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 Austria
Many European countries are similar to the Austria, especially since it is part of the European Union. Due to its relatively central position in Europe, it has a mix of different traits from both Eastern, Western, and also Southern Europe. It is Catholic like many Mediterranean countries, but it speaks a Germanic language like many Northern European countries. In addition, the Austro-Hungarian Empire ruled over much of Eastern Europe for centuries, increasing cultural exchange.
- Germany is another German speaking country in Central Europe. Austria was ruled briefly by Germany during World War II. The countries have similar laws and systems of government. Both have legalized same sex marriage and also prostitution. However its geography is somewhat different, since Germany is not nearly as mountainous. It also has a higher percentage of Protestants, especially if Bavaria is excluded. Still, neither country is particularly religious.
- Switzerland is another landlocked country located in the Alps. A majority of the people in both countries speak German, although Switzerland has a significant amount of French and Italian speakers as well. Both countries like soccer, but also ice hockey and skiing. In addition, both have mandatory military service and many guns per capita. Furthermore, both countries rely primarily on hydropower to create electricity. One big difference is that Switzerland is not in the European Union and does not use the Euro. It also has a slightly different standard electrical outlet, Type J.
- Luxembourg also has German as one of its official languages, although Luxembourgish is the most common native language there. In addition, both countries were ruled by the Habsburgs and therefore are predominately Catholic. While both countries are landlocked, Luxembourg isn’t nearly as mountainous. Unlike other countries on this list, it is still a constitutional monarchy, but the countries have similar laws. Luxembourg also relies on natural gas to create electricity, unlike Austria.
- Slovenia was once part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Both countries are mostly Catholic. It is also located in the Alps, like like Austria and Switzerland. As a result, both countries excel at the winter Olympics. They also have similar crops, growing a mixture of corn, wheat, and barley. The one big difference is language. Slovenians speak a Slavic language. It is also not landlocked, since it has some coastline on the Mediterranean.
- Slovakia, like Slovenia and Austria, was once part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It is another landlocked and mountainous country, located to its east. A large portion of both countries is covered with coniferous forests. However, Slovakia is not as affluent as other countries on this list. Furthermore, its laws are more conservative and its government is more corrupt. It does not allow same sex marriage and it has stricter drug and alcohol laws.
- Belgium, 7. Czechia, 8. France, 9. Netherlands, 10. Croatia
Top 10 Countries Least Similar to Austria
Four of the five least similar countries to Austria are located in Africa. Four of the five least similar countries also have Muslim majority populations. They all have a far lower standard of living and they are not nearly as democratic. Furthermore, their laws are more conservative. They do not allow same sex marriage and have stricter abortion restrictions. In addition, these countries have much drier and hotter climates than Austria.
- Somalia is an anarchic, war-torn country, Muslim country in stark contrast to Austria. Furthermore, Somalia has little infrastructure. While Austria has a robust railroad system, Somalia does not even have a railroad. It is also much hotter than Austria and not especially mountainous. In addition, Somalia has a lot of coastline. Still, Somali uses the Latin alphabet, although it is not even in the same language family as German.
- Yemen is located across the Gulf of Aden from Somalia. It is another war-torn and extremely conservative Muslim country that unlike other countries on the Arabian Peninsula, is not well developed. Still, both countries are fairly mountainous and have many guns per capita. In addition, the people in both countries are considered to be Caucasian, although Yemenis still have significantly different ancestry from Austrians.
- Sudan is located in the Sahara Desert, to the south of Egypt. It is another poor Muslim country, like others on this list, that has recently experienced internal conflicts. As a result, it lost some territory to the newly formed country of South Sudan. Sudan’s landscape is fairly flat and it also has a significantly lower population density than Austria. Sudan’s farms mostly produce sorghum unlike in Austria, where wheat and corn are more common.
- Eritrea is yet another country near the Red Sea on this list, but it is the only country with a majority Christian population. However, Eritreans are mostly Oriental Orthodox, but there is also a high percentage of Muslims as well there. In addition, it is extremely poor and its government has been a dictatorship for almost 20 years, since the country has only held one presidential election since its independence from Ethiopia. One of the biggest differences between these countries is that Eritrea uses the unique Ge’ez script.
- Gambia is located on the Atlantic ocean along the Gambia River, so it is extremely flat. It was once a British colony before becoming independent. The country is predominately Muslim. It also has a much lower standard of living than Austria. Its technology standards are also significantly different from Austria since it uses mostly fossil fuels, Type G electrical outlets, and also does not have a railroad.
- Niger, 7. Chad, 8. Mauritania, 9. Bangladesh, 10. Mali
Austria is like if Germany was more like Slovakia
The data clearly shows that Germany is the most similar country to Austria. However, one country that is much more similar to Austria than it is to Germany is Slovakia. Unlike Germany, Slovakia and Austria are mostly Catholic. According to the Lewis Model, Austrians and Slovakians tend to be more outgoing as well. Furthermore, both countries are mountainous and landlocked, unlike Germany.
All data accurate as of 2020.