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.
Kyrgyzstan is a country in Central Asia. The five most similar countries to it were once part of the Soviet Union. They are also all landlocked and have a relatively dry climate. Most people in the top four countries are Muslim. However, unlike countries in the Middle East, their laws are not as conservative. Their infrastructure is also similar, since they were once part of one country. They all use Type C, F electrical outlets, drive on the right, and use Russian broad gauge railroad tracks.
Top 10 Places Most Similar to Kyrgyzstan
- Kazakhstan‘s language has a high degree of mutual intelligibility with Kyrgyz and both use the Cyrillic alphabet. In addition, both countries cultures have been significantly influenced by Russia. However, Kazakhstan has more Russians, who are Orthodox Christian. In addition, Kazakhstan is far wealthier due to significant natural resources. Unlike Kyrgyzstan, the majority of its energy is created by coal power plants.
- Tajikistan is another landlocked and extremely mountainous country to Kyrgyzstan’s south. They are the two of the poorest and least developed countries of the former USSR. Both countries rely on hydropower to create electricity. Although many people in both countries speak Russian and use the Cyrillic alphabet, one big difference is that Tajiks speak a Persian language, not Turkic.
- Uzbekistan is just to the west of Kyrgyzstan, but it is much less mountainous. The countries have similar demographics, culture, and infrastructure. In fact, there are many Uzbeks living in Kyrgyzstan. One difference is that Uzbekistan grows far more cotton and uses a lot more water to irrigate its crops. Their demographics are especially similar. Both countries are not especially wealthy, even though their people are relatively well educated.
- Turkmenistan is very similar to Uzbekistan. It is another country in the region where most people natively speak Turkic languages. One big difference between Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan is politics. Turkmenistan has an authoritarian government, which has some of the most censorship in the world. In contrast, Kyrgyzstan is one of the few democracies in the region, although both governments are quite corrupt.
- Armenia is the only predominately Christian country in the top five. However neither country is especially religious since they both have high rates of atheism. Armenia’s geography is especially similar to Kyrgyzstan, since they are both extremely mountainous and landlocked countries. In addition, they have similar amounts of rainfall. Their governments are also quite similar. However, linguistically they are extremely different since Armenians use a different alphabet and speak an Indo-European language.
- Azerbaijan, 7. Turkey, 8. Georgia, 9. Mongolia, 10. Albania
Few countries are extremely different from Kyrgyzstan, except in regards to their geography. Appropriately, the five least similar countries to Kyrgyzstan are located on islands that get far more rainfall. Four of the five least similar countries use English as their official language. Furthermore, these countries all drive on the left side of the road. With the exception of Solomon Islands, the top five countries are wealthier than Kyrgyzstan.
Top 10 Places Least Similar to Kyrgyzstan
- Bahamas was colonized by Great Britain and highly influenced by the United States, so its infrastructure is quite different Kyrgyzstan. It drives on the left and uses Type A,B outlets with a lower voltage. Furthermore, its people are of mostly African ancestry. In addition, the country is quite prosperous, due to tourism and the banking industry, unlike Kyrgyzstan. Furthermore, the landscape of the Bahamas is essentially the opposite of Kyrgyzstan, since the country made up of many low-lying islands in the Western Hemisphere.
- Singapore is a densely populated, tropical, low-lying island city-state, unlike the more rural and mountainous landscape of Kyrgyzstan. It is also far more prosperous. One similarity is that about 15% of people in Singapore are Sunni Muslims. In addition, although both countries have unicameral legislatures, Singapore is dominated by one-party, while Kyrgyzstan is a multiparty democracy.
- Japan is technically on the same continent as Kyrgyzstan and it is also quite mountainous. Furthermore, their ancestry is somewhat similar since both have East Asian ancestry, although Kyrgyz people have more Caucasian ancestry. However other than these aspects Japan is extremely different. One reason is that Japanese do not follow an Abrahamic religion. Furthermore, its language and writing system are completely different. Their diet is also quite different since they eat a lot of pork, fish, and rice in contrast to Kyrgyzstan.
- Solomon Islands is a heavily forested archipelago in the Pacific Ocean. Its people have mostly Melanesian ancestry. Furthermore, it is mostly Christian. Its technology is especially different from Kyrgyzstan, since it drives on the left side of the road, uses Type I electrical outlets, and creates most of its electricity using oil, not hydropower.
- Trinidad & Tobago, like the Bahamas, is another former British colony located around the Caribbean Sea. However, it is lower down on this list for a few reasons. It is more mountainous than the Bahamas. Furthermore, although the country is mostly Christian, around five percent of the country is Muslim.
- Papua New Guinea, 7. Jamaica, 8. Taiwan, 9. Equatorial Guinea, 10. Rep. of Congo
Kyrgyzstan is like if Kazakhstan was more like Tajikistan
According to the Index, Kazakhstan is the most similar country to Kyrgyzstan. However, they have a few significant differences. Tajikistan has many of the aspects of Kyrgyzstan that Kazakhstan lacks. Both countries are extremely mountainous. They also use hydropower to create electricity, while Kazakhstan uses coal. Kazakhstan is also wealthier and more developed than Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan.
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