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 Mongolia
Mongolia is a Central Asian country, but of the countries in this region it has more traits of East Asia. These various influences make it is one of the most unique countries in the world. The five most similar countries to Mongolia were all once part of the Soviet Union. Although Mongolia is mostly Buddhist, the Central Asia countries similar to it are predominately Muslim. However, these countries tend to have high levels of irreligion, since religion was repressed by the government in the past. The four most similar countries speak Turkic languages that are distantly related to Mongolian. Furthermore these countries are all landlocked and have dry climates.
- Kazakhstan is another landlocked country that borders both China and Russia. The area was once part of the vast Mongol Empire. They are two of the least densely populated countries in the world. They both have a mix of dry desert lands and also temperate grasslands. Unlike other Central Asia countries, Kazakhstan and Mongolia both primarily use coal to generate power. In addition, both countries excel in wrestling.
- Kyrgyzstan is located between Kazakhstan and China. The ancestry of the people in Kyrgyzstan is more similar to Mongolia than other Central Asian countries. In fact, the area was once know as Moghulistan. Furthermore, both countries use the Cyrillic alphabet. Another trait they share is that their governments are also more democratic than other countries in the region. However, Kyrgyzstan is much more mountainous and its climate is not quite as dry.
- Uzbekistan is another country similar to Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan that was once part of the Mongol Empire and also the Soviet Union. Their laws are also quite similar. Both do not allow same sex marriage or prostitution, but they allow abortion and alcohol. One difference is that Uzbekistan is almost entirely powered by natural gas. Uzbeks also eat far more fruits and vegetables than Mongolians, still the diet of both countries is dominated by wheat products.
- Turkmenistan is just to the south of Uzbekistan, so it has a greater Persian and Muslim influence. Although both countries have a single party that is dominant, Turkmenistan is an authoritarian dictatorship, while Mongolia is much more democratic. The country has far more censorship of the press and the internet. In addition, unlike Mongolia, it uses a lot of water to irrigate its land. It also no longer uses the Cyrillic alphabet, since it switched to the Latin alphabet.
- Tajikistan is the only country on this list without a majority of Turkic people since most Tajiks speak a dialect of Persian. Still, it is another Central Asian country highly influenced by Russia. Both countries adopted the Cyrillic writing system although their native languages were originally written in a different script. While both countries are landlocked, Tajikistan is much more mountainous.
- Azerbaijan, 7. Armenia, 8. Ukraine, 9. Russia, 10. China
Top 10 Countries Least Similar to Mongolia
Four of the five least similar countries to Mongolia are mostly Christian and have English as one of their official languages. In contrast to landlocked Mongolia, most of the people in the five most similar counties live close to the coast. They also tend to be much more densely populated. With the exception of Liberia, they all drive on the left side of the road and natively speak Indo-European languages. In addition, all these countries get a lot more rainfall on average than Mongolia.
- Trinidad & Tobago‘s geography is especially different from Mongolia, since it is a densely populated group of tropical islands in the Caribbean. The country has a mix of people with African and Indian ancestry. Although both countries are democracies, Trinidad & Tobago has a parliamentary government with a bicameral legislature. Although their laws are fairly similar, it restricts abortion more, but has less restrictions on drugs.
- Bahamas is quite similar to Trinidad and Tobago. It is another tropical island nation, far away from Mongolia. On average, its people are wealthier and have a higher standard of living than Mongolians. The country is mostly Protestant Christian. In addition, the Bahamas is closely aligned with the United States politically, in contrast to Mongolia, which receives most of its weapons and support from Russia.
- Liberia is the least similar country to Mongolia in Africa. The country is heavily forested and has a tropical climate. Its standard of living is far lower than Mongolia’s. Most of its people natively speak Niger-Congo languages. In contrast to Mongolia, the diet of Liberians is much more heavy in rice and cassava. Another difference is that Liberia relies more on hydropower to create electricity.
- Bangladesh has one of the highest population densities in the world, in contrast to Mongolia, which is the least densely populated country. Unlike other countries on this list it is mostly Muslim. Its laws are extremely different from Mongolia as well. It allows prostitution and polygamy, but heavily restricts abortion and alcohol. Still, both countries are located in Asia and are relatively close to each other.
- New Zealand is yet another former British colony on this list. It is a group of islands located in the South Pacific Ocean. Its infrastructure is especially different from Mongolia. It has a lot of cars, but few people take the train. It drives on the left and uses a different standard railroad gauge. In addition, most of its electricity comes from renewable sources, since hydropower and geothermal produce most of the energy there.
- Solomon Islands, 7. United Kingdom, 8. Brunei, 9. Sierra Leone, 10. Malawi
Mongolia is like if Kazakhstan was more like Bhutan
According to the Index, Kazakhstan is the most similar country to Mongolia. However, since Mongolia is so unique, it has has many significant differences from Kazakhstan. The data shows that Bhutan is one country that has many of the attributes of Mongolia that Kazakhstan lacks. Most people in Bhutan and Mongolia practice Vajrayana Buddhism. They also have more East Asian ancestry than Kazakhs. Furthermore, Bhutan and Mongolia have more democratic governments than Kazakhstan.
All data accurate as of 2020.