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 Iraq
Iraq is a primarily Arab country located in Middle East. Many countries are similar to it in the region. The five most similar countries to Iraq use Arabic as their official language, furthermore they are mostly Muslim. These countries also have a similar climate, since most of their land is comprised of sparsely populated deserts. Interestingly enough, four of the five most similar countries border the Mediterranean Sea, unlike Iraq. In addition, the top five most similar countries are neither especially rich nor poor.
- Jordan is located to the west of Iraq. It was actually part of Iraq in 1958, when the two countries formed the Arab Federation, however it only lasted 6 months. In addition, both were colonized by Great Britain. This part of the reason why they both use Type D and G electrical outlets. Both countries are nearly landlocked, but Jordan borders the Red Sea, while Iraq borders the Persian Gulf.
- Syria is the next largest country in the Fertile Crescent. Both have had unstable situations recently due to war. ISIS, an acronym for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, now controls significant territory in both countries. However, since Syria was once colonized by France, it developed some different traits from Iraq. Its government is also less democratic than Iraq and has more censorship.
- Egypt is the most similar country to Iraq in Africa. Both countries are mostly desert, where most inhabitants live near a major river. Its flag is also extremely similar to Iraq and Syria as well, since they were all derived from the Arab liberation flag. However, there is a majority of Shia Muslims as well as a 15% proportion of Kurds in Iraq, unlike in Egypt. Another difference is that Egypt has far more coastline.
- Algeria is another mostly Arabic-speaking country that is largely desert. However, Algeria is in Africa and their native Arabic is not mutually intelligible with the Arabic spoken in Iraq. Like Syria, it has more of a French influence than Iraq as well. Both countries legal systems are mostly based in Civil law, but also Muslim law. In addition, their agriculture is similar since they both predominately grow wheat.
- Libya is to the east of Algeria. Like Iraq, it is another Arab country that has been unstable due to war. Both countries were forced into regime change by military intervention from Western countries. These countries also have huge oil reserves. However, Libya is in Africa and far less densely populated than Iraq. It was once an Italian colony, before becoming independent in 1952.
- Yemen, 7. Saudi Arabia, 8. Kuwait, 9. Iran, 10. Tunisia
Top 10 Countries Least Similar to Iraq
The five least similar countries to Iraq are all located on islands, four of which are in the Pacific Ocean. They also get much more rainfall. In addition, the five least similar countries have a higher standard of living than Iraq. Four of the five drive on the left side of the road. These countries also have less conservative laws than Iraq.
- Japan is also technically in Asia, but other than that there is little similarity between the two countries. Japan is a mountainous archipelago with a temperate climate in contrast to the hot, dry and nearly landlocked Iraq. Not only is its geography significantly different, but also its demographics, culture, politics, and technology.
- New Zealand is another wet and mountainous archipelago in the Pacific Ocean far away from Iraq. Their infrastructure also is very different as New Zealand uses Type I plugs, drives on the left. In addition, New Zealand is far more liberal than conservative Iraq, since it allows same sex marriage, prostitution, and gambling. However, the people in both countries are considered to be predominately Caucasian.
- Taiwan is another country in the Pacific Ocean on this list. Most people natively speak Mandarin and follow Buddhism these. It has extremely different demographics and culture compared to Iraq. However, unlike Japan and New Zealand, it drives on the right. It also has a slightly lower standard of living than those two countries. Most of its agricultural areas are devoted to cultivating rice, not wheat.
- Bahamas is another country located on an archipelago, but it is located in the Atlantic Ocean. The country has a higher standard of living than Iraq. Its population has mostly African ancestry. Still, both countries have hot climates, although the Bahamas is more densely populated and forested.
- Singapore is far more densely populated and wealthier than Iraq. Although a significant portion of its population is Muslim, the country has more Buddhists and Christians. Like the Bahamas and New Zealand, its official language is English and it has a parliamentary system of government. However, both countries use Type G electrical outlets.
- Solomon Islands, 7. South Korea, 8. Canada, 9. Trinidad & Tobago, 10. Iceland
Iraq is like if Jordan was more like Pakistan
According to the Index, Jordan is the most similar country to Iraq. However, the data shows that Pakistan is one country that is significantly more like Iraq than it is to Jordan. Unlike Jordan, Iraq and Pakistan have parliamentary governments and do not have monarchs. They also have significantly less rule of law and also less restrictions on guns. Most of the agricultural land in Pakistan and Iraq is devoted to wheat, unlike Jordan, where olives are the major crop.