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.
Qatar is a Middle Eastern country. The five countries most similar to it are all part of the Gulf Cooperation Council. The GCC is similar to the European Union in that people and goods are allowed to flow freely between their countries. These countries are all located in the Arabian Desert. They are predominately Muslim and their official language is Arabic. Furthermore, while these countries do not have a shared currency, all of their currencies have a fixed exchange rate with the US dollar. They are also all monarchies and are some of the richest Arab countries, due to their oil wealth.
Top 10 Places Most Similar to Qatar
- United Arab Emirates and Qatar are two of the most similar countries in the world, according to the Index. It is another country on the Persian Gulf Coast that was once a British protectorate. Both countries are highly developed and have a massive amount of male immigrants, especially from India. However, political relations between the United Arab Emirates and Qatar have broken down recently. The UAE government had even banned travel to it. Despite this, these countries have an incredibly high degree of similarity.
- Bahrain is an island in the Persian Gulf, next to Qatar. Its flag is extremely similar to Qatar. Both countries are densely populated and have a lot of skyscrapers. In addition, they are relatively flat and have a lot of coastline. One difference is that most Bahrainis are Shi’tes, not Sunnis. The country also has significantly less immigrants than Qatar or the United Arab Emirates.
- Kuwait is a small oil-rich country between Saudi Arabia and Iraq. Like Bahrain, it has many Shi’ites, although they are not the majority. Both countries are both heavily reliant on desalination to provide tap water. Kuwait relies more on oil than gas to generate electricity, unlike the other countries on this list. Furthermore, its geographical features are nearly identical to Qatar, with the biggest difference being that Qatar is a peninsula.
- Oman is more conservative than Qatar and has less foreigners. In stark contrast to other countries on this list, it does not have any skyscrapers. In fact, they are illegal. Furthermore, most of its people are Ibadi Muslims, not Sunni Muslims. Another difference is that Oman is more mountainous. It also does not border the Persian Gulf.
- Saudi Arabia is another oil-rich Muslim country with a high level of development. However, Qatar is far more cosmopolitan. Saudi Arabia’s laws are more conservative and it has fewer immigrants. Although both countries are absolute monarchies, Saudi Arabia does not even have a congress. In addition, Qatar is much more densely populated.
- Jordan, 7. Egypt, 8. Iraq, 9. Syria, 10. Libya
Four of the five least similar countries to Qatar located in Africa. These countries are mostly Christian. Their people natively speak Bantu languages and use the Latin script. Furthermore, the five least similar countries have a far lower standard of living than Qatar. Four of the five countries get far more rainfall and their landscapes are full of tropical vegetation.
Top 10 Places Least Similar to Qatar
- Democratic Republic of Congo, is a former Belgian colony that is extremely poor. In contrast to Qatar, a vast majority of its land is forested. While Qatar is a peninsula, the Democratic Republic of Congo has little coastline. In addition, it also has little demographic or cultural similarity to Qatar as well. However, both countries have authoritarian governments, although the Democratic Republic of Congo’s leader is not a monarch.
- Lesotho is another poor Christian country on this list. Not only is it completely surrounded by South Africa, but it is also more mountainous than Qatar. While both countries have few forests, Lesotho is mostly grassland. Due to its high elevation, its average temperature is also significantly lower than Qatar’s. Although both countries are monarchies, Lesotho’s monarch only has ceremonial powers and the government is mostly democratic.
- Papua New Guinea is a tropical Christian country in the Pacific Ocean with little cultural or demographic similarity. In contrast to the deserts of Qatar, it is one of the wettest countries on Earth. It is also more mountainous. Its infrastructure is very different from Qatar as well, since it drives on the left and uses Type I electrical outlets. One similarity is that both were controlled by Britain in the past, so English is widespread in these countries.
- Burundi is a mountainous landlocked country in Sub-Saharan Africa. Like the Democratic Republic of Congo, it was once a Belgian country before becoming independent. Its infrastructure is far different from Qatar, although both countries do drive on the right. It is far less wealthy and its people have a lower standard of living.
- Mozambique, despite also bordering the Indian Ocean, is far different from Qatar as well. The country gets a lot of rainfall and It was a colony of Portugal before its independence. Although it is mostly Christian, it has the highest percentage of Muslims on this list with around 20%. Its technology is also far different from Qatar, since it drives on the left and uses Type C, F, and M outlets.
- Haiti, 7. Central African Republic, 8. Angola, 9. Liberia, 10. Laos
Qatar is like if the United Arab Emirates was more like Kuwait
Qatar is like its two most similar countries, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait. Qatar and Kuwait have a higher population density than the United Arab Emirates. Both countries have a head of government that is chosen by the monarch, as well. In addition, unlike the United Arab Emirates, their judicial branches have a constitutional court based on the European model.
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