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 Kuwait
Kuwait is a Middle Eastern country. The top five countries most similar to it are mostly Muslim and use Arabic as their official language. They are also all part of the Gulf Cooperation Council. The GCC is similar to the European Union in that people and goods are allowed to flow freely between their countries. Furthermore, while these countries do not have a shared currency, all of their currencies have a fixed exchange rate with the US dollar. They all have desert climates and are located on the Arabian peninsula.
- Qatar and Kuwait are two of the most similar pairs of countries. It is another wealthy Arab country that borders the Persian Gulf. Their geographical features are nearly identical, with the biggest difference being that Qatar is a peninsula. Their laws are quite similar as well. Both countries criminalize same sex relationships, prostitution, gambling, but allow polygamy. They are also heavily reliant on desalination to provide tap water.
- Bahrain is an island nation located in the Persian Gulf. One significant difference is that Bahrain is more densely populated and is only connected to Saudi Arabia by a causeway. Still, most of the land in both countries is close to the coast and they have the same climate. Kuwait and Bahrain also have a mix of Sunni and Shia Muslims. Furthermore, they have many immigrants from India, Pakistan, and Arab countries.
- United Arab Emirates is another country on the Persian Gulf Coast that was once a British protectorate. While both UAE and Kuwait have many immigrants, in UAE they form an astonishing 80% of the population. Although both countries do not typically do well in the Olympics, they both have medals in shooting. Both countries also have monarchs as their leaders, however in the United Arab Emirates, the monarch is actually elected among the rulers of the seven sheikhdoms that comprise the country.
- Oman and Kuwait have great maritime trading traditions and still have important port cities. As a result, these countries tend to be more religiously tolerant than other Arab countries. They both have a mix of different Muslim denominations, although Kuwait has more Shi’ites, while Oman has more Ibadi Muslims. However, in stark contrast to other countries on this list, Oman does not have any skyscrapers. In fact, they are illegal. Another difference is that Oman is more mountainous.
- Saudi Arabia is another oil-rich Muslim country with a high level of development. However, Saudi Arabia’s population is less diverse than Kuwait and it is has less immigrants. Its laws are less liberal and its government is less democratic. In addition, it is quite sparsely populated in comparison to Kuwait, although both countries are mostly barren desert.
- Jordan, 7. Iraq, 8. Egypt, 9. Libya, 10. Syria
Top 10 Countries Least Similar to Kuwait
Four of the five least similar countries to Kuwait are located in Africa, but most people in the five least similar countries have African ancestry. With the exception of Lesotho, these countries also tend to have tropical climates. These countries have a far lower standard of living than Kuwait. Most people in the five least similar countries are predominately Christian.
- Lesotho is completely surrounded by South Africa and it is also much more mountainous than Kuwait. Furthermore, its climate is significantly colder. Its people natively speak Niger-Congo languages, although the use of English is widespread in both places. While both countries are monarchies, Lesotho’s monarch only has ceremonial powers and the government is mostly democratic.
- Democratic Republic of Congo is a former Belgian colony in the middle of Africa. In contrast to Kuwait, a vast majority of its land is forested. Furthermore, Democratic Republic of Congo is nearly landlocked and few people live near the ocean. In addition, it also has little demographic or cultural similarity to Kuwait as well. Its people are mostly Christian and natively speak Niger-Congo languages.
- Mozambique, despite also bordering the Indian Ocean, is also far different from Kuwait as well. The country gets a lot of rainfall and is more mountainous. It was a colony of Portugal before its independence. Its technology is also far different from Kuwait, since it drives on the left and uses Type C, F, and M electrical outlets. However, although it is mostly Christian, it does have the highest percentage of Muslims on this list with around 20%.
- Haiti is the least similar country to Kuwait outside of Africa. The country is located on an island in the Caribbean Sea, but most of its people have African ancestry, since its people were brought there by the French and forced to work in agriculture. Its people are mostly Catholic. While Kuwait is one of the world’s richest countries, Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.
- Madagascar is yet another country bordering the Indian Ocean on this list, despite the fact that Kuwait does too. Madagascar’s climate is much wetter than Kuwait, however there are some portions of desert in the country. The island was once a French colony before becoming independent. Its people are unique since their ancestry has a mixture of both Austronesian and Sub-Saharan African lineage. Its people natively speak Austronesian languages.
- Papua New Guinea, 7. Liberia, 8. Laos, 9.Malawi, 10. Burundi
Kuwait is like if Qatar was more like Iraq
Kuwait and Qatar are two of the most similar countries. However, there are some small differences between them. Iraq is one country that is significantly more like Kuwait than it is like Qatar. Iraq and Kuwait border each other. Both have more Sunni Muslims than Qatar. They also have less coastline.
All data accurate as of 2020.