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 Romania
Romania is a European country. Four of the top five most similar countries were members of the Warsaw Pact or part of the Soviet Union, until the end of the Cold War. Their infrastructure is also similar. They all drive on the right side of the road and use Type C electrical outlets. In addition, these countries all have temperate climates. With the exception of Moldova, most people in these countries natively speak Slavic languages, despite the fact that Romanian is a Romance language.
- Moldova had been part of Romania until the end of World War II, when it became part of the Soviet Union. Both countries speak Romanian and are mostly Orthodox Christian. Corn and wheat are two most common crops grown in these countries. However, Moldova is landlocked and its landscape is quite flat compared to Romania. It is also less affluent and has lower standard of living. Furthermore, Moldova is not part of the European Union.
- Bulgaria is another Orthodox Christian nation, located on the Black Sea. It is just to the south of Romania, across the Danube River. There actually have been a few proposals to unify the two countries before. They are among the poorest countries in the European Union. However, linguistically Bulgaria and Romania are far apart since Bulgaria speaks a Slavic language and uses the Cyrillic script. In addition, its people are less religious.
- Poland is politically similar to Romania, since they have the same semi-presidential form of government and extremely similar laws. They both have free college and have generous welfare benefits, due to their shared socialist history. While both countries are quite religious, Poland is Catholic. Another difference is that Poland borders the Baltic Sea, not the Black Sea.
- Serbia is located just to the west of Romania. It is another fairly religious country that is mostly Orthodox Christian. However, like Bulgaria, its people speak Slavic languages and use the Cyrillic script. Their diets are also quite similar. Both countries are democracies, but Serbia uses a parliamentary form of government and has a unicameral legislature. It is also not part of the European Union.
- Slovakia is yet another predominately Catholic country on this list, despite Romania being Orthodox Christian. Both countries still have a low level of urbanization compared to the rest of Europe. In addition, the countries have similar laws. Neither country allows same sex marriage, but they allow unorganized prostitution, abortion, and gambling. The Carpathian Mountains make up a large portion of both countries.
- Croatia, 7. Hungary, 8. Slovenia, 9. Italy, 10. North Macedonia
Top 10 Countries Least Similar to Romania
The four of the five least similar countries to Romania are predominately Muslim and have Arabic as one of their official languages. In addition, most people in these four countries natively speak Afro-Asiatic languages. Although they are relatively in close proximity to Romania, their climates are much hotter and drier. The five least similar countries all have a lower standard of living than Romania. They also have more conservative laws.
- Somalia is an anarchic, African country that borders the Indian Ocean. Due to civil war, it has particularly poorly developed infrastructure. In addition, its hot desert climate contrasts Romania’s temperate forest landscape. The country is also more sparsely populated and has a lower percentage of agricultural and forested land. However, despite their languages being unrelated, they both use the Latin script.
- Sudan is located in the Sahara Desert and borders the Red Sea. The country recently lost some territory to the newly formed country of South Sudan, due to civil war. It is mostly Muslim and its people natively speak Arabic. Still, interestingly enough much of the water in both countries drains to the Mediterranean Sea.
- Papua New Guinea, like Romania, is a Christian country, however they are mostly Protestant. Apart from their religion and writing system, the countries have little similarity. Papua New Guinea is a sparsely populated, tropical island, with a small percentage of agricultural land. Most of its people have Melanesian ancestry. It also drives on the left and uses Type I electrical outlets, unlike Romania.
- Yemen is located on the Arabian Peninsula, across the Gulf of Aden from Somalia. It is another conservative Muslim country whose infrastructure is underdeveloped due to civil war. The country has extremely loose gun control laws and only the United States has more guns per capita. Although both Romanians and Yemenis are considered to be Caucasians, their ancestry is still significantly different.
- Chad is a former French colony in Africa. Along with French, Arabic is also an official language there. It is landlocked and located in the Sahara Desert. The country is far less democratic than Romania. It had been ruled by a dictator for several decades. Still, their laws are not completely different. They both allow gambling and alcohol. However, polygamy is allowed as well in Chad.
- Niger, 7. Eritrea, 8. Solomon Islands, 9. Gambia, 10. South Sudan
Romania is like if Moldova was more like France
According to the Index, Moldova is the most similar country to Romania. However, they also have some significant differences as well, since Moldova was part of the Soviet Union. The data indicates that France is one country that has many of the traits of Romania that Moldova lacks. Moldova has a much lower employment rate than France and Romania. In addition, they both have a semi-presidential form of government and a bicameral legislature, unlike Moldova. Both France and Romania are in the European Union as well. Furthermore, they both use the standard gauge railroad and are on the same electrical grid, unlike Moldova. In terms of geography, France and Romania are more mountainous and also have more coastline.
All data accurate as of 2020.