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 Ecuador
Ecuador is a Latin American country. Many countries in the region are similar to it. The top five countries most similar to Ecuador have Spanish as their official language and are predominately Catholic. Furthermore, they all mountainous and border the Pacific Ocean. Their climates are tropical, except for at high altitudes. The most similar countries to Ecuador are also neither especially poor, nor especially wealthy.
- Colombia and Ecuador were part of one country, until 1830. As a result, their cultures are very similar. Ecuador’s flag is nearly identical to Colombia, except that it has a coat of arms on it. One difference is that Ecuador’s demographics are slightly different since it has more indigenous people. Ecuadorians are also less interested in baseball than Colombians. Still, both countries have won Cycling medals at the Olympics.
- Peru is another country located in the Andes Mountains that also has a significant population of Quechuan speakers. This is in part due to the fact that both their lands were once part of the Incan Empire. In addition, their governments are similar since they are both multi-party democracies with unicameral legislatures. Both countries also have mandatory military service and legalized prostitution. However, Ecuador has a bigger percentage of people with African ancestry than Peru. It also have more areas of desert.
- Costa Rica is the highest Central American country on this list. It is especially similar to Ecuador in regards to technology. Both have 3′ 6″ gauge railroad track, although their railroads are not heavily used. They also have Type A, B electrical outlets and use 911 as their emergency number due to American influence. However, Costa Rica has a higher standard of living than Ecuador.
- El Salvador is the only Central American country that borders only the Pacific Ocean. Interestingly enough, both countries primarily use the U.S. dollar as their legal tender. Still, El Salvador’s population density is much higher than Ecuador. In addition, El Salvador has a higher percentage of Protestants. Furthermore, it has a much higher murder rate and as a result has far more women than men in the country.
- Honduras and Ecuador both have a tropical climate and are also quite mountainous. In addition, they have fairly similar demographics and standards of living. However, their diets are different since the main staple food in Honduras is corn, while Ecuadorians eat more wheat, rice, and potatoes. Still, both countries do eat a lot of fruits. Unfortunately, like El Salvador, Honduras has a much higher murder rate than Ecuador.
- Panama, 7. Venezuela, 8. Nicaragua, 9. Guatemala, 10. Mexico
Top 10 Countries Least Similar to Ecuador
Interestingly enough, the five least similar countries to Ecuador are all located on the Arabian Peninsula. Their terrain is relatively flat and their land is most barren desert. They are all Arabic-speaking countries that are predominately Muslim. Due to their oil wealth, these countries have become much richer and more developed than Ecuador. They are also less democratic and are ruled by monarchs.
- Bahrain is a small, densely populated island in the Persian Gulf. Its climate is extremely dry, in contrast to the tropical rainforests of Ecuador. A high percentage of its land is built-up. Everyone in the country lives near the coast and its landscape is quite flat. The country has a mix of Sunni and Shia Muslims, although over 10 percent of the country is actually Christian.
- Kuwait is one of the wealthiest countries (per capita) in the world. It borders the Persian Gulf, like Bahrain. It is another highly developed and highly urbanized Muslim country on this list. Its terrain is quite flat and it does not get much rainfall. Its laws also are not as extreme as some other countries on this list.
- Qatar is yet another oil-rich country located in the Persian Gulf. Its landscape is quite dry and flat in contrast to Ecuador. It also has one of the highest GDPs per capita in the world. In addition, Qatar’s government is an absolute monarchy, not a democracy. Due to many migrant workers, it has far more males than females.
- United Arab Emirates is extremely similar to the other Arab countries on this list. It boasts the tallest building in the world, Burj Khalifa. Like Qatar it also has many migrant workers, so a high percentage of the country is males. Many of its workers are from India, so it does have a significant Hindu population in addition to Muslim.
- Saudi Arabia has an autocratic government with no congress or supreme court. Its laws are also extremely conservative, in contrast to Ecuador’s more democratic and anarchic government which has more liberal policies. It criminalizes same sex marriage and prostiution. It also does not allow alcohol. Still, abortion is heavily restricted in both countries. The country is also less densely populated than Ecuador, unlike other countries on this list.
- Sudan, 7. Somalia, 8. North Korea 9. Chad, 10. Yemen
Ecuador is like if Colombia was more like Peru
Colombia is the most similar country to Ecuador. No countries are a lot more similar to Ecuador than Colombia, but Peru is slightly more. Both Peru and Ecuador only border the Pacific Ocean. Furthermore, they both have a significant percentage of native Quechuan speakers. In addition, their digital broadcasting standard is ISDB, unlike Colombia.
All data accurate as of 2020.