El Salvador’s Most Similar Countries

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.

El Salvador is a Latin American country. Many countries in the region are similar to it. The five most similar countries are predominately Catholic and most of their people natively speak Spanish. These countries are all part of the Central American Integration System, an organization for economic and political cooperation in the region. Furthermore, these countries all have a similar tropical climate. 

Top 10 Places Most Similar to El Salvador

  1. Honduras is to the northeast of El Salvador. Although both countries are mostly Catholic, they also have many Protestants. The two countries have a similar diet, since they eat a lot of corn and chicken. They are also quite mountainous and have a similar climate. One difference is that El Salvador is more densely populated and has a much higher percentage of agricultural land.
  2. Guatemala borders both Honduras and El Salvador. Their laws are extremely similar. Both countries are among the most conservative Latin American countries since they do not allow gay marriage or abortion. Both their railroads uniquely use 3-foot gauge tracks. Their people have a mix of European and Native American ancestry. However, Guatemala has far more Mayan speaking people.
  3. Nicaragua is also quite similar to El Salvador, although they do not border each other. Even though their geographies are still quite similar, Nicaragua has far more freshwater, since Lake Nicaragua is the second largest lake in Latin America, after Lake Titicaca. Their agriculture is incredibly similar as both countries grow a lot of corn, coffee, and beans, but Nicaragua has a lower percentage of agricultural land.
  4. Costa Rica is yet another Central American country on this list. However, it has some significant differences with El Salvador. Costa Rica is more developed and wealthier than El Salvador. Its population is older and it has a lower percentage of farmers. Furthermore, Costa Rica is much safer. Their agricultural products are also different since Costa Rica does not grow as much corn.
  5. Dominican Republic is the only country in the top five that is not in Central America, since it is located on the island of Hispanola in the Caribbean Sea. Still, it has a lot in common with El Salvador. It is another densely populated country in the region. They both do not allow abortion or same-sex marriage. They also have abolished the death penalty and even life in prison. One big difference is that El Salvador has far fewer people with African ancestry.
  6. Panama, 7. Colombia, 8. Ecuador, 9. Mexico, 10. Venezuela

The least similar countries to El Salvador all have a majority Muslim population. Furthermore, they are all located in deserts. The four least similar countries speak Arabic natively. Since El Salvador’s standard of living is neither especially high or low, its least similar countries include some of the wealthiest countries and also some of the poorest countries.

Top 10 Places Least Similar to El Salvador

  1. Sudan is an African country located in the Sahara Desert. Its infrastructure and standard of living have suffered greatly due to civil war. It recently lost some territory to the newly formed country of South Sudan. Its literacy rates and education levels are lower than El Salvador’s. The country’s diet is especially dissimilar from El Salvador since they mostly eat sorghum based food, not corn.
  2. Saudi Arabia is across the Red Sea from Sudan. Its government is an absolute monarchy and the country does not even have a congress. Its laws are also far more conservative than in El Salvador. Same sex relationships and alcohol are not allowed there. Its climate is also much drier, although the weather in both countries tends to be quite hot. It is also far less densely populated.
  3. Qatar is a small Arabian country. It is located on a peninsula in the Persian Gulf, connected to Saudi Arabia. It has one of the highest GDPs per capita in the world in contrast to El Salvador. In addition, its climate is much drier and its terrain is quite flat. Furthermore, since it has many migrant workers, an unusually high percentage of the population is male.
  4. Bahrain is another oil-rich country that borders the Persian Gulf on this list. It is a small, densely populated island. Bahrain has a mix of densely Sunni and Shia Muslims. The country is highly developed, in contrast to El Salvador. It also has little agricultural land. Still, the land in both countries is located close to the coast.
  5. Afghanistan is the only country that does not speak Arabic in the top five, although they have adopted the Arabic script there. Although both countries natively speak an Indo-European languages, Dari is far different from Spanish. The country is also far different geographically from El Salvador, since it is a landlocked, sparsely populated country. Furthermore, it is not as developed as El Salvador.
  6. United Arab Emirates, 7. Yemen, 8. Somalia, 9. Kuwait, 10. Oman

El Salvador is like if Honduras was more like Chile

El Salvador and Honduras are extremely similar countries, so no countries are a lot more like El Salvador than Honduras. Still, the data indicates that Chile is one country that has slightly more in common with El Salvador than Honduras. Most of the land in Chile and El Salvador is close to the Pacific Ocean coast. Furthermore, Chile and El Salvador have a lower percentage of people with African ancestry.

Full Ranking of Countries and Territories Most Similar to El Salvador

Country Superlatives

Most Similar Demographics: Honduras
Most Similar Culture: Honduras
Most Similar Government: Guatemala
Most Similar Infrastructure: Colombia
Most Similar Geography: Costa Rica

Least Similar Demographics: Niger
Least Similar Culture: Japan
Least Similar Government: Saudi Arabia
Least Similar Infrastructure: Singapore
Least Similar Geography: Mongolia

Do you agree with the list?
Please leave any thoughts in the comments section.

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