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 Argentina
Argentina is a Latin American country. The five most similar countries are mostly Catholic and most of their people natively speak Romance languages. The majority of their governments use the presidential system of government and are multi-party democracies, but they do not have a high degree of rule of law. Furthermore, these countries tend to not be especially wealthy or poor. Four of the five most similar countries are also located in South America.
- Uruguay is located across the Rio de la Plata from Buenos Aires. It is one of the most similar countries to Argentina in every aspect: demographics, culture, politics, technology, and geography. Both countries are primarily Catholic, although Uruguay is slightly less religious. They also have extremely similar diets, heavy in beef and wheat. However, Uruguay does not have any tall mountains and its landscape has less variation.
- Chile is Argentina’s neighbor to the west. The two share the third longest border in the world along the Andes Mountains. Like Argentina and Uruguay, it is one of the most developed countries in Latin America. Its technology is especially similar to Argentina because they are the only Latin American countries to use a 5′ 6″ railroad track gauge. However, Chile is located on the Pacific Coast, not the Atlantic.
- Mexico is the only North American country on this list. Its demographics are similar to Argentina, since their average incomes and education are comparable. In addition, both countries have some of the driest average climates in Latin America. One big difference is their diet and agriculture. Mexico’s is far more based in corn and less on wheat. It is also more densely populated than Argentina.
- Brazil is not a Spanish speaking country, but it still has much in common with Argentina. Both countries are located on the Atlantic Coast. They also have a lot of tropical savanna land used as pastures for livestock. As a result, their diets tend to include a lot of meat, especially beef and chicken. However, Argentina’s climate is much drier than Brazil’s. Still, both countries are soccer powerhouses, but also have significant interest in basketball and sailing.
- Peru is another Spanish-speaking country in South America similar to Argentina, however it has more of a Native American influence on its demographics and culture. In addition, its standard of living is slightly lower. Both countries use a mixture of natural gas and hydroelectricity to create power. Their laws are also very similar, except that Peru does not allow same sex marriage.
- Colombia, 7. Venezuela, 8. Paraguay, 9. Spain, 10. Ecuador
It is important to note that Paraguay did not make the top 5 most similar, in part because most people there speak the Guarani language, in addition to Spanish that has been greatly influenced by it.
Top 10 Countries Least Similar to Argentina
The least similar countries come from some of the poorer countries in Asia and Africa. Three of the five least similar countries are mostly Muslim. With the exception of North Korea, they are also all much less mountainous than Argentina.
- North Korea has obvious political differences with Argentina. The country’s government is much more authoritarian and less democratic. North Korea is also far less religious than Argentina and shares very little in common culturally with it. Furthermore, North Korea is one of most distant countries from Argentina. Although both countries have a fairly temperate climate, North Korea is colder and gets more rainfall on average. It also has a much higher percentage of forested land.
- Cambodia is another Asian country on this list, although it is far different from North Korea. It has especially little in common culturally with it. Most people in Cambodia are Buddhist, unlike Argentina. Furthermore, they use the unique Khmer script for their writing. In addition, according to the Lewis Model, Cambodians tend to be less outgoing than Argentinians. Their diet is dominated by rice, while Argentina’s staple foods are wheat and potatoes. One reason is that Cambodia’s climate is hotter and it also gets far more rainfall than Argentina, so its crops are different.
- Sudan is the least similar country to Argentina in Africa. It is a Muslim country located in the Sahara Desert, bordering the Red Sea. The country recently lost some territory to the newly formed country of South Sudan. Although both countries are quite dry, Sudan’s landscape is more barren. Its government is much less stable than Argentina’s and its laws are far more conservative. Same sex relationships, gambling, alcohol, and abortion are all banned there.
- Somalia is far poorer than Argentina. Its infrastructure is not well developed due to on-going civil war. Its extremely hot climate contrasts Argentina more temperate one, although both are fairly dry. In addition, its government’s policies, influenced by its Muslim population, are extremely conservative, compared to more liberal Argentina. Still, both countries use the Latin alphabet, although their respective languages are completely unrelated.
- Bangladesh is yet another predominately Muslim country on this list, but it is located in South Asia, around the Ganges River Delta. As a result, its land is mostly low-lying and is prone to flooding. Bangladesh’s infrastructure is especially different from Argentina, since they drive on the left and Type D electrical outlets, since it was once colonized by Great Britain. Furthermore, despite being one of the ten most populous countries, its men’s national soccer team is not even one of the top 150 teams in the world. Cricket is more popular there.
- Laos, 7. Yemen, 8. Singapore, 9. Eritrea, 10. Chad
Argentina is like if Uruguay was more like Mexico
Uruguay is Argentina’s most similar country, but the data shows that Mexico is one country that is much more like Argentina than Uruguay. The biggest region is geography. Mexico and Argentina have drier climates than Uruguay’s. Furthermore, they both are more mountainous as well. Another aspect in which Argentina is more like Mexico is religion. Although they are are all mostly Catholic, Uruguay’s people are significantly less religious. Mexico and Argentina also primarily rely on natural gas to create energy, while Uruguay mostly uses hydropower.
All data accurate as of 2020.