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 Places Most Similar to Fiji
Fiji is a country in the South Pacific. However, in many ways it is quite a unique country compared with the rest of the region. Around 40% of its population has Indian ancestry, since they were brought to the island by the British to serve as indentured servants, so it has more Indian characteristics. The top five most similar countries to Fiji all have English as one of their official languages. They are also predominately Christian. In addition, they all have a tropical climate.
- Samoa is to the east of Fiji. Although it is in Polynesia, it still has many similarities due to its shared Anglosphere influence. Their geographies are incredibly similar, since they are both mountainous islands with similar flora and fauna. Fiji and Samoa also have about the same standard of living and their diets are alike as well. Furthermore, both countries enjoy playing rugby.
- Vanuatu is located to the west of Fiji. Like Fiji, its native population is also mostly Melanesian. However, since it was jointly administered by both Great Britain and France, it has less of a British influence, so it drives on the right and is not a constitutional monarchy. However, Vanuatu’s people are not as wealthy as Fiji’s. The country’s infrastructure is also not as well developed.
- Solomon Islands is even further to the west of Fiji. It is another Commonwealth realm nation, like Samoa and Fiji. Although the Solomon Islands poorer than Fiji, their technology is similar as well since both drive on the left, use Type I electrical outlets, and rely on oil to generate electricity. It also uses 911 as their emergency number, unlike Samoa and Vanuatu. However, the Solomon Islands has a lower percentage of farmland and a higher percentage of forested land.
- Trinidad & Tobago is the most similar country to Fiji that is not in the Pacific Ocean. However, it still has some huge similarities to Fiji, since it has a mix of Protestants and followers of Hinduism. Just like Fiji, a large number of indentured servants from India were brought to the tropical island by the British in the 19th Century. However, unlike Fiji, the rest of the population is made up of people with African ancestry.
- Guyana is a South American country close to Trinidad & Tobago. It is yet another former British colony on this list. Both countries have a significant number of people with Indian ancestry. However, it is the only country in the top five that is not located on an island. It is also more heavily forested and less densely populated than Fiji. While Guyana’s predominate crop is rice, Fiji’s main crop is sugarcane.
- Papua New Guinea, 7. Mauritius, 8. Belize, 9. Jamaica, 10. Sri Lanka
Top 10 Places Least Similar to Fiji
The five least similar countries to Fiji all have large Muslim populations, although about 5% of people in Fiji are Muslim as well. In addition, they are all deserts and are mostly barren or sparsely vegetated land. Furthermore, their governments tend to be less democratic than Fiji’s. The five least similar are also not as wealthy and less developed.
- Yemen is located on the Red Sea. It is a predominately Muslim country that, unlike other countries on the Arabian Peninsula, has little development of its infrastructure, in part due to an ongoing civil war. In addition, it climate is far drier than Fiji’s. Still, both countries have a lot of coastline and are fairly mountainous.
- Eritrea is located across the Red Sea from Yemen. It is the only country on this list with a majority Christian population, however most are part of the Oriental Orthodox denomination. The country also uses the unique Ge’ez script for its writing system. In addition, Eritrea has one of the world’s most authoritarian governments.
- Afghanistan is a landlocked and highly mountainous Muslim country. Its infrastructure is less developed than Fiji. Furthermore, the technology that Afghanistan has is different from Fiji since it drives on the right, uses Russian broad gauge railroad tracks, and usesType C, F electrical outlets with a different voltage.
- Niger is yet another landlocked, predominately Muslim country, but unlike Afghanistan, it is located in Africa. It was once a French colony, so French is its official language. Although both countries use the Latin script, they have little else in common. Niger has the youngest average population in the world, as well as the highest birthrate.
- Mauritania is another country located in the Sahara Desert, but it borders the Atlantic Ocean. Like Niger, it was once a French colony, but now its official language is Arabic and most people there natively speak a form of Arabic. The country’s laws are also much more conservative than Fiji’s.
- Chad, 7. Saudi Arabia, 8. Sudan, 9. North Korea, 10. Turkmenistan
Fiji is like if Samoa was more like Trinidad & Tobago
Fiji has a unique combination of characteristics. While the Index shows that Samoa is the most similar country to Fiji, it also has some big differences. The data indicates that Trinidad & Tobago has many characteristics of Fiji that Samoa lacks. Fiji and Trinidad & Tobago have a large population of people with Indian ancestry, since they were brought to their respective islands by the British as indentured servants to work in agriculture. Therefore, these countries also have more diversity of religion than Samoa.
All data accurate as of 2020.