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 Greece
Greece is a European country. Four of the top five countries most similar to it border the Mediterranean Sea. They are all in the European Union and four of them use the Euro as currency as well. These countries are well known for their scenic beaches and are also quite mountainous. In addition, the top five are some of the most religious countries in Europe. Interestingly enough, despite Greece being mostly Orthodox, four of the five most similar countries are predominately Catholic.
- Cyprus has the most similar culture and demographics to Greece. It is the only other country where a majority of the population speaks Greek. It even has the same national anthem. However there are also some significant differences, as Cyprus has some significant differences from Greece and the rest of continental Europe since it was ruled by Great Britain for over 50 years. They use British electrical outlets, drive on the left, and their legal system practices common law. Further contrasting Greece, about 20% of the population are Muslim Turkish-speaking people.
- Italy is another mountainous peninsula in the Mediterranean Sea. Both Italy and Greece were the two epicenters of classical civilization. They were both part of the Roman Empire. The two countries share similar politics, technology, and geography. However, Italy is Catholic and Greece is Orthodox. In addition, their languages and writing systems, while distantly related, are different.
- Portugal has a similar economic situation to Greece, as one of the less wealthy countries in the European Union. They have the same amount of cars and air traffic. Their electrical production is similar as well since they both are primarily powered by coal, but also use gas, hydro, and wind power. In addition, the countries share a similar climate, although Portugal doesn’t actually border the Mediterranean Sea.
- Spain is another country on the Iberian peninsula with a troubled economy with an aging population. Both countries are big tourist destinations and have similar climates. In addition both Spain and Greece have been occupied by Muslim powers in their past. Spain was ruled by the Moors, while Greece was much more recently ruled by the Ottomans. However, while both countries have a parliamentary government, Spain is still a constitutional monarchy.
- Croatia is yet another Mediterranean country with a lot of coastline on this list. It is also quite mountainous, just like Greece. In addition, both countries are quite interested in basketball and excel at the Olympics, although Croatia does better in winter sports. Croatia is also the only country on this list that has not yet adopted the Euro. While their laws are quite similar, prostitution is not allowed in Croatia.
- Montenegro, 7. Bulgaria, 8. Slovenia, 9. Romania, 10. North Macedonia
Top 10 Countries Least Similar to Greece
The five least similar countries to Greece are all countries in Africa. They are all sparsely populated and located in the Sahara Desert. Four of the five are landlocked and not especially mountainous. Furthermore, they all are predominately Muslim countries. Their infrastructure is far less developed. Their laws are more conservative and they are less democratic.
- Niger is the least similar country to Greece. It is mostly barren desert, sparsely populated, and landlocked. Its people are almost 100% Muslim. In contrast to Greece’s aging population, Niger has the youngest population in the world. Their agriculture is also far different. While Niger mostly produces millet and cow pea, Greece predominately grows olives.
- Somalia is an anarchic, predominately Muslim country that has poorly developed infrastructure, due to on-going civil war. Its conservative policies contrast Greece’s much more liberal laws. It does not allow abortion, alcohol, or gambling. However both countries have relatively long coastlines.
- Chad is located to the east of Niger. It was once a colony of France, but both Arabic and French are its official languages. It is another landlocked country in the Sahara Desert that has very little in common with Greece. However, about 40% of the population is Christian, although they are mostly Catholic.
- Mali is yet another Sub-Saharan African country on this list. Like Chad and Niger, it was once a French colony before becoming independent. Both countries drive on the right and use Type C electrical outlets, however Mali’s infrastructure is far less developed. Like Niger, its population is quite young and relatively few people there are literate.
- Sudan is a predominately Arabic-speaking country located in the Sahara Desert. It recently lost some territory to the newly formed country of South Sudan, due to civil war. Its conservative Muslim policies and authoritarian government make it quite different from Greece. Despite their differences, most of the water in both countries flows into the Mediterranean Sea.
- Yemen, 7. Gambia, 8. Mauritania, 9. South Sudan, 10. Democratic Republic of Congo
Greece is like if Cyprus was more like Italy
Cyprus is by far the most similar country to Greece, however it differs in two significant ways. It has more Muslims than Greece. Furthermore, it was once ruled by Britain, so it drives on the left, uses Type G electrical outlets, and its legal system practices Common Law. The data indicates that Italy is more like Greece in these respects. Both countries drive on the right, use Type C electrical outlets, and their legal systems practice Civil Law. Furthermore, they are both peninsulas.
Full Ranking of Countries and Territories Most Similar to Greece
All data accurate as of 2020.
Most Similar Demographics: Cyprus
Most Similar Culture: Cyprus
Most Similar Government: Estonia
Most Similar Infrastructure: Portugal
Most Similar Geography: Albania
Least Similar Demographics: Niger
Least Similar Culture: Laos
Least Similar Government: Yemen
Least Similar Infrastructure: Haiti
Least Similar Geography: Mauritania
Thank you,it’s very interesting to see Italy before Cyprus
Cyprus should be the first instead of Italy and 9th should be Georgia instead of Austria.
I think it’s a toss-up between Cyprus and Italy. But Cyprus has some key differences that are perhaps bigger than Italy’s. Cyprus has a sizeable Muslim population, also is legally different (uses Anglo-influenced common law rather than Roman-Byzantine-Germanic Civil Law that Greece, Italy, and the rest of mainland Europe use).
Also, I don’t know if I would put Georgia before Austria. Austria and Greece are both EU and NATO. Greece is economically/developmentally closer to Austria than to Georgia, despite Greece’s lost decade. Greece and Austria both have massive tourism industries. Georgia is former-communist and former Soviet. I think maybe it’s a bit of a toss-up. Culturally, I would say Greece is equidistant between the two countries (Georgia being Orthodox doesn’t mean much. Catholics have all the same holidays). But politically-economically, closer to Austria.
When you study the case of Cyprus you should consider the law abiding country and not the illegally occupied part that no country has recognised. Although yes it is a little more different than Greece since it is an island country and not a mainland