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.
East Timor has a unique combination of characteristics. It is a transitional country between Southeast Asia and the South Pacific. It was once a colony of Portugal, but was also ruled by Indonesia for many years. Its people have a mix of East Asian and Melanesian ancestry. The five most similar countries are also countries located on islands in the Pacific Ocean. They all have a tropical climate. Furthermore, these countries all natively speak Austronesian languages and adopted the Latin alphabet.
Top 10 Places Most Similar to East Timor
- Philippines is the only other country with a predominately Catholic population in Asia, since it was once a colony of Spain. Their climate is also especially similar to East Timor’s. However there are some big differences too. English is more widespread in the Philippines, since it was ruled by the United States for many years. Furthermore, their infrastructure is quite different since the Philippines drives on the right and uses Type A, B electrical outlets.
- Vanuatu is another island archipelago in the Pacific Ocean. It was once jointly administered by both Great Britain and France. Both countries are predominately Christian, but Vanuatu is mostly Protestant. In addition, the typical diet of these countries is significantly different, since people in Vanuatu eat more coconuts, while in East Timor corn and rice are the biggest staple foods. Another difference in their infrastructure is that Vanuatu drives on the right side of the road.
- Indonesia ruled over East Timor until its independence in 2002. Both countries cultivate a lot of rice and corn, although East Timor has a higher percentage of coffee fields. One big difference between the countries is that Indonesians are mostly Muslim. In addition, while Indonesia’s energy comes mostly from coal, East Timor relies on oil to create electricity. Still, both use Type C, F electrical outlets.
- Solomon Islands and East Timor are both quite mountainous and most of their land is near the coasts. However, East Timor is less densely forested. The countries have about the same standard of living. Still, Solomon Islanders are mostly Melanesian, and have less East Asian ancestry than people from East Timor. Their infrastructure is also similar. Both countries drive on the left and do not have railroads. They also both rely on oil to create electricity.
- Samoa is a tropical country located in Polynesia. Both countries have a mix of East Asian and Melanesian ancestry. In addition, both countries are mostly Christian, although Samoa has more Protestants and Mormons. Another difference is that Samoans tend to be more interested in rugby than East Timor. Its agriculture is also less diversified, since Samoa primarily produce coconuts.
- Papua New Guinea, 7. Madagascar, 8. Guinea-Bissau, 9. Haiti, 10. Mozambique
Two regions are especially different from East Timor: North America and the Arabian Peninsula. These countries are all far wealthier than East Timor. Four of the five were once colonies or protectorates of Great Britain. Their climates are significantly different from East Timor as well. Furthermore, the majority of the people in the five least similar countries have Caucasian ancestry.
Top 10 Places Least Similar to East Timor
- Canada is the least similar country to East Timor. The countries share little technological or geographic similarity. In addition, their climates are significantly different since Canada is one of the coldest countries with relatively little precipitation compared to East Timor. It is also much more sparsely populated. Not only is Canada’s infrastructure much more developed, but it has completely different standards. Still, both countries are mostly Christian and use the Latin alphabet and are mostly Christian.
- United States is similar to Canada. It also has little in common with East Timor in demographics, culture, politics, and technology. One thing the countries do share is that they have very lack gun restrictions. East Timor also has a relatively high gun ownership rate. In addition, there are also many Catholics in the United States. Interestingly enough, despite their differences, East Timor has adopted the US dollar as currency.
- United Arab Emirates is a much wealthier country than East Timor. The country is mostly Muslim and its official language is Arabic. Its cities are full of skyscrapers. Its population density is much higher and its landscape is mostly barren desert, in stark contrast to East Timor. Still, most of the land in both countries is close to the coast.
- Saudi Arabia is yet another wealthy country on the Arabian peninsula, similar to the United Arab Emirates. Unlike East Timor, it is not a democracy and it does not even have a parliament. It also has much more conservative laws. It does not allow gambling or alcohol. While women’s rights are severely limited in Saudi Arabia, a high percentage of women are in East Timor’s parliament. Still, both countries do allow polygamy and do not allow abortion.
- Bahrain is similar to both Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates. It is another wealthy country that is mostly Muslim and has Arabic as an official language on this list. Like East Timor, it is located on an island and most of its land is close to the coast. Still, it is less mountainous, much more densely populated, and more urbanized. At the same time, its government is less extreme than Saudi Arabia’s.
- Finland, 7. Qatar, 8. Israel, 9. Great Britain, 10. Kuwait
East Timor is like if the Philippines was more like Mozambique
East Timor’s most similar country is its neighbor in the Pacific Ocean, the Philippines. However, these countries have some significant differences as well. Mozambique is one country that is much more similar to East Timor than the Philippines. Both East Timor and Mozambique were once colonies of Portugal. In addition, they both drive on the left and use Type C, F electrical outlets, unlike the Philippines. The people in East Timor and Mozambique are less educated and less wealthy than people in the Philippines. Both countries have a high illiteracy rate.
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