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.
Ethiopia 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 Eritrea is extremely similar. Like many African countries, Ethiopia has a mix of Christians and Muslims. The country is also very rural and its infrastructure is not well developed. Four of the five most similar countries to Ethiopia border it.
Top 10 Places Most Similar to Ethiopia
- Eritrea is by far the most similar country to Ethiopia. It was annexed by Ethiopia 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. However, much of Eritrea borders the Red Sea, while Ethiopia is landlocked.
- Somalia is also located on the Horn of Africa. Somali is one of Ethiopia’s official languages, although less than 10% of people natively speak it in Ethiopia. The Somali language used to use the Ge’ez script before they switched to the Latin alphabet. However, it has some significant differences. Somalia has very few Christians. It also is not nearly as mountainous. In addition, while Ethiopia is landlocked, Somalia has many beautiful beaches.
- Kenya is located to the south of Ethiopia. Both countries are mountainous and famous for their excellent long-distance runners. They both have a mix of tropical and desert climatic zones. However, they have little in common linguistically, since their languages are not from the same family and they use different writing systems. Kenya also has a higher standard of living and is more democratic.
- Tanzania also has a mix of Muslims and Christians, although it has more Catholics and Protestants, due to European colonization by Germany and later Britain. Like Kenya and Ethiopia, Tanzania is mountainous, although it gets more rainfall than these two countries. Although both countries are not well developed, Tanzania’s infrastructure standards are quite different. It drives on the left, uses Type G electrical outlets, and a different railroad track gauge, unlike Ethiopia.
- South Sudan is another country landlocked country, located just to the west of Ethiopia. These countries are two of the least developed countries in the world. Both countries drive on the right and use Type C electrical outlets. However, South Sudan is mostly Protestant, although it does have a significant Muslim population as well. Its people also tend to have less Caucasian ancestry.
- Chad, 7. Uganda, 8. Mozambique, 9. Rwanda, 10. Benin
Two groups of countries have especially little similarity to Ethiopia: East Asian countries and Germanic-speaking countries. These countries have a far higher standard of living than Ethiopia. They also have little demographic or cultural similarity to Ethiopia. Four of the five least similar countries all have much cooler climates. In addition, four of the five are located on islands.
Top 10 Places Least Similar to Ethiopia
- Japan has obvious demographic and cultural differences with Ethiopia. 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.
- Iceland is a highly developed island country, which has much more liberal policies than Ethiopia. Although it is mostly Christian, Iceland is mostly Protestant and not particularly religious. In addition, while Ethiopia is totally reliant on oil to produce its electricity, Iceland uses mostly renewable energy sources.
- Taiwan is another densely populated country in the Pacific Ocean on this list. Like Japan, its demographics and culture are quite different from Ethiopia. Most of its people have Chinese ancestry. Its infrastructure is far more developed as well. However, it does have a warmer climate than others on this list. Its infrastructure is similar to Japan, but it does drive on the right, like Ethiopia.
- New Zealand is another temperate and mountainous group of islands in the Pacific Ocean, like Japan. It is also one of the most democratic countries, unlike Ethiopia. Furthermore, New Zealand allows same sex marriage and has less restrictions on abortion. Although both countries are mostly Christian, like Iceland, New Zealand is mostly Protestant, but not particularly religious.
- Canada is one of the coldest countries and one of the most sparsely populated countries with a high rate of urbanization, whereas Ethiopia has one of the hottest places on Earth and is much more rural. They also share little cultural or demographic similarity. Still, both countries use the parliamentary system of government and have bicameral legislatures, although their laws are quite different.
- Ireland, 7. South Korea, 8. Finland, 9. Denmark, 10. United Kingdom
Ethiopia is like if Eritrea was more like Tanzania
Eritrea is easily the most similar country to Ethiopia. However, the data indicates that Tanzania is one country that has significantly more common with with Ethiopia. Their governments are less authoritarian than Eritrea’s. Furthermore, they tend to get more rainfall, so they have more tropical savannas. Most of their land is not close to the coast as well. Another similarity is that Ethiopia and Tanzania have more Protestants than Eritrea.
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