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 Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan is a country in Central Asia. The five most similar countries to it were once part of the Soviet Union. The top four all have a majority Muslim population, but they tend to be less religious than Middle Eastern countries. The majority of the the people in the top four countries also speak Turkic languages. With the exception of Kyrgyzstan, the top five countries also have authoritarian leaders. Their technology standards are also similar. They all use Type C, F electrical outlets and their railroads use Russian broad gauge tracks.
- Kyrgyzstan‘s language has a high degree of mutual intelligibility with Kazakh. In addition, both countries cultures have been significantly influenced by Russia. They are the only Central Asian countries that still have Russian as one of their official languages. However, Kyrgyzstan differs from Kazakhstan in two significant ways. It is a democracy, not an authoritarian regime. Furthermore, it is much more mountainous.
- Uzbekistan is located directly to the south of Kazakhstan. Like Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan, its people natively speak a Turkic language. Both countries have serious political similarities as well since they are both one-party states with presidents who regularly receive over 90% of the vote in elections. They both excel in boxing and wrestling at the Olympics. However, Uzbekistan has less Russians.
- Turkmenistan is highly similar to both Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, especially politically, demographically, and culturally. However, Turkmenistan is generally more isolated from the rest of the world since the government banned all satellite dishes in the country. It is one of the few countries in the world that still has an analog TV broadcasting standard. The country relies on natural gas to create electricity, while Kazakhstan mostly uses coal. It also is on a different electrical grid, since Turkmenistan disconnected from the old Soviet Union grid.
- Azerbaijan is another country on this list that borders the Caspian Sea. Both countries are considered to be authoritarian regimes as well. While both countries are mostly Muslim, Azeris are mostly Shi’ites. Another difference is that Azeris tend to have less ancestry from East Asia. Furthermore, Azerbaijan now longer uses the Cyrillic alphabet, since it changed to the Latin alphabet after the breakup of the Soviet Union.
- Russia had ruled Kazakhstan for over 100 years. Both countries still maintain significant economic and military ties. The biggest difference between Russia and Kazakhstan is religion, since Russians are mostly Orthodox Christians. Although the Russian language is unrelated to Kazakh, it is still one of the official languages in Kazakhstan. There are still a large amount of Russians living in Kazakhstan, although their numbers have been steadily dwindling. Russia still uses Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to launch all its spacecraft.
- Belarus, 7. Tajikistan, 8. Ukraine, 9. Mongolia, 10. Armenia
Top 10 Countries Least Similar to Kazakhstan
The five least similar countries to Kazakhstan are all have tropical climates and much of their land is close to the coast. They are all predominately Christian countries. In addition, four of the five least similar countries have English as one of their official languages and they all use the Latin alphabet. In addition, they are all more democratic than Kazakhstan.
- Solomon Islands is one of the hottest and wettest countries in the world. It has a lot of coastline and most of its land is near the coast. Furthermore, the country is about 90% forested. Most of its people have Melanesian ancestry. Despite still being a constitutional monarchy, it is far more democratic than Kazakhstan.
- Papua New Guinea is another country similar to the Solomon Islands in the Pacific Ocean. The country is also far more mountainous than Kazakhstan, although both are relatively sparsely populated. Most of Papua New Guinea’s electricity comes from hydropower, while Kazakhstan relies on domestically produced coal. In addition, it is a parliamentary democracy that has many different parties, in stark contrast to Kazakhstan.
- Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. Its geography and level of development are not at all similar to Kazakhstan. Their laws are also significantly different. While abortion is legal in Kazakhstan, it is banned in Haiti. However, unlike other countries on this list, it is not as British influenced, since it was originally a French colony. So Haiti drives on the right and its legal system is based on civil law.
- Jamaica is another country in the Caribbean Sea where most people have African ancestry. Jamaica also has a much higher murder rate and a much lower suicide rate than Kazakhstan. Jamaica’s democratic government also has less lucrative entitlements for its citizens, since it does not have free college, single payer healthcare, or generous welfare benefits. While Kazakhs excel at boxing and wrestling at the Olympics, Jamaicans are much better in track.
- Liberia is the least similar country in Africa to Kazakhstan. Unlike its neighbor Sierra Leone, the country is mostly Christian. The country was founded by Americans who were once slaves, but returned to Africa after being emancipated. The country’s main crop is rice, unlike Kazakhstan, which mostly grows wheat.
- Vanuatu, 7. Malawi, 8. Samoa, 9. Bahamas, 10. East Timor
Kazakhstan is like if Kyrgyzstan was more like Belarus
According to the Index, Kyrgyzstan is the most similar country to Kazakhstan. However, these countries differ in two significant ways. Kyrgyzstan’s government is more democratic. Furthermore, it is much more mountainous than Kazakhstan. Belarus is one country that has these particular traits of Kazakhstan, which Kyrgyzstan lacks. Both countries have relatively flat land. They also are ruled by authoritarian leaders. Furthermore, the people in Kazakhstan and Belarus are wealthier and their infrastructure is more developed.
All data accurate as of 2020.