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 Cape Verde
Cape Verde is one of the most unique countries in the world. It is located off the coast of Africa, but it has more characteristics in common with Latin America. Its people are mostly Catholic and they natively speak Portuguese. Interestingly enough, none of its most similar countries are close in proximity. It is one of the rare countries that has its most similar countries located on four different continents. However, the five most similar countries all border the Atlantic Ocean.
- Brazil is located across the Atlantic Ocean from Cape Verde. It is another former Portuguese colony that is mostly Catholic. Both countries brought many African slaves to work in agriculture, although Brazil has a much larger population with European ancestry. Brazil’s climate also gets much more rainfall and it is far less mountainous. Both countries are democracies, but they have little rule of law.
- Angola is another former Portuguese colony in Africa, so most people in these countries have African ancestry. Both countries benefited from the military aid of Russia in their bids to become independent countries. One big difference is that Angola has an authoritarian government ruled by a single party, while Cape Verde is more democratic. Angola also gets more rainfall, although corn is the primary crop in both countries.
- Dominican Republic is another island nation in the Atlantic Ocean, although it is closer to North America than Africa. Both countries have a mix of people with African and European ancestry. They also speak Romance languages and are mostly Catholic. The countries also have a similar level of development. They are neither extremely poor nor wealthy. Both are reliant on oil imports to create electricity. One big difference is that Dominicans are more interested in baseball than soccer.
- Portugal discovered Cape Verde in the 15th Century. Before it was uninhabited. Cape Verde only became completely independent of Portugal in 1975. The countries have a fairly similar climate, although Portugal is slightly wetter and cooler. Portugal also has a higher standard of living. In addition, most of its people have European ancestry and their average age is much older. Although Cape Verde’s government uses the parliamentary system, their laws are quite similar. Both countries allow same-sex marriage, abortion, and do not allow life in prison sentences.
- Namibia is located in Southern Africa. It is another African country that borders the Atlantic Ocean and has a hot, dry climate. They are also among the most developed countries in Africa. However, Namibia has some big differences as well. Its official language is English and most of its people natively speak Niger-Congo languages. Furthermore, although both countries are mostly Christian, the majority of its people are Protestant.
- Mexico, 7. Haiti, 8. Nicaragua, 9. El Salvador, 10. Guinea-Bissau
São Tomé and Príncipe would likely be Cape Verde’s most similar country, but it was too small to collect reliable data for this project. Somewhat surprisingly, Guinea-Bissau is not high on the list. One reason is that its population is mostly Muslim. Despite both countries being located fairly closely together, Guinea-Bissau gets far more rainfall, in addition to being more forested, and less mountainous. The country’s standard of living is also much lower than Cape Verde’s.
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Top 10 Countries Least Similar to Cape Verde
Four of the five least similar countries to Cape Verde are located in East Asia. Not only is their ancestry quite different, but also their culture and geography. These five also countries get much more rainfall than Cape Verde. In addition, four of the five least similar do not use the Latin alphabet and also natively speak languages completely unrelated to Portuguese. With the exception of North Korea, these countries are far more developed than Cape Verde.
- Japan is another mountainous and densely populated archipelago, however it has little else in common with Cape Verde. Its demographics, culture, and infrastructure are especially different. Japan drives on the left side of the road and uses type A, B electrical outlets. While Japan has one of the densest railroad networks in the world, Cape Verde does not even have railroad. Japan’s population is also older and wealthier than Cape Verde.
- North Korea is another East Asian country on this list, although in many respects it is quite different from Japan. Its government is far less democratic. While Cape Verde does not have much of a military, North Korea has the highest percentage of people in the military in the world. One similarity is that a significant portion of the farmland in both countries is used to grow corn, despite the fact that Cape Verde’s climate is much hotter and drier.
- South Korea‘s culture and demographics are far different from Cape Verde. It has one of the most educated populations in the world. Their agriculture is also quite different. South Korea mostly grows rice, while Cape Verde mostly grows corn. One thing that they do have in common is that South Korea also has a significant Christian population. Both countries drive on the right and use Type C, F electrical outlets, although South Korea’s technology is more advanced.
- Singapore is a densely populated urbanized island in Southeast Asia. The country is full of skyscrapers and its people are much wealthier than Cape Verdeans. It was once a British colony before becoming independent, but most of its people have Chinese ancestry. Still, Christianity is practiced by a large portion of the population, although it also has significant populations of Muslims and Buddhists as well.
- Taiwan is yet another East Asian country on this list. Its infrastructure is much more developed than Cape Verde. The countries also have extremely dissimilar demographics and culture. Although both countries have a hot climate, Taiwan gets far more rainfall. However, both their governments are democratic, although their laws are somewhat different. Taiwan allows same sex marriage, but does not allow gambling.
- Brunei, 7. China, 8. Myanmar, 9. Thailand, 10. Bangladesh
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Cape Verde is like if Brazil was more like Djibouti
Cape Verde’s most similar country is Brazil, but it also has many differences from it. The data indicates that Djibouti is one country that has many of the aspects that Cape Verde has, but Brazil does not. For example, Brazil is mostly tropical rainforest, while Cape Verde and Djibouti are far more sparsely vegetated due to their dry climates. Both countries is located close to coast and they are fairly densely populated, unlike Brazil. Cape Verde and Djibouti are also less developed than Brazil. Furthermore, most of the people in Cape Verde and Djibouti have African ancestry, unlike people in Brazil.
Full Ranking of Countries and Territories Most Similar to Cape Verde
All data accurate as of 2020.
Most Similar Demographics: Dominican Republic
Most Similar Culture: Brazil
Most Similar Government: North Macedonia
Most Similar Infrastructure: Equatorial Guinea
Most Similar Geography: Eritrea
Least Similar Demographics: Japan
Least Similar Culture: Japan
Least Similar Government: Saudi Arabia
Least Similar Infrastructure: Japan
Least Similar Geography: Singapore