russia, in contrast Panama has the closest ties with the United States of any Central American country.
- El Salvador is another country in the Central American Integration System, like Panama, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua. Both countries have adopted the United States Dollar as their legal currency. Neither country allows same sex marriage or polygamy. However, El Salvador does not allow abortions. Furthermore, it has a much higher murder rate and suicide rate.
- Dominican Republic is not in Central America, but it has many of the same traits as Panama. Both countries have been heavily influenced by the United States. They use 911 for emergencies and Type A & B electrical outlets. They also produce many baseball players. Panama also has the highest percentage of people with African ancestry in Spanish-speaking Central America. However, Dominican Republic is not as wealthy and its infrastructure is less developed.
- Honduras 7. Ecuador, 8. Venezuela, 9. Guatemala, 10. Mexico
Top 10 Places Least Similar to Panama
- Sudan is located in the Sahara Desert and borders the Red Sea. It is a conservative Muslim country. The majority of its people natively speak Arabic. Its government is lead by the military, following a recent coup. In contrast, Panama does not even have a military.
- Yemen is located in the Arabian Desert across the Red Sea from Sudan. It is another impoverished Muslim country with little demographic, cultural, or technological similarity to Panama. Still, both countries are located along major shipping routes, although Yemen has little shipping infrastructure.
- Somalia is across the Gulf of Aden from Yemen. Its governmental policies, influenced by its Muslim population, are extremely conservative, compared to more liberal policies in Panama. In addition, the countries are on opposite ends of the precipitation scale, as Panama is a rainforest, while Somalia is quite dry. Still, both countries use the Latin alphabet, despite the fact that their languages being completely unrelated.
- Afghanistan is a landlocked country in Asia. The majority of its people are Muslim, however the people of both countries do natively speak Indo-European languages. Still, Afghanistan uses the Arabic script. Like other countries on this list its climate is much drier than Panama. While soccer and baseball are the most popular sports in Panama, cricket is the most popular sport in Afghanistan.
- Chad is yet another landlocked country on this list, but it is located in Africa. The country’s official languages are French and Arabic. The diet of its people is especially different from Panama, since they tend to eat a lot of sorghum and millet.
- North Korea, 7. Niger, 8. Eritrea, 9. Libya, 10. Mauritania
Full Ranking of Countries and Territories Most Similar to Panama
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