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 Nicaragua
Nicaragua is a Latin American country. Many of its neighboring countries in Central America have a high degree of similarity to it. The five most similar countries all have Spanish as their official language. In addition, most people are Catholic in these countries. They all have tropical climates. Furthermore, four of the five countries border the Caribbean Sea. Their infrastructure is also similar since they all drive on the right and use Type A, B electrical outlets.
- Honduras and Nicaragua are two of the most similar countries in the world. Their laws, demographics, and culture are nearly identical. Both countries are located on the Mosquito Coast. They are also the two poorest countries in Central America. Their diet generally consists of chicken with corn, rice, and wheat. Most people in these countries have a mix of European and Native American ancestry, but also a significant amount of people with African ancestry.
- El Salvador is also quite similar to Nicaragua, even though they do not border each other. Their agriculture is incredibly similar as both countries grow a lot of corn, coffee, and beans, but Nicaragua has a lower percentage of agricultural land and is less densely populated. Both countries primarily use oil to create electricity, but also use biomass, geothermal, and hydropower.
- Guatemala is further north than Honduras and El Salvador. Guatemala has less people with African ancestry and more people with Native American ancestry. Many of its people still speak Mayan, unlike Nicaragua. Other than those unique demographic and cultural traits, the country is not very different from Nicaragua. Their laws are incredibly similar. Both countries do not allow same sex marriage or abortion.
- Panama also has similar culture, demographics, and geography to Nicaragua. However, Panama is more prosperous and it has far more skyscrapers. Furthermore, while Nicaragua has close relations with Russia, in contrast Panama has the closest ties with the United States of any Central American country. Nicaragua is interested in creating a canal between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, like Panama already has.
- Dominican Republic, unlike other countries on this list, is not in Central America. Still, their climates and landscape are not far different. Like Guatemala, its laws are nearly identical to Nicaragua as well. However, a higher percentage of people have African ancestry there. The Dominican Republic is also a little more affluent than Nicaragua and also more democratic.
- Costa Rica, 7. Colombia, 8. Ecuador, 9. Venezuela, 10. Peru
Top 10 Places Least Similar to Nicaragua
The five least similar countries to Nicaragua are located in Asia. Four of the five have Arabic as their official language and their people are mostly Muslim. The laws in these four countries are generally more conservative and their governments are absolute monarchies. Furthermore, all these countries are far more affluent than Nicaragua and have a higher standard of living.
- Japan has little demographic or cultural similarity to Nicaragua. Japan has a much older population and it is also much wealthier. While Japan has one of the most sophisticated rail networks, there is no railroad traffic in Nicaragua. The biggest similarity is that both countries are located on Ring of Fire, so they have many active volcanos and earthquakes. They also both use Type A, B electrical outlets.
- United Arab Emirates is one of the wealthiest countries in the world. It is home to the tallest building in the world, Burj Khalifa, and has many skyscrapers. In contrast, Nicaragua does not have any skyscrapers. Furthermore, it has far more men than women, since a large portion of its population consists of migrant construction workers.
- Qatar is very similar to the United Arab Emirates. It also borders the Persian Gulf and Saudi Arabia. In addition, its climate is much drier than Nicaragua’s, so it has less forested and agricultural land. Its terrain is also quite flat. Although both countries drive on the right, Qatar not only uses Type G electrical outlets, but also a different electrical voltage and frequency than is used in Nicaragua.
- Saudi Arabia is yet another Arabian country on this list. Its government is especially different from Nicaragua, since it is an absolute monarchy and the country does not even have a congress. Its laws are also more conservative than in Nicaragua. Gambling and alcohol are not allowed there. Unlike the other countries on this list, its population density is less than Nicaragua’s.
- Bahrain is a small, densely populated island in the Persian Gulf. Much of its land is urban or desert, in contrast to heavily forested Nicaragua. Like other countries on this list, it is also highly developed and quite wealthy. The country uses far more energy per capita than Nicaragua and relies on natural gas to create electricity.
- Kuwait, 7. Israel, 8. South Korea, 9. Singapore, 10. China
Nicaragua is like if Honduras was more like Cuba
According to the Index, Honduras is the most similar country to Nicaragua. However, the data indicates that Cuba is one country that has more in common with Nicaragua than it does with Honduras. This is mostly due to politics. Both countries had armed revolutions where socialist governments came into power. Nowadays, one left-wing party still dominates in both Cuba and Nicaragua. Furthermore, as a result of their shared political views, these countries received a lot of aid from Russia.
All data accurate as of 2020.