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 Eritrea
Eritrea is a Sub-Saharan African country, but it is one of the most unique places in the region. The country has a rare combination of characteristics, so only Ethiopia is extremely similar. Like many African countries, Eritrea has a mix of Christians and Muslims. It also has many traits of Middle Eastern countries, since its people natively speak Afro-Asiatic languages and its land is primarily barren desert. The five most similar countries to Eritrea are all located on the border between North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa.
- Ethiopia is by far the most similar country to Eritrea. The country took over Eritrea in 1962, but it regained its independence in the 1990s. Both countries have a mix of Sunni Muslims and Oriental Orthodox Christians. In addition, both countries use the unique Ge’ez script. They also speak Afroasiatic languages, although Amharic is not widely spoken in Eritrea. Still, Tigrinya is an official language in both countries. However, Ethiopia is landlocked and its climate is cooler and wetter.
- Sudan is another country in Africa that that has coastline on the Red Sea. Most of the people in both countries speak a Semitic language, although Sudan uses the Arabic script. In addition, the agriculture of both countries is quite similar. They both grow sorghum, millet, and sesame. However, Sudan has far fewer Christians than Eritrea. Their laws are also slightly different, since abortion and prostiution are prohibited in Sudan, but polygamy is legal.
- Somalia is another country on the Horn of Africa. The Somali language used to use the Ge’ez script before they switched to the Latin alphabet. Although Somali is an Afro-Asiatic language, it is not part of the Semitic branch. However, like Sudan, Somalia has far fewer Christians than Eritrea. It is also less mountainous. Still, both countries have an ample amount of coastline.
- Chad is to the west of Sudan. It is another African country that uses a Semitic language as its lingua franca, although French is another official language used there. In addition, it has large amounts of both Muslims and Christians. Furthermore, both countries have been ruled by authoritarian governments for many years. Still, Chad is landlocked and its population is not as dense as Eritrea.
- Mauritania is located on the Atlantic Coast, but it is another country that has a confluence of Arab and Sub-Saharan African traits. Its people natively speak a Semitic language as well. Like Eritrea, sorghum is the main agricultural product grown there. One difference is that Mauritania is less densely populated. Another difference is that it relies on natural gas, not oil to create electricity.
- Djibouti, 7. Niger, 8. Yemen, 9. Mali, 10. South Sudan
Top 10 Countries Least Similar to Eritrea
Interestingly enough, four of the five least similar countries to Eritrea are places where most people natively speak Germanic languages. Furthermore, all five of the least similar countries have much colder climates with more rainfall. These countries have a far higher standard of living and are much more democratic than Eritrea.
- Japan has obvious demographic and cultural differences with Eritrea. In addition, their technology is far different, since they drive on the left and have a completely different electrical system, using 100 volt Type A,B outlets. Furthermore, there are far more planes, trains, and airplanes in Japan. Still, both countries are mountainous and most of their land is close to the coast.
- Canada is one of the coldest countries and one of the most sparsely populated countries with a high rate of urbanization, whereas Eritrea is one of the hottest places on Earth and is much more rural. They also share little cultural or demographic similarity. Its government is far more democratic and also has more liberal laws. Its gun control laws are significantly less restricted.
- United Kingdom is much more densely populated and far less mountainous than Eritrea. In addition, their technology is extremely different, since they drive on the left and use Type G outlets. According to the Lewis Model, its people are also less outgoing than Eritreans. Its parliamentary form of government and bicameral legislature is also quite different from Eritrea’s.
- New Zealand is another English-speaking country located on an island in a temperate climate. It is also much more democratic and has more liberal laws. It allows same sex marriage and gambling, unlike Eritrea. New Zealand is also extremely far away from Eritrea. It is located in the Southern Hemisphere, in the Pacific Ocean. However, much of the land in both countries is mountainous and close to the coast.
- Germany is yet another Germanic-speaking country on this list. The country has a high percentage of agricultural land and is also densely populated, in contrast to Eritrea. Still, the countries both use Type C, F electrical outlets and drive on the right side of the road, although the infrastructure in Germany is far more developed. Although both countries have many Christians, Germans tend to be less religious.
- Netherlands, 7. Luxembourg, 8. Ireland, 9. Denmark, 10. Finland
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Eritrea is like if Ethiopia was more like Sudan
Ethiopia is easily the most similar country to Ethiopia. However, the data indicates that Sudan is one country that has significantly more in common with Eritrea than it does with Ethiopia. Unlike Ethiopia, both countries border the Red Sea and have hot, dry climates. Furthermore, both countries are dictatorships, but use the presidential system of government.
Full Ranking of Countries and Territories Most Similar to Eritrea
All data accurate as of 2020.
Most Similar Demographics: Ethiopia
Most Similar Culture: Ethiopia
Most Similar Government: Sudan
Most Similar Infrastructure: Ethiopia
Most Similar Geography: Sudan
Least Similar Demographics: Japan
Least Similar Culture: Japan
Least Similar Government: Canada
Least Similar Infrastructure: Japan
Least Similar Geography: Singapore