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 Bahrain
Bahrain is an Arab country, located on an island in the Persian Gulf. The top five countries most similar to Bahrain are all part of the Gulf Cooperation Council. The GCC is similar to the European Union in that people and goods are allowed to flow freely between their countries. Furthermore, while the most similar countries to Bahrain do not have a shared currency, all of their currencies have a fixed exchange rate with the US dollar. They are also all monarchies and are some of the wealthiest Arab countries.
- Qatar is another country that borders the Persian Gulf. Both countries are densely populated and have a lot of skyscrapers. Qatar’s flag is extremely similar to Bahrain’s. Neither country is part of OPEC. However, Qatar has a lower percentage of Shi’ites and more Sunni Muslims. While both countries are quite wealthy, Qatar’s GDP per capita is significantly higher. Furthermore, although both countries have many foreign workers, immigrants make up a much larger percentage of the population in Qatar.
- Kuwait is a small oil-rich country between Saudi Arabia and Iraq. Like Bahrain, it has a mix of Sunni and Shi’ite Muslims. Both countries are both heavily reliant on desalination to provide tap water. Still, Kuwait relies more on oil than natural gas to generate electricity, unlike Bahrain. While both countries are densely populated and border the Persian Gulf, it does not have much coastline in comparison to its boundaries on the main land.
- United Arab Emirates borders Oman and the Persian Gulf. It is yet another country on this list that has a high amount of male immigration from the Indian subcontinent. Their cities both have many skyscrapers, although the United Arab Emirates is less densely populated and has a lot of barren desert land. One difference is that the United Arab Emirates is a federation of emirates, so its president is elected among the different ruling families.
- Oman is more conservative than Bahrain and has less foreigners. In stark contrast to other countries on this list, it does not have any skyscrapers. In fact, they are illegal. Furthermore, a large portion of its people are Ibadi Muslims. Another difference is that Oman is more mountainous and less densely populated. Still, both countries have a long history of maritime trading. Interestingly enough, Oman and Bahrain were ruled by Portugal in the 16th Century.
- Saudi Arabia is connected to the island of Bahrain via a causeway. It is another oil-rich Muslim country with a high level of development. However, Bahrain is far more cosmopolitan than Saudi Arabia. Its laws are more liberal and far fewer of its residents are immigrants. In addition, Saudi Arabia is much less densely populated. Although both countries are absolute monarchies, Saudi Arabia does not have a congress and its courts have no judicial review.
- Jordan, 7. Iraq, 8. Egypt, 9. Libya, 10. Syria
Top 10 Countries Least Similar to Bahrain
The five least similar countries to Bahrain all have a majority Christian population and use the Latin alphabet, since they were once colonized by European countries. Four of the five are located in Africa and their people natively speak Niger-Congo languages. These countries have a much lower standard of living than Bahrain as well.
- Lesotho is a majority Christian country located in Southern Africa. Not only is it completely surrounded by South Africa, it is also more mountainous than Bahrain. Due to its high elevation and lower latitude, its climate is much cooler than Bahrain. Although both countries are monarchies, Lesotho’s monarch only has ceremonial powers and the government is mostly democratic.
- Democratic Republic of Congo is a former Belgian colony that is located in the tropical region of Africa. In contrast to Bahrain, a vast majority of its land is forested. While Bahrain is a densely populated island, the Democratic Republic of Congo is sparsely populated and has little coastline. In addition, it also has little demographic or cultural similarity to Bahrain as well. Its people are mostly Christian. Furthermore, its people are far less wealthy.
- Mozambique, despite the fact that it also also borders the Indian Ocean, is far different from Bahrain as well. Still, both countries were once ruled by Portugal, although Bahrain was ruled for a much shorter period of time in the 16th Century. Mozambique is mostly Christian, although nearly 20% of its people are Muslims. Its technology is also far different from Bahrain, since its infrastructure is much less developed and uses different standards. Mozambique drives on the left and uses Type C, F, and M outlets.
- Papua New Guinea is a tropical Christian country in the Pacific Ocean with little cultural or demographic similarity to Bahrain. In contrast to the desert landscape of Bahrain, it is one of the wettest countries on Earth. It is also far more mountainous than Bahrain. Its infrastructure is very different as well, since it drives on the left and uses Type I electrical outlets. Still, one similarity is that both were once British protectorates, so English is widespread in these countries.
- Angola is located on the Atlantic Coast of Africa. Like Mozambique, it was once a colony of Portugal, so it does not have a death penalty or even life in prison. Although Angola does get a lot of money from exploiting its natural resources, its wealth is not well distributed across its people and most remain in deep poverty. Even though neither country is democratic, Angola’s government is dominated by a single party
- Laos, 7. Haiti, 8. Liberia, 9. Central African Republic, 10. Burundi
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Bahrain is like if Qatar was more like Azerbaijan
Bahrain and Qatar are extremely similar, so no country is significantly more like Bahrain than it is to Qatar. Still, Azerbaijan is one country that has more characteristics of Bahrain than Qatar, since most of its people are Shia Muslims. Furthermore, Bahrain’s laws are slightly less conservative than Qatar’s, so it leans slightly more towards more secular Muslim countries.
Full Ranking of Countries and Territories Most Similar to Bahrain
All data accurate as of 2020.
Most Similar Demographics: Kuwait
Most Similar Culture: Qatar
Most Similar Government: Kuwait
Most Similar Infrastructure: Qatar
Most Similar Geography: Qatar
Least Similar Demographics: Burundi
Least Similar Culture: North Korea
Least Similar Government: Bolivia
Least Similar Infrastructure: Mozambique
Least Similar Geography: Bhutan