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 Pakistan
Pakistan has a blend of both Middle Eastern and South Asian traits, so this makes it a relatively unique country. The five most similar countries to it are located in Asia. Four of the five border the Indian Ocean. With the exception of India, they are also predominately Muslim countries. In addition, these countries are not well developed and tend to have a low standard of living.
- India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan, were originally all one country. However, after the partition of India in 1947, the country was separated on the basis of religion. The nations retain many similarities, despite the fact they are now on unfriendly terms with each other. Pakistan’s official languages English and Urdu (a dialect of Hindi using the Arabic writing system) mirror India’s. In addition, their infrastructure is similar since they both drive on the left and use the same rail gauge. They also use the same electrical outlet and voltage. However, unlike Pakistan its population is mostly Hindu.
- Afghanistan is located just to the north of Pakistan. Both countries are mostly desert and have high mountains. In addition, both are Muslim and their governments practice Sharia law. However, unlike Pakistan, it was never a full colony of Britain, so it has less of a British influence. It drives on the right side of the road and uses the Russian broad gauge railroad track. It also does not have a parliamentary system of government.
- Iraq is the most similar Arab country to Pakistan. Like Pakistan, it had also been ruled by Britain for a time. In fact, the Indian Rupee was even the currency there at one time. Iraq also has a parliamentary form of government similar to Pakistan. These two Muslim countries are also primarily deserts with major rivers flowing through them. However, although both countries use the Arabic script, the major languages in Pakistan are completely unrelated to Arabic.
- Bangladesh was part of Pakistan up until 1971, so the countries have significant similarities. Although both countries have a majority Sunni Muslim majority population, Bangladesh’s language and writing system are both far different from Pakistan’s. In addition, Bangladesh’s climate is quite different from Pakistan. In contrast to Pakistan’s mountainous desert landscape, Bangladesh is low lying and wet, surrounding the Ganges River delta.
- Yemen is the least prosperous country on the Arabian Peninsula. Like Pakistan, it is also quite mountainous, although its highest points are not nearly as tall. Their laws are also similar in many respects. Both countries heavily restrict abortion, and do not allow prostitution or same sex marriage, but allow polygamy. However, due to on-going civil war, the country’s government is more anarchic than Pakistan’s
- Iran, 7. Egypt, 8. Syria, 9. Morocco, 10. Sudan
Top 10 Countries Least Similar to Pakistan
The least similar countries to Pakistan are located in Northern Europe and East Asia. They not only have more developed infrastructure but their governments are also more democratic. With the exception of Iceland, these countries have a far higher percentage of forested land. They also have aging populations, in contrast to Pakistan.
- Taiwan is a subtropical island in the Pacific Ocean that gets a lot of rainfall. The country drives on the right and uses different electrical outlets than Pakistan. Furthermore, there are few Muslims in Taiwan, since they follow Buddhism and traditional Chinese religions. The biggest similarity is that they are both located in Asia, although they are far apart.
- Finland‘s demographics are vastly different from Pakistan, in part due to the fact that of all European countries it has the least genetic similarity to Pakistan, since Finns have more Siberian genes. Furthermore, Finnish is not an Indo-European language. In addition, the country is quite flat and has many lakes, in contrast to Pakistan’s dry mountainous landscape.
- South Korea is yet another East Asian country with little similarity to Pakistan. While both countries are mountainous, South Korea’s culture and demographics are quite different. In addition, its infrastructure is much more developed and its technology is quite different since it drives on the right and uses a different rail gauge.
- Japan, like Taiwan, is another island in the Pacific on the list. Still, there are a few similarities which make it more similar to Pakistan than Taiwan. Both countries drive on the left and are also quite mountainous. Furthermore, the average temperature of both countries is similar. In addition, Japan tends to do much better in the Olympics than Pakistan or Taiwan.
- Iceland is an island nation in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Its people are far less religious than Pakistanis. Its laws are also more liberal, since Iceland allows same sex marriage, abortion, and pornography. However, one thing they have in common is that their people natively speak Indo-European languages. Iceland also has little forested land, but its land is not completely barren either.
- Denmark, 7. Netherlands, 8. Norway, 9. Sweden, 10. Luxembourg
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Pakistan is like if India was more like Iraq
According to the Index, India is the most similar country to Pakistan. However, there are some big differences between these countries as well. The data shows that Iraq is one country that has many characteristics of Pakistan that India lacks. Both Iraq and Pakistan are mostly Muslim and use the Arabic script. In addition, their climates are also drier than India’s. As a result, wheat is a more common crop in Iraq and Pakistan than it is in India.
Full Ranking of Countries and Territories Most Similar to Pakistan
All data accurate as of 2020.
Most Similar Demographics: Bangladesh
Most Similar Culture: Afghanistan
Most Similar Government: Gambia
Most Similar Infrastructure: India
Most Similar Geography: Iran
Least Similar Demographics: Japan
Least Similar Culture: Japan
Least Similar Government: Austria
Least Similar Infrastructure: Iceland
Least Similar Geography: Trinidad & Tobago