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 the United Kingdom
The United Kingdom is located in Europe, but in many ways it forms its own separate and distinct region with some of its former colonies. Unlike most countries on the European continent, it drives on the left and uses Type G electrical outlets. Its legal system does not follow Civil Law and it is not part of the European Union. The five most similar countries to the United Kingdom, all speak Germanic languages. In addition, they all have parliamentary forms of government.
- Ireland is by far the most similar country to the United Kingdom. In fact it was part of it for over 100 years. It only got its independence in 1922. British citizens are still allowed to reside and work in Ireland without a visa. The countries have similar culture, technology, and geography. The biggest difference between Ireland and the United Kingdom is religion. Most Irish are Catholic and more religious. According to the Lewis Model, British people are also less outgoing than the Irish.
- Netherlands is just across the North Sea from the U.K. Both countries had considerable seafaring ability with their merchants establishing trading posts in distant locations. Both countries are Christian, but not particularly religious. In addition, over 90% of Dutch can speak English. The countries also have a similar climate and most of their land is devoted to either agriculture or urban areas.
- Denmark is also located to the east of the U.K., across the North Sea. The Danes ruled a large part of England for over 100 years, so it is no wonder Denmark is high on this list. Both countries are predominately Protestant. Denmark’s relatively flat land, extensive coastlines, and similar agriculture, make its landscape quite similar to the U.K. as well. Furthermore, both countries are constitutional monarchies with similar governmental policies.
- Germany is located between the Netherlands and Denmark. Many of its people, known as Anglo-Saxons, migrated to England in the 5th Century. Their people have a similar linear-active personalty and their climate and landscape are alike. Although Germany no longer has a monarch, the British royal family has German roots. Queen Victoria was actually German and it was her native language.
- New Zealand is the most similar country to the United Kingdom, of all former British colonies. Most of the people in both countries natively speak English and are Protestant. Although it is on the opposite side of the world, it has significant geographical similarities to Great Britain since it is also an island with a temperate climate. However, New Zealand is much more mountainous. Both countries drive on the left side of the road as well.
- Belgium, 7. Australia, 8. Luxembourg, 9. Norway, 10. Sweden
Although Australia and Canada also speak English natively and are part of the British Commonwealth, they also have significantly different geography. Not only is Australia’s climate is much hotter and drier, but it is also on the opposite end of the earth. Canada’s climate is significantly colder and it is also more sparsely populated.
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Top 10 Countries Least Similar to the United Kingdom
The five least similar countries to the United Kingdom are all countries in Africa. They are all sparsely populated and located in the Sahara Desert. Four of the five are landlocked. Furthermore, they all have a significant population of Muslims. Their infrastructure is not only far less developed, but they also have different technology standards.
- Chad is a landlocked country in the Sahara Desert that has little development of its infrastructure. Although Chad has some European influence, its colonizers were French. Its official languages are Arabic and French. While it is mostly Muslim, it also has some Christians who are mostly Catholic. The country was ruled by a dictator for several decades.
- Eritrea is the only country on this list with a majority Christian population, however they are mostly Oriental Orthodox and much more religious than the United Kingdom. Its government has been a dictatorship for almost 20 years. Its climate is much drier and its landscape is more barren. The country also uses the unique Ge’ez script for writing.
- Niger is a similar country to Chad located to its west. The country has the youngest population in the world, in stark contrast to the U.K., which is much older. It also has one of the highest birthrates in the world, while the U.K. has one of the lowest. The country is nearly 100% Muslim. Still, both countries use the Latin alphabet for their writing, since French is Niger’s official language.
- Sudan was once effectively a British colony and has English as one of its official languages, although few people there speak it. Other than that, there is very little that these countries have in common. Sudan recently lost some territory to the newly formed country of South Sudan, due to civil war. The country is mostly Muslim and has far more conservative laws. It does not allow alcohol or gambling.
- Mali is yet another African country on this list. It is landlocked country located to the west of Niger. Although both countries are in the same time zone, they have little else in common. Like Chad and Niger, it was once a French colony before becoming independent, so it drives on the right and uses Type C, E electrical outlets.
- Laos, 7. Somalia, 8. Yemen, 9. Mauritania, 10. Cambodia
The United Kingdom is like if Ireland was more like Denmark
Ireland is by far the most similar country to the United Kingdom, however they do have a few distinct differences. The data shows that Denmark is one country that is significantly more like the United Kingdom than Denmark. Both countries are mostly Protestant, unlike Ireland. They also are constitutional monarchies. Furthermore, Ireland uses the unusual 5’3″ railroad track gauge, unlike the United Kingdom and Denmark. They are also more densely populated than Ireland.
Full Ranking of Countries and Territories Most Similar to the United Kingdom
All data accurate as of 2020.
Most Similar Demographics: Denmark
Most Similar Culture: New Zealand
Most Similar Government: Australia
Most Similar Infrastructure: Ireland
Most Similar Geography: Netherlands
Least Similar Demographics: Niger
Least Similar Culture: Yemen
Least Similar Government: Sudan
Least Similar Infrastructure: Haiti
Least Similar Geography: Solomon Islands
Hello, I’m a big fan of your site, thank you for the hard work you’ve put up. Since you’re no longer following the alphabetical order when updating countries to version 3.0, may I request that you give priority to the remaining G7 countries, as well as Russia, please? I would be very grateful, as I am curious to see how these countries will turn out. Kind regards.
7) AUSTRALIA was originally founded by the United Kingdom, so it is no wonder that they are high on this list as well. More Australians trace their ancestry back to Britain than any other country. Furthermore, their government is also very similar, since they follow the Westminster system, much like the British. However its geography is significantly different from the United Kingdom, though they have several regions with similar climate, especially in its south. Its population is much denser and its climate is much more temperate. Another difference is that Australians are more interested in cricket than soccer.
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7) AUSTRALIA was originally founded by the United Kingdom, so it is no wonder that they are high on this list as well. More Australians trace their ancestry back to Britain than any other country. Furthermore, their government is especially similar, since they follow the Westminster system, much like the British. However its geography is significantly different from the United Kingdom, though they have several regions with similar climate, especially in its south. Its population is much denser and its climate is much more temperate. Another difference is that Australians are more interested in cricket than soccer.
Ireland is in no way culturally or Geographically similar to the UK. Anyone saying that has never visited. English is Ireland’s second language and culturally it is quite unique and certainly distinct from Britain. Proximity does not equal similarly – besides, France is a lot closer.