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.
Although Albania is a predominately Muslim country, many of its other characteristics fit in with the rest of Europe, especially countries once part of Yugoslavia. Its government is secular and many of its people are not practicing Muslims. The top 5 countries most similar to Albania were occupied (at least in part) by the Ottomans at some point. Even though Albania is not a Slavic country, the top 5 most similar are. Please note that Kosovo was not included in this list because many major statistics gathering organizations include it with Serbia.
Top 10 Places Most Similar to Albania
- North Macedonia is another mountainous country to the east of Albania. About 25% of its people have Albanian ethnicity and are Muslim, so its demographics and culture are very similar. As a result, Albanian is actually one of North Macedonia’s official languages. In addition, both countries grow a lot of wheat and corn, but Albania grows more olives, while North Macedonia grows more barley, due to a slightly cooler and drier climate.
- Montenegro is just to the north of Albania. Montenegro’s government is especially like Albania’s since they are both secular multi-party democracies with extremely similar laws. They both do not allow same-sex marriage, criminalize polygamy, and prohibit prostitution. One big difference is that Montenegro’s agriculture is quite different. They grow a lot of fruits, especially grapes, and tend to drink more wine.
- Bosnia & Herzegovina is the only other European country with a majority Muslim population, although it has far more Christians. Unlike Albania, Bosnia does not have much coastline, but it is also quite mountainous. The countries also have a similar standard of living and development of infrastructure. However, Bosnia has less strict laws on prostitution and the possession of firearms.
- Croatia, like Montenegro, is another Slavic country that borders the Mediterranean coast. Both Albania and Croatia use the Latin alphabet, unlike several former Yugoslavian countries which still use Cyrillic in some capacity. In addition, about 10% of Albanians are Catholic, although neither country is especially religious. One big difference is that Croatia has a higher standard of living.
- Serbia is another country that has a significant that has a significant Albanian population, if Kosovo is included as part of Serbia. Both countries are multi-party democracies with similar laws. However, Serbia’s military and medical infrastructure is more developed. Furthermore, since Serbia is landlocked, its climate is less moderate than Albania’s. It is also less mountainous.
- Turkey, 7. Bulgaria, 8. Greece, 9. Romania, 10. Italy
Few countries are extremely different from Albania since it is not especially poor or wealthy. Its climate is also not extremely cold or hot. It is also diverse religiously, since it has a mix of Muslims and Christians. Furthermore, its government is neither extremely democratic nor authoritarian. Four of the five least similar countries are island nations located in the Pacific Ocean.
Top 10 Places Least Similar to Albania
- Singapore is a small tropical island city-state, near Malaysia, so its geography is vastly different from Albania, which is sparsely populated and quite mountainous. While Singapore is filled with skyscrapers, Albania does not have any, although it does have many high-rises. In addition, Singapore’s infrastructure is extremely different from Albania, since they drive on the left and use Type G electrical outlets.
- Solomon Islands is located in Melanesia. The tropical rainforest nation shares few things in common with Albania, since the ancestry of its people and its culture are vastly different. In addition, their technology is also quite different since they drive on the left, use Type I electrical outlets, and have no railways in use, unlike Albania. However, both countries do use the Latin alphabet, since the Solomon Islands has English as its official language.
- Eritrea is an African country that borders the Red Sea. Its population is mostly Christian, although they do have some Muslims as well. Its government is a totalitarian one-party dictatorship. In contrast to Albania, prostitution is legal as well as polygamy there. Furthermore, the country does not have well developed infrastructure. Linguistically, Eritrea has no similarity to Albania as well since they speak Afroasiatic languages and use the Ge’ez script.
- Papua New Guinea is another country very similar to the Solomon Islands, so its demographics and culture are also vastly different from Albania. It is one of the hottest and wettest countries in the world. However, both countries are quite mountainous and have ample coastline. Both countries do not allow prostitution or same sex marriage, however abortion is heavily restricted in Papua New Guinea, unlike Albania.
- Japan, like Papua New Guinea, borders the Pacific Ocean, however other than that they have little in common. Linguistically, Japan has no similarity to Albania since they speak a completely different language and use a different writing system. Since most people in Japan follow Buddhism or Shintoism, their religions have little similarity as well. However, both countries are mountainous and have a temperate climate.
- South Sudan, 7. Chad, 8. Cambodia, 9. Sudan, 10. Democratic Republic of Congo
Albania is like if North Macedonia was more like Lebanon
Albania is most similar to North Macedonia, but the data indicates that one country that is much more similar to Albania than North Macedonia is Lebanon. Unlike North Macedonia, Lebanon and Albania are mostly Muslim. Furthermore, both countries border the Mediterranean and most of their land is close to the coast. Because of their similar climate, much of their agricultural land is used to grow olives and their land is mostly Mediterranean forests.
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