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 Nepal
Nepal is a South Asian country. Very few countries are similar to it. Its culture and geography are relatively unique. Four of the five most similar countries were once colonized by the British. With the exception of Bhutan, most people in these countries speak Indic languages. In addition, four of the five use writing systems that have their origins in the Brahmic script. Cricket has widespread popularity in these countries as well.
- India is the only other country with more than 50% of the population that follows Hinduism. The Nepali language is also quite similar to Hindi. Nepal also has an open border with India. In addition, the Indian Rupee is legal tender in Nepal. They are also both democracies that have parliamentary governments and a head of state elected by their legislature and state governments. However, it is much more mountainous and has a cooler climate as a result.
- Bhutan is another landlocked country in the Himalayas that does not have a high standard of living. Both countries primarily use hydropower to create electricity. In addition, neither country has a highly developed military. However, the two countries have some big differences as well. While the ancestry of Bhutanese comes mostly from East Asia, the ancestry of Nepalese is closer to Indians. Furthermore, they are mostly Buddhist, not Hindu. Bhutan’s government is also different since it is a constitutional monarchy.
- Pakistan also has significant portions of the Himalayas within its boundaries. The Nepali language is also similar to Urdu, however their writing systems are completely different, since Urdu uses the Arabic script. Unlike Nepal, Pakistan is mostly Muslim, however the countries due share other cultural similarities. The primary meat they eat is beef and they both do not drink much alcohol either. Pakistan’s climate is also significantly drier.
- Bangladesh is a flat river delta, in contrast to mountainous Nepal. It is far more densely populated than Nepal as well. Its people mostly practice Islam, not Hinduism. Still, the countries still do share many similar cultural points such as speaking Indic languages and having a similar writing system. In addition, both countries love to watch cricket. Neither country has won an Olympic medal as well.
- Sri Lanka is a tropical island in the Indian Ocean. It is yet another country where most people speak Indic languages. The country is mostly Buddhist. Both countries farm a lot of rice, but Nepal grows a significant amount of wheat as well. Another difference is that Sri Lanka is wealthier and has a higher standard of living.
- Myanmar, 7. Laos, 8. Cambodia, 9. Kyrgyzstan, 10. Afghanistan
Top 10 Countries Least Similar to Nepal
The five least similar countries to Bhutan are all Western countries. These countries are mostly Christian, but also tend to be less religious than Nepal. Most people in four of the five countries natively speak Germanic languages. Furthermore, they all have a much higher standard of living. With the exception of the United States, these countries are relatively flat and have a lot of coastline.
- United States is by far the least similar country to Nepal. The countries have little technological similarity, since USA drives on the right and uses Type A, B plus with a different voltage than in Nepal. In addition, they have little cultural similarity. Although both countries speak an Indo-European language, but Nepal does not use the Latin script. In addition, Americans are mostly Christian.
- Finland yet another highly developed, European country on this list. The country is quite flat and has many freshwater lakes. Its climate is also much cooler than the populated areas of Nepal. However, both countries have large swathes of coniferous forests. Furthermore, Finnish is not an Indo-European language.
- Netherlands is extremely flat and low-lying, in stark contrast to Nepal. However both countries are densely populated. The Netherlands is also far less religious and has far more liberal laws than Nepal. While both countries have parliamentary governments, the Netherlands is a constitutional monarchy.
- Denmark is another extremely flat and low-lying country that borders the North Sea. It is also has a lot of coastline, in contrast to Nepal. Furthermore, it is much more developed than Nepal, like other countries on this list. While both countries have a lot of agricultural land, Denmark tends to grow more barley, since its climate is significantly colder.
- Australia is the least mountainous continent, so it is fittingly on this list. Its climate is also much hotter and drier than Nepal’s as well. Another difference is that Australia is less densely populated and more urbanized. However, unlike other countries on this list Australia drives on the left side of the road. Furthermore, cricket is popular in Australia as well.
- Saudi Arabia, 7. Canada , 8. Bahrain, 9. South Korea, 10. Germany
Nepal is like if India was more like Bhutan
Nepal’s two most similar countries are India and Bhutan. While Nepal’s demographics and culture are highly similar to India, its infrastructure and geography resemble Bhutan more. Both Bhutan and Nepal are landlocked countries located between China and India, located in the Himalayas. Due to their terrain, these countries rely on hydropower to create energy, unlike India which primarily uses coal. Furthermore, India has far more railroad traffic than Bhutan and Nepal.
All data accurate as of 2020.