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 Places Most Similar to Libya
Libya is an Arabic-speaking country similar to many nations in North Africa and the Middle East. The vast majority of people in the five most similar countries to Libya are Sunni Muslim. They also have similar climates, since they have high temperatures and little precipitation. These countries also tend to have relatively conservative laws.
- Egypt is Libya’s neighbor to its east, so they have similar geography. Although both countries have little of their land used for agriculture, Egypt’s crops are quite different. Libya tends to grow more olives and barley. The countries have similar conservative Muslim laws. In addition, their governments have had coups d’etat in recent times. Both countries use the same electrical grid and use oil and gas to generate power. However, Libya does not have a railroad network, while Egypt’s is well established.
- Algeria is another country in North Africa that only borders the Mediterranean Sea, so its geography is also similar. Both countries are mostly desert and have large reserves of natural gas. Their diets are also alike, since they tend to eat a lot of bread, chicken, and lamb. However, Algeria has a higher percentage of Berbers living there. Another difference is that it has a semi-presidential form of government.
- Jordan does not directly border the Mediterranean, but it also somewhat similar to Libya. The countries use both oil and natural gas to create electricity. In addition, both countries rely on underground aquifers for water and do not have significant surface water reservoirs. However, unlike Libya, Jordan has a monarchy, although both countries tend to have a lot of censorship.
- Tunisia is between Libya and Algeria. Its main agricultural products, consisting of wheat, barley, and olives, are essentially the same as Libya, although it has a higher percentage of agricultural land. Tunisia and Libya also have about the same average level of education. One big difference is that Tunisia is more democratic and has less conservative laws. It also has a bigger French influence, since it was colonized by France, not Italy.
- Saudi Arabia is another country that is almost completely comprised of a barren desert landscape. Both countries have extremely conservative laws. They do not allow same sex marriage, pornography, alcohol, prostitution, or gambling. However, Saudi Arabia’s government is a well established authoritarian monarchy. Libya’s government is more anarchic, since the country endured civil war in recent years.
- Iraq, 7. Syria, 8. Morocco, 9. Yemen, 10. Oman
Top 10 Places Least Similar to Libya
The least similar countries to Libya are all highly developed countries that border the Pacific Ocean. The four least similar countries are located in Asia. Not only do these countries have a far different culture, but their geography is also significantly different. These countries get a lot more rainfall so they have more forests and farmland. They are also much more densely populated.
- Japan is by far the least similar country to Libya. It is a temperate, mountainous, and densely populated archipelago in the Pacific Ocean. Not only is its geography significantly different, but also its demographics, culture, politics, and technology. While Japan has one of the most developed railroad systems, Libya does not even have a railroad in use.
- Taiwan is another densely populated island in the Pacific Ocean, although its average temperature is similar, it gets far more precipitation. In addition, Taiwan’s demographics are vastly different since their population is much older and its birth rate is quite low. Furthermore, far fewer people are living in poverty than Libya. It is also more liberal, since it allows gay marriage and does not restrict abortion.
- South Korea is the third straight East Asian country on this list. However, its technology is slightly more similar than Japan and Taiwan, since it both drives on the right and uses Type C electrical outlets with the same voltage as Libya. While both countries are highly urbanized, South Korea is much more densely populated and a far colder climate.
- Singapore and Libya are two of the least similar countries in regards to geography. While Libya is extremely sparsely populated, Singapore is one of the most densely populated countries in the world. It also gets far more rainfall, so its natural landscape is lush tropical forests, not a barren desert landscape. Still, both countries do have a hot climate. Singapore is also quite diverse religiously so it does have a significant Muslim population, but Christianity and Buddhism are followed by more people there.
- New Zealand is another wet and mountainous archipelago in the Pacific Ocean far away from Libya. Their infrastructure also is very different as New Zealand uses Type I plugs, drives on the left, and generates most of its electricity through hydropower. In addition, New Zealand is far more liberal than Algeria. However, most New Zealanders and Algerians are considered to be Caucasian, so their ancestry is not significantly different.
- Switzerland, 7. Papua New Guinea, 8. North Korea, 9. Solomon Islands, 10. Canada
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Libya is like if Egypt was more like Saudi Arabia
According to the Index, Egypt is the most similar country to Libya. There are extremely few countries that are more similar to Libya than they are to Egypt. The data shows that Saudi Arabia is one of them. Unlike Egypt, both Libya and Saudi Arabia have completely banned gambling and alcohol. In addition, both countries rely on underground aquifers for water and do not have significant surface water reservoirs or large dams, like Egypt does on the Nile River.
Full Ranking of Countries and Territories Most Similar to Libya
All data accurate as of 2020.
Most Similar Demographics: Tunisia
Most Similar Culture: Egypt
Most Similar Government: Somalia
Most Similar Infrastructure: Syria
Most Similar Geography: Algeria
Least Similar Demographics: Japan
Least Similar Culture: Latvia
Least Similar Government: Canada
Least Similar Infrastructure: Mozambique
Least Similar Geography: Singapore