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 Guatemala
Guatemala is a Latin American country. Many countries in its region are similar to it. The five most similar countries are mostly Catholic and use Spanish as their official language. In addition, they all have tropical climates. Four of the five most similar countries border the Caribbean Sea. In addition, with the exception of Colombia, they are all members of the Central American Integration System. They also use the presidential system of government.
- Honduras and Guatemala are extremely similar. Although both are mostly Catholic, they also have around 40% Protestants (among the highest in Latin America). The two countries have a similar diet, since they eat a lot of corn and their preferred meat is chicken. Both are extremely mountainous and have a similar climate. However, Guatemala has a greater Mayan influence and less people with African ancestry.
- El Salvador borders both Honduras and Guatemala. El Salvador is especially similar politically to Honduras. They are among the most conservative Latin American countries since they do not allow same sex marriage or abortion. El Salvador’s agriculture is similar to Guatemala as well since they grow mostly corn, but also coffee, sugar, and beans. Both their railroads uniquely use 3-foot gauge tracks.
- Nicaragua is also quite similar to Guatemala, even though they do not border each other. Although their geographies are still quite similar, Nicaragua has far more freshwater, since Lake Nicaragua is the second largest lake in Latin America, after Lake Titicaca. It is also slightly poorer and has less developed infrastructure than Guatemala. Like El Salvador, its laws are also quite conservative.
- Colombia is the most similar country to Guatemala in South America. It is another country with a high homicide rate in the region. While both countries are mountainous and have a similar climate, Guatemala’s agriculture is more focused on producing corn. Although both countries provide tuition-free college, Colombia has a much higher percentage of college graduates.
- Dominican Republic is yet another country that borders the Caribbean Sea on this list, however, it is located on the island of Hispaniola, not the North American mainland. Their lvel of development and laws are quite similar. However, the people in Dominican Republic have more African ancestry and less Native American ancestry. Another difference is that Dominicans tend to eat more fruit and less corn.
- Costa Rica, 7. Ecuador, 8. Panama, 9. Mexico, 10. Peru
Top 10 Countries Least Similar to Guatemala
Four of the five least similar countries to Guatemala are located on the Arabian Peninsula. They are mostly Muslim and their standard of living is generally higher than Guatemala’s. While Guatemala has a lot of agricultural land and forested land, the landscapes of the countries on the Arabian Peninsula are mostly barren desert. Furthermore, their governments are monarchies as well, not democracies.
- Bahrain is a small densely populated island in the Persian Gulf. It is highly developed and urbanized, in contrast to Guatemala. In addition, its climate is much drier and its terrain is quite flat. Most of its people natively speak Arabic. While both countries drive on the right, Bahrain uses Type G electrical outlets and a higher standard voltage.
- Qatar is a small Arabian country close to Bahrain. It is a peninsula in the Persian Gulf that is connected to Saudi Arabia. It has one of the highest GDPs per capita in the world in contrast to Guatemala. Like Bahrain, most of its land is barren and has little vegetation. Furthermore, a high percentage of the country consists of male migrant workers, while Guatemala has more females than males.
- Japan has little demographic or cultural similarity to Guatemala. It uses a completely different language and writing system. Also, tend to be far less religious. Their transportation infrastructure is also different, since Japan drives on the left and has far more vehicles. In addition, Guatemala does not have passenger rail service and uses a different rail road gauge than Japan. However, they also both use Type A, B electrical outlets. Another similarity is that both countries are located on Ring of Fire, so they have many active volcanos and earthquakes.
- Saudi Arabia‘s government is an absolute monarchy and the country does not even have a congress. Its laws are also far more conservative than Guatemala’s. Same sex relationships and alcohol are not allowed there. Its climate is also much drier and it has a far lower population density.
- United Arab Emirates yet another Muslim country on the Arabian peninsula, like Bahrain and Qatar. It is home to the tallest building in the world, Burj Dubai, and has many skyscrapers. In contrast, Guatemala does not have any skyscrapers. Like Qatar, a high percentage of the country consists of male migrant workers, while in contrast many people are leaving Guatemala for other more prosperous countries.
- Kuwait, 7. Singapore, 8. Israel 9. Australia, 10. North Korea
Guatemala is like if Honduras was more like Peru
Guatemala and Honduras are two of the most similar countries. There is not a huge difference between them. However, the data does indicate that Peru is one country that is slightly more similar to Guatemala than it is to Honduras. Both Guatemala and Peru were the epicenters of great Native American civilizations, so they still have many ruins. These countries have a higher percentage of Native American ancestry than Honduras. Furthermore, most of their coastline borders the Pacific Ocean.
All data accurate as of 2020.