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 English-speaking islands in the Pacific Ocean
Samoa is a fairly unique country. It is the only Polynesian country large enough to be studied, since Tuvalu and Tonga were too small. Many Melanesian countries are similar to Samoa as well since they are also tropical islands that were once colonized by an English-speaking country. Except for Papua New Guinea, most of their native languages come from a common origin. Most of the people in these countries are Christian as well.
The least similar countries all have much drier climates. The four least similar countries all have much less democratic governments. Four of the five least similar countries natively speak Semitic languages.
Top 10 Places Most Similar to Samoa
- Vanuatu is a Melanesian country to the west of Samoa. Since it was jointly administered by both Great Britain and France, it has less of a British influence. Both countries have a parliamentary government with an elected head of state. In addition, both countries do not have much agricultural land, except for coconut trees. Furthermore, fruit is a huge part of the diet in Samoa and Vanuatu.
- Solomon Islands is another country in the Pacific Ocean that was once colonized by Germany. However, they left little impact on the islands. They were eventually colonized by Great Britain, so they are mostly Protestants, but there are also some Catholics.
- Fiji is to the west of Samoa. Both countries have two mountainous main islands with similar flora and fauna. Fiji and Samoa also have about the same standard of living and their diets are alike as well. However, Fiji has a large percentage of people with Indian ancestry and many of them follow Hinduism.
- Papua New Guinea is another country that had been a German colony before World War I. While Papua New Guinea became a territory of Australia after World War II, Samoa was a territory of New Zealand. The country is less developed than Samoa but both are rural, mountainous, and tropical. One big difference is most of the native languages spoken in Papua New Guinea are not Austronesian languages.
- Philippines is a country located on an archipelago in the Pacific Ocean. Like Samoa, it is a predominately Christian country, although it is mostly Catholic. Both countries natively speak an Austronesian language and also have English as one of their official languages. However, Samoa was once a colony of New Zealand, not the United States, so its culture and infrastructure is more similar to New Zealand. One example of this is that the people in the Philippines are more interested in basketball than rugby, unlike Samoa.
- East Timor, 7. Belize, 8. Malaysia, 9. Jamaica 10. Mauritius
Top 10 Places Least Similar to Samoa
- Afghanistan is a landlocked Muslim country that has especially little in common with the Samoa. The infrastructure standards that Afghanistan has are quite different from Samoa, since it drives on the right, uses Russian broad gauge railroad tracks, and has Type C, F electrical outlets with a different voltage. Afghanistan also relies on hydropower for electricity, while Samoa relies on biomass and oil. Still, both countries are quite mountainous, although Samoa is much hotter and gets far more rainfall.
- Mauritania is yet another Muslim country with little similarity to Samoa. It is located in Africa on the Atlantic Coast. Most of its people natively speak a variety of Arabic. It was once a French colony. Its government is much more unstable and less democratic than Samoa. Its landscape is nearly all barren desert and it is not mountainous.
- Saudi Arabia is another Arab country on this list. It has an autocratic government with extremely conservative Muslim policies. Its government also spends a lot of money on its military, while Samoa has little military capability. Its people also tend to be much more wealthy.
- Eritrea is across the Red Sea from Saudi Arabia. Most of the land in both Samoa and Eritrea is close to the coast, Eritrea is primarily desert. Although its population is about 50% Christian, they are part of the unique Oriental Orthodox denomination. Linguistically, Eritrea has no similarity as well since they speak Afroasiatic languages and use the Ge’ez script.
- Israel is a densely populated country in the Mediterranean. Its people are mostly Jewish and natively speak Hebrew. In contrast to the dry climate of Israel, Samoa is made up of lush tropical rainforest. It also has little infrastructure in comparison with Israel. It drives on the right and uses different electrical outlets as well.
- Russia, 7. Niger, 8. United Arab Emirates, 9. Yemen, 10. Iran
Do you agree with the list?
Please leave any thoughts in the comments section.