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 Djibouti
Djibouti is similar to many countries in the Sahel region, since it shares some traits of both Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East. The five most similar countries to Djibouti are located in Africa. They all have hot, dry climates. Furthermore, they are predominately Muslim countries. Most of the people in four of the five most similar countries natively speak Afro-Asiatic languages. These countries also tend to be quite poor and do not have well developed infrastructure.
- Somalia is just to the south of Djibouti. Both countries border the Indian Ocean. It is the only other country with a majority Somali-speaking population. While Somalia was created from the former British Somaliland and Italian Somaliland colonies, Djibouti was created from French Somaliland. However, Djibouti is a much smaller country and is more developed. Its government is also less anarchic.
- Mauritania is another country that has a confluence of North African and Sub-Saharan African characteristics. In addition, both countries were once colonies of France, although French is no longer an official language in Mauritania. Still, the people in both countries natively speak Afroasiatic languages. One big difference is that Mauritania is located on the Atlantic Ocean, while Djibouti borders the Indian Ocean. Still, their diets are fairly similar. Wheat and rice are their biggest staple foods.
- Niger is yet another predominately Muslim country that was colonized by France. Djibouti and Niger also have a similar climate, although Niger is landlocked and more sparsely populated. Furthermore, most of the people in both countries natively speak Afroasiatic languages, although some people speak languages from the Nilo-Saharan and Niger-Congo families. These countries also have some of the lowest literacy rates in the world. However, the diet in Niger is far different from that in Djibouti, since they mostly eat millet and sorghum products.
- Senegal, like Mauritania, is a former French colony on the Atlantic coast. However, most of its people speak languages from the Niger-Congo family. Furthermore, while both Djibouti and Senegal have dry climates, Senegal’s landscape is less barren and has more vegetation. Still, both countries use the presidential form of government. Abortion is not allowed in both countries, but gambling, alcohol, and polygamy are legal. One big difference in their laws is that prostitution is allowed in Senegal.
- Egypt is another country in Africa that is mostly barren desert. Both countries have unstable governments and censorship of journalists is widespread. Their laws are fairly similar as well. They both allow gambling and polygamy, but do not allow prostitution or abortion. However, Egyptians have more Caucasian ancestry than people from Djibouti. Its people are also wealthier and better educated.
- Algeria, 7. Mali, 8. Sudan, 9. Yemen, 10. Guinea
Top 10 Countries Least Similar to Djibouti
Two types of countries have especially little in common with Djibouti: former British colonies and East Asia. These countries all have a much higher standard of living. Four of the five least similar countries have more temperate climates and they all get more rainfall. As a result, these countries all have a much higher percentage of forested land. Their governments are also more democratic than Djibouti’s.
- Japan not only has the least similar culture and demographics to Djibouti, but also infrastructure. Japan drives on the left and has a completely different electrical system, using 100 volts with Type A,B outlets. Their climates are far different as well. Still, both countries are major ports and have a lot of shipping infrastructure. Most of the land in both countries is close to the coast as well.
- Taiwan is another densely populated Asian country on this list. Like Japan, its demographics and culture are quite different from Djibouti. Most of its people are ethnically Chinese. Its infrastructure is also far more developed than Djibouti as well. Both countries do have a hot climate, but Djibouti is much drier. Furthermore, Taiwan’s laws are more liberal than Djibouti, since it allows same sex marriage and abortion.
- New Zealand is another country on this list located in the Pacific Ocean. Like Japan, it is another country with infrastructure that is far different from Djibouti. The country drives on the left and uses 3’6″ railroad gauge, and Type I electrical outlets, although the voltage and frequency are the same. Although both countries are fairly mountainous, New Zealand’s climate is colder and wetter.
- Canada is one of the coldest countries and most sparsely populated countries, in contrast to Djibouti. A large portion of the country is forested. Both countries do have French as one of their official languages, although English is more commonly used in Canada. Politically they are also far different. Canada uses the parliamentary system of government and has far different laws. It also has a bicameral legislature, unlike Djibouti.
- United States is another North American country with little similarity to Djibouti. Still, there are also some parts of the United States that are desert. Its technology is especially different from Djibouti, since it has so many guns per capita and its military is much more sophisticated. However, both countries do use the standard gauge and drive on the right side of the road. Like Canada, its laws are also far different from Djibouti’s.
- Ireland, 7. Great Britain, 8. South Korea, 9. Finland, 10. Norway
Djibouti is like if Somalia was more similar to Tunisia
Djibouti and Somalia are quite similar in demographics and culture, so they are the most similar countries to each other. However, Djibouti was colonized by France. It is also more developed and less anarchic. Therefore, the data indicates that Tunisia is one country that has many of the traits of Djibouti that Somalia lacks. It was also a French colony and its infrastructure is better developed than Somalia.
All data accurate as of 2020.