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 Colombia
Colombia is a Latin American country. Many countries are similar to it in Central and South America. In fact, the data from the Index supports the notion that it is the region’s most average country. The five most similar countries to Colombia are mostly Catholic and their people natively speak Spanish. Furthermore, these countries are mostly rainforest. They also have a unique mix of people with European, Native American, and African ancestry.
- Ecuador was part of Gran Colombia until 1830. Its flag is also nearly identical to Colombia, except it has a coat of arms on it. Their laws are quite similar. Both allow prostitution and same sex marriage. They have also decriminalized the possession of marijuana. However, its abortion laws are more restrictive. Another difference is that Ecuador has a larger percentage of indigenous people.
- Venezuela is another country that was once part of Gran Colombia. It would easily be the most similar country to Colombia if politics were not a factor. Although both countries use the presidential system of government, Venezuela is less democratic and isn’t an ally of the United States. Colombia and Venezuela’s cultures are especially similar. Both countries have a high rate of homicide. In addition, they both are mostly tropical forests and border the Caribbean Sea.
- Panama was the last country to break away from Colombia, achieving independence in 1903 with the help of the United States. Like Colombia, it borders both the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean, however it is considered to be in North America. They both get a majority of their electrical energy from hydropower. They also have a large amount of high rises and skyscrapers in their major cities. However, Panama is more densely populated and most of its people live close to the coast.
- Peru is another South American country, further south than Ecuador. While both countries are in the Andes Mountains, Peru has some desert areas. In addition, it has many more indigenous people and less people with African ancestry. Still, Colombia and Peru have a lot of traits in common. Both countries grow a significant amount of coffee, rice, and corn.
- Costa Rica‘s agriculture is more similar to Colombia than any other country. Both produce a lot of coffee and sugar. One big difference is that Costa Rica has no active military, while Colombia has the third largest army in the Western Hemisphere. Like Colombia and Panama, it also borders both the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean. However, Costa Rica’s standards of living are higher.
- El Salvador, 7. Mexico, 8. Dominican Republic, 9. Guatemala, 10. Honduras
Top 10 Countries Least Similar to Colombia
The five least similar countries to Colombia are all predominately Muslim. They are also located in desert climates. Most of these countries use the Arabic script to write. Furthermore, their governments are also less democratic than Colombia’s and have far more conservative laws. With the exception of Bahrain, four of the five least similar countries are less developed and their people are not as wealthy.
- Somalia is the least similar country to Colombia. Its governmental policies influenced by its Muslim population are extremely conservative, compared to more liberal Colombia. In addition, it gets far less rainfall, as Colombia is a rainforest, while Somalia is a desert. Still, both countries do use the Latin alphabet, although their languages are completely unrelated.
- Yemen is located in the Arabian Desert across the Gulf of Aden from Somalia. Unlike other countries in on the Arabian peninsula, its infrastructure is far less developed in part due to on-going civil war. However, both countries are mountainous. Their gun control laws are also not especially restrictive.
- Sudan is another country that borders the Red Sea on this list. Its people are mostly Muslim and they natively speak Arabic. Its conservative governmental policies are quite unlike Colombia’s. In addition, its government is lead by the military, following a recent coup. The country’s diet is especially dissimilar from Colombia since they mostly eat sorghum based food.
- Bahrain, in contrast to other countries on this list, is wealthier than Colombia. It is a small, flat, densely populated desert island in the Middle East. Their infrastructure is especially different since they use Type G electrical outlets and a higher voltage. Still, both countries drive on the right side of the road. It is ruled by an absolute monarch, that appoints a head of government to run the country.
- Afghanistan is a landlocked country with a barren landscape due to its high elevation and low average rainfall. While both countries natively speak Indo-European languages, they use different writing systems. The country’s favorite sport is cricket and it does not have a successful soccer team, in contrast to Colombia. Still, both countries primarily use hydropower to create electricity.
- Qatar, 7. Kuwait, 8. North Korea, 9. Niger, 10. Mauritania
Colombia is like if Ecuador was more like Venezuela
The data shows that Colombia is like a mix of its two most similar countries, Ecuador and Venezuela. Colombia borders both the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea, while Ecuador only borders the Pacific Ocean and Venezuela only borders the Caribbean. Colombia is also less mountainous than Ecuador, but more mountainous than Venezuela.
All data accurate as of 2020.