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.
Haiti is a unique country. It could be considered a Latin American country, but it also has many traits in common with countries in the tropical regions of Africa. Therefore, the five most similar countries to Haiti are all in these two different regions. Four of these five countries are mostly Catholic. The infrastructure in these countries tends to be not well developed and they also have high rates of poverty.
Top 10 Places Most Similar to Haiti
- Dominican Republic is the only other country on the island of Hispaniola. Haiti actually ruled Dominican Republic for more than 20 years. Both countries are mostly Catholic. However, the countries have significant differences despite their proximity. Dominican Republic speaks Spanish and has a lower percentage of African ancestry. In addition, it is more developed. Its people are also more interested in baseball than Haitians.
- Nicaragua is the country in Central America most similar to Haiti. After Haiti, Nicaragua is the next poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Both countries have endured devastating natural disasters and political instability. In addition, both had been occupied by the United States in the 20th Century. However, like Dominican Republic, it speaks Spanish and has a lower percentage of African ancestry.
- Honduras is another country similar to Nicaragua, a tropical and mountainous country bordering the Caribbean with natural disasters and political instability. Both Haiti and Honduras were heavily in debt to foreign powers, adding to their woes. The countries also have similar laws. They both prohibit abortion and do not allow same sex marriage or polygamy.
- Burundi is a former Belgian colony in Africa so its official language is French and most people are Catholic, like Haiti. It is also one of the few countries in Africa where circumcision is not commonly practiced. Burundi and Haiti are among the poorest countries in the world. Both countries are relatively densely populated as well. One significant difference is that Burundi is landlocked. A lower percentage of its land is used for agriculture too.
- Madagascar is another former French colony located on a tropical island. It has a similar form of government and amount of democracy. While both countries are mostly Christian, Madagascar has more Protestants than Catholics. Their landscapes are similar since a lot of their land is devoted to agriculture. While both countries have mostly African ancestry, a significant portion of the ancestry of Malagasy people originates in Asia.
- Republic of Congo, 7. Central African Republic, 8. Rwanda, 9. Ivory Coast, 10. El Salvador
The least similar countries to Haiti are all located in Asia. Four of them are in the Middle East and have barren desert landscapes. They are all quite wealthy countries and their infrastructure is far more developed. These countries tend to have many skyscrapers and high-rises, in contrast to Haiti. Furthermore, with the exception of Japan, these countries are also far more militarized.
Top 10 Places Least Similar to Haiti
- Saudi Arabia is an extremely wealthy Muslim country in the Middle East. Most people there natively speak Arabic. In contrast to Saudi Arabia’s military strength, Haiti disbanded its army for many years. The country is an absolute monarchy with no congress. Its landscape is also quite different, since its climate is much drier, although both countries are quite hot.
- United Arab Emirates is one of the wealthiest countries in the world. Like Saudi Arabia, it is located on the Arabian Peninsula. It boasts the tallest skyscraper in the world, Burj Khalifa, while Haiti’s tallest building is less than 50 meters. Its government is an absolute monarchy, although it does have a congress and a limited amount of democracy.
- Japan has little demographic or cultural similarity with Haiti. Its language and writing system is completely different from Haiti’s. In addition, its infrastructure is extremely different as Japan drives on the left and has a high number of cars per capita. Japan has some of the busiest railroads in the world, while Haiti doesn’t even have a railroad. However, one big similarity is that they both have Type A,B outlets with a similar voltage.
- Qatar is another wealthy Arabian country, like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, on this list. It is a flat peninsula located in the Persian Gulf. It has one of the highest GDPs per capita in the world in contrast to Haiti. Although both countries are densely populated, Qatar’s land is more developed and has many skyscrapers. It also has a far higher percentage of males, since many people living there are migrant construction workers.
- Israel is one of the few countries in the world to allow Haitians visa free travel to their country. However, the countries are incredibly different. Israel is much more developed and has a drier climate. It also has a unique culture, due to its religious practices, language, and writing system. Most of its people are Jewish and they natively speak Hebrew.
- Bahrain, 7. South Korea, 8. Kuwait, 9. Finland, 10. Australia
Haiti is like if the Dominican Republic was more like Burundi
While the Dominican Republic is the most similar country to Haiti, they have some massive differences as well. One country the data shows is far more similar to the Haiti than the Dominican Republic is Burundi. Both Burundi and Haiti use French as their official language. In contrast to the Dominican Republic, their people have almost entirely African ancestry. Haiti and Burundi are also far poorer than the Dominican Republic.
Do you agree with the list?
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