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 Bangladesh
There are relatively few countries with a high degree of similarity to Bangladesh, so it is one of the world’s most unique countries. One reason is that Bangladesh has unique geography. It is one of the most densely populated countries and its terrain is quite flat since it is situated on a river delta. Most of its agricultural land is used to grow rice. There are not many other predominately Muslim countries with this type of geography. The index clearly groups Bangladesh in with other South Asian countries on the Indian Subcontinent.
- India and Bangladesh were united until 1947, so the countries have significant similarities. The biggest difference is that Bangladesh is mostly Muslim, while India is mostly Hindu. Both countries primarily speak Indic languages and use a similar writing system. There is also a significant percentage of Indians who speak Bengali. Both countries drive on the left and use Type D electrical outlets, however India uses a broader rail gauge than Bangladesh.
- Pakistan is also similar to Bangladesh, since it is the only other country on the Indian subcontinent with a majority Muslim population. Both countries prohibit alcohol for Muslims, heavily restrict abortion, and criminalize same sex relationships. However, Pakistan uses an Arabic script, unlike India and Bangladesh. In addition, Pakistan’s geography is significantly different since its climate is much drier. Pakistan is also quite mountainous, while Bangladesh is incredibly flat since it is located in the Ganges river delta.
- Sri Lanka is another tropical country on the Indian subcontinent. Both countries primarily cultivate rice, due to their hot and humid climates. However, the religion of most Sri Lankans is Theravada Buddhism, although they also have a significant amount of Muslims as well. Although Sinhalese script is another writing system related to Brahmi script, Devanagari script is more closely related to Bangla script. Sri Lanka is also wealthier and more developed than Bangladesh.
- Indonesia is the country most similar to Bangladesh outside of the Indian subcontinent. It is another tropical and densely populated Muslim country. However, the ancestry of Indonesians is significantly different since they come mostly from East Asia. In addition, unlike the three most similar country, its native languages and writing system are totally unrelated to Bengali. Furthermore, unlike Bangladesh, Indonesia was once a Dutch colony, so it uses Type C, F electrical outlets and its legal system is based on Civil Law.
- Nepal is a landlocked country that has more mountainous terrain and a more temperate climate than Bangladesh. Furthermore, like India, its people mostly practice Hinduism, not Islam. The countries still do share many similar cultural points such as speaking Indic languages and having a similar writing system. In addition, both countries love to watch cricket. Neither country has won an Olympic medal as well.
- Myanmar, 7. Sierra Leone, 8. Malaysia, 9. Cambodia, 10. Gambia
Top 10 Countries Least Similar to Bangladesh
The least similar countries are all located in North America and the Nordic countries. Their climates are much colder and their population is far less dense. They all have a higher standard of living and more democratic governments. Although the majority of the people in these countries are considered to be Caucasian, their ancestry is still significantly different from Bengalis. Furthermore, these countries are mostly Christian, but are not especially religious.
- Canada was also a colony of Britain, but it is extremely different from Bangladesh. Its sparsely populated, highly urbanized population starkly contrasts Bangladesh’s dense but rural population. The country’s infrastructure is also quite different. It drives on the right, uses standard gauge railroad track, and Type A, B electrical outlets, unlike Bangladesh. Canada’s government also gives its people far more entitlements, like healthcare and unemployment assistance.
- Iceland is a well developed, sparsely populated island. Not only are their people and culture quite different from Bangladesh, but also their geography. Iceland’s climate is much colder and hardly any of their land is used for agriculture. Furthermore, it is much more mountainous. In addition, Iceland is much more democratic. Its laws are far less conservative than Bangladesh. While Iceland is powered by renewable energy sources like geothermal and hydropower, Bangladesh relies on natural gas to create electricity.
- United States, like Canada, is another former colony of Britain, but it is quite different in almost every aspect to Bangladesh. The diet of Bengalis is vastly different from Americans, since Americans eat far more meat and far less rice. In addition, while the United States is a sports powerhouse, Bangladesh has never won a medal at the Olympics and their favorite sport is cricket.
- Finland is a heavily forested Nordic country. Although other countries on this list actually natively speak an Indo-European language that is distantly related to Bengali, Finland’s language is completely unrelated. Still, both countries are quite flat and have water taking up a significant portion of their land.
- Norway is another extremely wealthy country with little similarity to Bangladesh. While Norway is cold and mountainous, Bangladesh is flat and hot. Norway’s government is also far more liberal than Bangladesh. It is also more democratic and has much less corruption. There just isn’t much these countries have in common.
- Switzerland, 7. Sweden, 8. Austria, 9. Japan, 10. New Zealand
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Bangladesh is like if India was more like Indonesia
According to the Index, India is the most similar country to Bangladesh. However, they also have some significant differences as well. The data shows Indonesia is one country that has many of the characteristics of Bangladesh that India lacks. While most people in India are Hindu, most people in Bangladesh and Indonesia are Muslim. As a result, a far higher percentage of their males are circumcised. These countries also tend to have more conservative laws. Furthermore, the climate in Indonesia and Bangladesh is generally more humid than India as well. A higher percentage of their people live in proximity to the coast too.
Full Ranking of Countries and Territories Most Similar to Bangladesh
All data accurate as of 2020.
Most Similar Demographics: Pakistan
Most Similar Culture: Pakistan
Most Similar Government: Uganda
Most Similar Infrastructure: Mynamar
Most Similar Geography: Cambodia
Least Similar Demographics: Japan
Least Similar Culture: Japan
Least Similar Government: United States
Least Similar Infrastructure: United States
Least Similar Geography: Canada