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.
Similar to other Latin American countries
Latin American countries have a high degree of similarity with Brazil. Their people are racially diverse and natively speak Romance languages. They also tend to be religious and most people are Catholic. Furthermore, these countries are neither especially poor, nor especially rich. Their governments also have similar liberal laws except in regards to abortion. The top five most similar countries to Brazil are all located in South America.
Top 10 Places Most Similar to Brazil
- Colombia is the most similar country to Brazil, despite speaking Spanish instead of Portuguese. Both countries share similar demographics and level of development. In addition, both have significant portions of their territory covered by rainforest. However, Colombia is much more mountainous than Brazil. Another difference is that Colombia uses a different railroad track gauge, electrical outlet, and TV broadcasting standard.
- Venezuela‘s quite geography is very similar to Brazil and Colombia, since it is also mostly rainforest. It also borders the Atlantic Ocean and is less mountainous than Colombia. The one big difference is that Venezuela’s government is less democratic and more unstable, due to the recent presidential crisis. Still, their laws are extremely similar, except that Venezuela does not allow same sex marriage. Both countries like to play soccer, but Venezuelans are also interested in baseball.
- Uruguay is just to the south of Brazil, so the climate of Southern Brazil closely resembles Uruguay. As a result, the major crop in both countries is soybean. Furthermore, it is another relatively flat country that borders the Atlantic Ocean. Although most Uruguayans are Catholic, they are les religious than Brazilians. Furthermore, Uruguay is less racially diverse, since its population has mostly European ancestry.
- Paraguay is to the southwest of Brazil, therefore its climate and landscape is especially similar to southern Brazil. Their agriculture is also very similar. Both countries grow a lot of corn and soybean. The countries both get most of their electricity from hydropower. In fact they even share a large dam on Paraná River at their border. However, unlike other countries on this list it is landlocked. Another difference is that Paraguayans have more native South American ancestry and many of their people still speak the indigenous language, Guarani.
- Argentina is even further to the south than Uruguay or Argentina, so its climate is cooler and also drier than Brazil. Still, they both 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. Both countries are soccer powerhouses, but also have significant interest in basketball and sailing. Like Uruguay, it is also less racially diverse than Brazil.
- Ecuador, 7. Peru, 8. Dominican Republic, 9. Panama, 10. El Salvador
Four of the five least similar countries to Brazil have large Muslim populations. These countries are not as wealthy as Brazil and their infrastructure is not as well developed. Furthermore, these countries are less democratic and have far more conservative laws. Their climates are also drier than Brazil’s and their landscapes have little forested land. Japan is only country of the five least similar countries that does not have these characteristics.
Top 10 Places Least Similar to Brazil
- Yemen is by far the least similar country to Brazil. It is located in the Arabian Desert and borders the Indian Ocean. It is a conservative Muslim country with little cultural or geographic similarity to Brazil. The country is much drier and its landscape is much more mountainous, although both countries typically have high temperatures. Due to on-going civil war, the country’s infrastructure is not well developed. While Brazil uses mostly hydropower to create electricity, Yemen relies on fossil fuels.
- Somalia is located across the Gulf of Aden from Yemen. Its desert landscape contrasts Brazil’s lush tropical rainforests. Its laws are also extremely conservative, compared to more liberal Brazil. The government prohibits both same sex relationships and also alcohol. In addition, Somalia’s demographics are also dissimilar. Like Yemen, the country’s government has a great deal of instability. Still, unlike other countries on this list it typically uses the Latin alphabet, like Brazil.
- Eritrea is located in Africa, across the Red Sea from Yemen. It is the only country on this list with a majority Christian population, however its Christians are of the unique Oriental Orthodox religion. Its government has been a dictatorship for almost 20 years. Eritreans also natively speak Afroasiatic languages and use the Ge’ez script. In contrast to Brazil, most of its people are work in agriculture, so the country is far less wealthy.
- Japan is the least similar country to Brazil in East Asia. Not only are Japan’s religious practices completely different from Brazil’s, but Japanese are also far less religious. The languages and writing systems of these countries are also completely unrelated. Furthermore, Japan’s infrastructure is far more developed than Brazil’s. However, both countries are multi-party democracies, although there is less rule of law in Brazil.
- Afghanistan is an extremely mountainous and landlocked Asian country with a dry climate. Its infrastructure and government also differ significantly from Brazil. Like the other Muslim countries on this list, its laws are far more conservative than Brazil’s. Afghans are also more interested in cricket than soccer. Still, the native languages of both countries are distantly related, since Pashto and Dari are both part of the Indo-European language family.
- Sudan, 7. North Korea, 8. Qatar, 9. Niger, 10. Bhutan
Brazil is like if Colombia was more like Portugal
Although Colombia is the most similar country to Brazil, there is one major way in which they are different. Colombia speaks Spanish while Brazil speaks Portuguese. This is the main reason the data indicates that Portugal is much more similar to Brazil than Colombia. There are also some other reasons. Brazil and Portugal use Type C electrical outlets, unlike Colombia. Brazilians also have more European ancestry than Colombians.
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