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 Jamaica
Jamaica is a country in the Caribbean region. Few countries are similar to it. The top four were once colonies of Great Britain before becoming independent, so they primarily speak English and are mostly Christian. A large percentage of the people in these countries have African ancestry. The five most similar countries are located in close proximity to the Caribbean Sea. These countries all have tropical climates as well.
- Bahamas is another former British colony that still has the Queen of the United Kingdom as their head of state. They have extremely similar demographics since over 90% of their people have African ancestry and mostly Protestant. However, the Bahamas is much more wealthy and less dangerous than Jamaica. Furthermore, its landscape much more flat and has less agricultural land.
- Trinidad & Tobago and Jamaica were briefly part of one country, the West Indies Federation, between 1958 and 1962. They have a similar diet consisting mostly of wheat, rice, chicken, and seafood, although Jamaicans tend to eat more yams. Trinidad also has a much higher population of Indians than Jamaica. So although its population is mostly Christian, about 20% practice Hinduism. Furthermore, the laws in these countries are extremely similar.
- Belize, unlike Bahamas and Trinidad, is located on the mainland of North America, but it has a similar tropical climate and beautiful beaches. The British brought slaves from Jamaica to Belize to help cut down trees to sell to Europeans. However, Belize is more diverse than Jamaica since more than 30% of its people natively speak Spanish. It also has an even mix of Catholics and Protestants.
- Guyana is located in South America, but it is still considered a Caribbean country. In fact, its capital, Georgetown, is the headquarters of Caribbean Community. Like Trinidad and Tobago, it has a unique mix of Indians and Africans. It is one of the few countries in South America that drives on the left and uses Type A, B electrical outlets. However, Guyana is more heavily forested and much of its land is far from the coast.
- Dominican Republic is the only country on this list that is not a former colony of Britain. However, their geography is strikingly similar. They have a similar percentage of agricultural land and forested land. Dominican Republic and Jamaica are also both quite mountainous. They also have a similar standard of living. Furthermore, a high percentage of its population has African ancestry.
- Panama, 7. Haiti, 8. El Salvador, 9. Costa Rica, 10. Suriname
Please note that some of the other countries in the West Indies, Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, would all be strong candidates for this list, but they are too small in population and land area to have enough reliable data for this project.
Top 10 Countries Least Similar to Jamaica
The five least similar countries to Jamaica are all located in Asia. They also have less democratic governments and far more censorship. Furthermore, in contrast to Jamaica, a large portion of four of the five least similar countries are deserts. In addition, four of the five countries have colder average temperatures.
- Afghanistan is a landlocked Muslim country that has less developed infrastructure than Jamaica. Furthermore, the technology that Afghanistan has is different from Jamaica since it drives on the right, uses Russian broad gauge railroad tracks, and has Type C, F electrical outlets with a different voltage. Afghanistan also relies on hydropower for electricity, while Jamaica relies on oil.
- North Korea has obvious political differences from Jamaica. North Korea has very strict drug and immigration laws, in contrast to Jamaica. In addition, military service is mandatory in North Korea and their military equipment is much more sophisticated than Jamaica’s. In addition, its people are not nearly outgoing as Jamaica, according to the Lewis Model. Still, most of the land in both countries is relatively close to the coast.
- Yemen is another Muslim country on this list, but it is located in the Arabian Desert and borders the Indian Ocean. Most of its land is barren and it is also more sparsely populated. The country is extremely poor, due to on-going civil war. Its people tend to have far more guns per person than Jamaica. However, both countries rely on oil to produce energy.
- China‘s demographics and culture are obviously far different from Jamaica. It also has a greater diversity of landscapes. While China has a huge amount of media and internet censorship, Jamaica has very little. Their languages and writing systems are also completely different from each other.
- Turkmenistan is a landlocked country in Central Asia that is mostly desert. It is also mostly Muslim. The country’s government is not very democratic. Like China, the country also has a lot of censorship. However, both Jamaica and Turkmenistan do use the Latin alphabet, although Turkmenistan once used the Cyrillic alphabet when it was part of the Soviet Union. Still, their languages are not related.
- Kazakhstan, 7. Saudi Arabia, 8. Eritrea, 9. Sudan, 10. Syria
Jamaica is like if the Bahamas was more like Haiti
The Bahamas is the most similar country to Jamaica. Still, there are a few differences between the countries. The Bahamas is more developed and less dangerous than Jamaica. It is also less mountainous and has more coniferous forests. Furthermore, it is not on the Caribbean tectonic plate. However, Haiti is one country that is much more similar to Jamaica than to the Bahamas in these respects.
All data accurate as of 2020.