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.
Cambodia is a Southeast Asian country. There are few countries that have a high degree of similarity to Cambodia. The top five most similar countries have tropical climates and rice is by far their biggest crop. These countries also tend to not be highly developed. They generally have mix of Indian and East Asian influences to varying degrees. Buddhism is the primary religion in the top four countries.
Top 10 Places Most Similar to Cambodia
- Laos and Cambodia were both part of the Khmer Empire and more recently, French Indochina, so the countries have significant demographic and cultural similarities. They have similar public holidays, like New Year’s Day in April, Vesak Day, and Women’s Day. They are also some of the least developed countries in the region. However, Laos is landlocked and more mountainous. Another difference is that although they use similar writing systems, Lao and Khmer are not even part of the same language family.
- Myanmar is yet another country that practices Theravada Buddhism on this list. Cambodia and Myanmar have similar demographics. Most of their people are farmers. Both countries have a similar population density and are not very urbanized. One big difference is that Myanmar was once part of British India, so it has a greater British and Indian influence than Laos. Another difference is that Myanmar borders the Indian Ocean, not the Pacific Ocean.
- Thailand and Cambodia were part of the Khmer Empire before the kingdom declined. Their people have relatively similar culture, although their languages are unrelated. In addition, both countries are constitutional monarchies and have similar laws. Furthermore, their geography is nearly identical. Both countries are not very mountainous and they also have a lot of agricultural land. However, Cambodia is poorer and less developed than Thailand.
- Vietnam, like Cambodia and Laos, was once part of French Indochina. Vietnamese and Khmer are part of the same language family, although Vietnamese now uses the Latin alphabet. Most of the people in both countries are Buddhist, but Vietnam differs significantly from the top three countries since its people follow the Mahayana tradition. In addition, its people tend to be less religious due to its Communist government’s influence.
- Indonesia is significantly less similar to Cambodia than other countries on this list. It was once a Dutch colony before becoming independent. Most people there are Muslim, not Buddhist. Furthermore, they drive on the left and use a different railroad gauge than Cambodia. Still, both countries border the Indian Ocean and have a tropical climate. Their people also have East Asian ancestry. Furthermore, their diets are both primarily made up of rice and fish.
- Philippines, 7. Malaysia, 8. Bangladesh, 9. Madagascar, 10. Sri Lanka
Four of the five least similar countries to Cambodia were once ruled by Great Britain. As a result, a majority of their people have Caucasian ancestry, speak English, and are mostly Christian. These countries also have a much higher standard of living than Cambodia and their governments are more democratic. Four of the five least similar countries have much cooler climates than Cambodia.
Top 10 Places Least Similar to Cambodia
- United States is vastly different from Cambodia in all five factors: demographics, culture, politics, technology, and geography. One thing they do share is that they were both European colonies at some point, however Cambodia was colonized by the French, unlike the United States which has a contrasting British influence. Cambodia’s government is vastly different. It is dominated by one party. It also has much stricter gun control laws and does not impose the death penalty.
- Iceland is one of the coldest countries in the world. It is also quite mountainous, unlike Cambodia. There is also little in common culturally, since Cambodians send to be really religious, while Iceland is primarily Christian and has many atheists. Although both countries rely on hydropower for electricity, Iceland uses a much greater amount of energy per person. While both countries tend to eat a lot of seafood, people from Iceland eat more wheat and potatoes than rice.
- Canada, like the United States, has few traits in common with Cambodia. It is much colder and is more heavily forested. However, one similarity is that they are both are constitutional monarchies. Canada also has less guns per capita and stricter gun laws, making it more similar to Cambodia in these respects than the United States. Canada’s government also has more generous entitlements for its people. It has a single payer healthcare system and unemployment benefits, unlike Cambodia.
- Australia unlike other countries on this list, is relatively close in distance to Cambodia. However, while Cambodia is mostly tropical seasonal forests, Australia is mostly desert and has completely different flora and fauna. In addition, its technology is quite different since it drives on the left and uses Type I electrical outlets, although the voltage is the same. Furthermore, sports are more popular in Australia than Cambodia.
- Ireland is a mostly Catholic country located on an island in the North Atlantic Ocean. While both Cambodia and Ireland are not especially mountainous, Ireland’s climate is colder and the country has a much lower percentage for forested land. While Cambodia grows mostly rice, Ireland’s agricultural fields are mostly devoted to growing barley. However, one thing they have in common is that boxing is popular in both countries.
- New Zealand, 7. Great Britain, 8. Switzerland, 9. Norway, 10. Finland
Cambodia is like a mixture of Laos and Thailand
Cambodia has traits of both Laos and Thailand. They are the two most similar countries to it. One big difference between Laos and Cambodia is their geography. Laos is more mountainous and landlocked. Thailand and Cambodia are both relatively flat and border the Pacific Ocean. Their governments both have constitutional monarchies. However, Laos and Cambodia are controlled by one party, while Thailand has many different parties.
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