The Most Similar Countries to Papua New Guinea

papua new guinea similar countries map

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.

papua new guinea similar countries diagram

Top 10 Countries Most Similar to Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea is a country in the South Pacific region. The most similar countries to it are also located on tropical islands in the Pacific Ocean. They all use the Latin alphabet and the four most similar countries have English as their official language. In addition, although most Papuans do not speak Austronesian languages, the majority of people in the five most similar countries do. In addition, these countries are all predominately Christian. Another characteristic they have in common is their governments are democracies.

  1. Solomon Islands is an archipelago to the east of Papua New Guinea. It is another Commonwealth realm nation, which still has the Queen of the United Kingdom as its head of state. Both countries have English as one of their official languages and are predominately Protestant. Their technology is similar as well since both drive on the left and use Type I electrical outlets, like Australia and New Zealand. Still, its standard of living is higher than Papua New Guinea.
  2. Vanuatu is another Pacific archipelago, even further to the south and east than the Solomon Islands. Like Papua New Guinea, it is also inhabited by Melanesian people that are mostly Protestant. However, since it was jointly administered by both Great Britain and France, it has less of a British influence, so it drives on the right and is not a constitutional monarchy. In addition to English, French is also an official language there.
  3. Samoa is in Polynesia, unlike Papua New Guinea. However, it still has many similarities due to its shared Anglosphere influence. While Papua New Guinea became a territory of Australia after World War II, Samoa was a territory of New Zealand. Their laws are fairly similar. Both do not allow same sex marriage, abortion, polygamy, or pornography. One big difference is that Samoa is less heavily forested and more of the land is cultivated.
  4. Fiji is also a former British colony in Melanesia. However, Fiji is unique since a large proportion of its population came from India, as indentured workers. So the country has a significant percentage of Hindus. Both countries use the parliamentary form of government and also have a unicameral legislature. It is also far more developed than Papua New Guinea. Its people tend to be wealthier and also more educated than Papuans.
  5. East Timor is another country that shares an island with Indonesia. Like Papua New Guinea, it is a mix of Austronesian and Melanesian cultures. However, it is a former Portuguese colony so English is not the lingua franca there and its population is mostly Catholic. In addition, it has a higher percentage of farmland and its rainfall is also significantly lower.
  6. Tanzania 7. Zambia, 8. Liberia, 9. Madagascar, 10. Sierra Leone

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Top 10 Countries Least Similar to Papua New Guinea

Four of the five least similar countries to Papua New Guinea are located in Northern Europe. Although, like Papua New Guinea, they are mostly Christian, they tend to be much less religious. In addition, the infrastructure in these countries is more far more developed and they are more densely populated. Their climate and landscapes are also far different. They have colder climates and are less densely forested. Furthermore, their laws are much less conservative than Papua New Guinea’s.

  1. Israel is a densely populated country in the Mediterranean. In contrast to the dry climate of Israel, Papua New Guinea is one of the wettest countries on Earth. While Papua New Guinea has little infrastructure, Israel is highly developed. It drives on the right and uses different electrical outlets as well. What especially makes Israel different is that is mostly Jewish and uses the Hebrew script.
  2. Germany actually colonized the northern part of New Guinea before it lost the territory after World War I. However, there is little legacy from that time. The two countries have highly divergent culture, demographics, and politics. The country’s population is also much older on average. Its infrastructure is especially different since it drives on the right and uses Type C, F electrical outlets. Its network of railroads is also far more extensive.
  3. Luxembourg is located to the east of Germany. It is a small, densely populated landlocked country. It is also one of the wealthiest countries in the world. Although both countries are mostly Christian, Luxembourg is predominately Catholic and less religious. Furthermore, its climate is much colder than Papua New Guinea’s.
  4. Belgium is another mostly Catholic country on this list. It borders both Germany and Luxembourg. It is also far more densely populated and much more developed than Papua New Guinea. The country has little coastline and is fairly flat. In contrast to Papua New Guinea, most of its energy comes from nuclear power and natural gas.
  5. Netherlands is one of the world’s most developed countries. It is densely populated and extremely flat, unlike Papua New Guinea’s geography. The countries are very different political as Netherlands is much more liberal. For example, in the Netherlands same sex marriage is legal, while in Papua New Guinea same sex intercourse is criminalized.
  6. Denmark, 7. Saudi Arabia, 8. South Korea, 9. Bahrain, 10. United Arab Emirates

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Papua New Guinea is like if the Solomon Islands was more like Tanzania

The Solomon Islands is by far the most similar country to Papua New Guinea. In fact, it leads every single sub-category: demographics, culture, politics, infrastructure, and geography. This makes very few countries significantly more like Papua New Guinea than the Solomon Islands. Tanzania happens to be one country that has some aspects of Papua New Guinea that the Solomon Islands lacks. A lower percentage of land is close to the coasts in Tanzania and Papua New Guinea. In addition, the people in these countries are not as educated. They also tend to be less democratic than the Solomon Islands. In addition, more of their energy comes from hydropower.

Full Ranking of Countries and Territories Most Similar to Papua New Guinea

All data accurate as of 2020.

papua new guinea similar countries graph

Country Superlatives

Most Similar Demographics: Solomon Islands
Most Similar Culture: Solomon Islands
Most Similar Government: Solomon Islands
Most Similar Infrastructure: Solomon Islands
Most Similar Geography: Solomon Islands

Least Similar Demographics: Japan
Least Similar Culture: Japan
Least Similar Government: North Korea
Least Similar Infrastructure: United States
Least Similar Geography: Netherlands

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