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.
There are many countries in South and Central America with a lot of similarity to Bolivia. Latin American countries are especially similar to Bolivia since they are generally Catholic, speak Romance languages, and are neither especially poor, nor especially rich. Like Bolivia, the countries of Peru, Ecuador, and Paraguay also have a high degree of Native South American influence. Furthermore, these countries all have tropical climates.
Top 10 Places Most Similar to Bolivia
- Peru, like Bolivia, has a significant amount of Quechuan speaking people. They were both part of the Incan Empire. Peru and Bolivia have mostly tropical climates with some mountainous desert areas. In fact, most of the area of both countries drains to the Amazon River. In addition, their infrastructure is similar. Both countries use both Type A and Type C electrical outlets.
- Paraguay is the only other landlocked South American country. Paraguay gained control over a large section of Bolivia during the Chaco War. Both countries have many speakers of indigenous South American languages. However, Guarani is not even in the same language family as Quechua and Aymara, the indigenous languages most spoken in Bolivia. Still, both countries are democracies, but have little rule of law. They also have similar laws.
- Ecuador is located in the Andes Mountains and has a significant population of Quechuan speakers, like Peru and Bolivia. In addition, their governmental policies are similar. Both countries have outlawed life in prison and prioritize nature over economic development. However, Ecuador has a bigger percentage of people with African ancestry than Peru or Bolivia.
- Colombia is yet another mountainous South American country that is covered by a large percentage of rainforest on this list. After Spanish colonization, both Colombia and Bolivia were originally part of the Viceroy of Peru, before gaining their respective independences. However, Colombia has a larger percentage of people with African and European ancestry. In addition, it uses a different electrical voltage, railroad track gauge, and digital TV broadcast standard.
- Guatemala is the most similar county to Bolivia outside of South America. Both countries have a high percentage of Native American ancestry and many people there still natively speak indigenous languages, not Spanish. However Guatemala’s indigenous Mayan culture is quite different from Bolivia’s. Still, they are also among the poorest countries in Latin America. The average age of the population in both countries is less than 25.
- Nicaragua, 7. Honduras, 8. Mexico, 9. Venezuela, 10. El Salvador
Four of the five least similar countries to Bolivia are located on the Arabian peninsula. These countries are all far wealthier and more developed due to their oil production. Their landscapes are also far less forested and mostly barren. Moreover, they have more coastline than Bolivia. These Muslim countries are also all still ruled by absolute monarchs and in general have more conservative laws than Bolivia. With the exception of Saudi Arabia, their population densities are much higher than Bolivia’s as well.
Top 10 Places Least Similar to Bolivia
- Japan is an archipelago in the Pacific Ocean, in contrast to landlocked Bolivia. The country has little technological or cultural similarity to Japan. The country drives on the left and has a much denser network of trains. However, Japan and Bolivia do share some very distant genetic similarity, due to the large Native American population, which has roots in Asia. In addition, they are both mountainous.
- Bahrain is a densely populated country on an island in the Persian Gulf. Its people are wealthier than Bolivians and its infrastructure is more developed. Its climate is much hotter and drier than Bolivia’s. Most of its residents live close to the coast, in contrast to Bolivia. It also has many more males than females, due to an influx of construction workers.
- Kuwait is quite similar to Bahrain. It is located in the Arabian Desert between Iraq and Saudi Arabia. It is a wealthy, developed, and highly urbanized country. Most of its water is desalinized ocean water, while Bolivia relies on groundwater. Still, unlike the other countries on this list, most of its borders are land, not coastline.
- Qatar is yet another small Arabian country on this list. It is a peninsula in the Persian Gulf, connected to Saudi Arabia. It has one of the highest GDPs per capita in the world in contrast to Bolivia. In addition, its climate is much drier and its terrain is quite flat. The country also has many more skyscrapers. Not only is it less democratic, but it also has a higher degree of rule of law when compared to Bolivia. However, both countries rely on natural gas to create electricity.
- Saudi Arabia has an autocratic government with conservative Muslim laws, in contrast to Bolivia’s more democratic government. Saudi Arabia bans gambling, alcohol, and prostitution. In addition, its gun control laws are less restrictive. However, both countries have a low population density and also do not have a high percentage of agricultural land.
- United Arab Emirates, 7. South Korea, 8. Singapore, 9. Israel, 10. Taiwan
Bolivia is like if Peru was more like Zimbabwe
The data shows that Peru is the most similar country to Bolivia. Few countries are significantly more similar to Bolivia than Peru, since Bolivia has many unique traits. Interestingly enough, although Zimbabwe has little overall similarity to these countries, it has many more characteristics in common with Bolivia than Peru. Zimbabwe and Bolivia are landlocked and have significant amounts of tropical savanna lands, unlike Peru. Bolivia is also less wealthy and less developed than Peru, so its average standard of living is closer to Zimbabwe’s. Furthermore, both countries have bicameral legislatures and American-style high courts. Moreover, the leadership of both countries has placed an emphasis on the rights of their native people and are fiercely anti-colonialist.
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