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 Singapore
Singapore is a Southeast Asian country, but it also shares some traits with East Asian countries. It also retains many British characteristics from over a century of colonization. Due to its unique mix of influences, it one of the most unique countries. The five most similar countries to Singapore all border the Pacific Ocean. They tend to be densely populated and their major cities have many skyscrapers. With the exception of South Korea, these countries also all have hot and humid climates.
- Malaysia and Singapore were briefly united in the 1960s, before Singapore was expelled and became an independent country. A significant number of Malay people are in Singapore. Two big differences are that Singapore’s lingua franca is English, not Malay, and it is also much more religiously diverse. Furthermore, Malaysia is not as wealthy or developed. Still, both countries were once British colonies and both have significant numbers of Chinese immigrants.
- Brunei is another small country that borders Malaysia, which recently gained its independence from Britain. Singapore and Brunei are also two of the wealthiest countries in East Asia. However, there are significant differences between them as well. While Singapore is a secular state with a diversity of religions, Islam is the predominant faith and state religion of Brunei. It is also not as densely populated as Singapore and most of its land is covered by rainforest.
- Taiwan, like Singapore, is a tropical island in the Pacific Ocean with a mostly ethnic Chinese population. They also have a similar standard of living. Furthermore, military service is mandatory for males in both countries. Nevertheless, Taiwan was not colonized by Britain, so it does not have British traits like driving on the left side of the road, using common law, and speaking English.
- Philippines is another densely populated tropical country located in Southwest Asia. Both countries have English as one of their official languages, although Philippines was colonized by the United States, not Britain, so it drives on the right and uses Type A, B electrical outlets. Philippines has a lower standard of living than Taiwan and also less rule of law. Still, both countries have significant populations of both Christians and Muslims.
- South Korea is another Asian country that has a significant amount of both Buddhists and Christians. They both have an extremely high percentage of college graduates. As a result, these countries have a similar standard of living as well. The biggest difference is that Korean is unrelated to either English or Chinese. Korean writing is also significantly different from other writing systems. Furthermore, South Korea’s climate is much colder.
- Vietnam, 7. Trinidad & Tobago, 8. Thailand, 9. China, 10. Mauritius
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Top 10 Countries Least Similar to Singapore
The five least similar countries all have a majority Muslim population, despite the fact that 15% of people in Singapore are Muslim. These countries are far poorer than Singapore and their infrastructure is extremely different. Their climates are also much drier and their population density is quite sparse. They have less rule of law and their governments tend to be more anarchic.
- Niger is a landlocked country located in the Sahara Desert. It was one a colony of France, so it drives on the right and uses Type C, E electrical outlets, unlike Singapore. The country has little demographic similarity as well since it has the youngest population in the world. The ancestry of its people is also significantly different.
- Afghanistan and Singapore are both technically in Asia, but there is little cultural or demographic similarity between the two countries. Their geography is especially different since Afghanistan is extremely mountainous and landlocked. Its climate also tends to be much colder and drier.
- Mali is yet another country African country located in the Sahara Desert with a predominately Muslim population on this list. The country is quite similar to Niger. It was also a French colony before becoming independent. However, Mali’s standard of living is higher than Niger’s.
- Yemen is located on the Arabian Peninsula, but unlike other countries there, it is poorly developed, due to continued civil war. Like Niger, it is another conservative Muslim country that has little rule of law, in contrast to Singapore. Furthermore, the country is quite mountainous. It also has some of the least restrictions on guns in the world.
- Somalia is another anarchic, Muslim country in Africa with poorly developed infrastructure, due to civil war. It is a sparsely populated desert with little demographic or cultural similarity to Singapore. While part of Somalia was a British protectorate, Britain had far less of an influence on Somalia than Singapore. However, the terrain in both countries is relatively flat.
- Eritrea, 7. Chad, 8. Burkina Faso, 9. Sudan, 10. Mauritania
Singapore is like if Malaysia was more like Taiwan
According to the Index, Malaysia is the most similar country to Singapore. However, these countries have some significant differences as well. The data shows that Taiwan is one country that has many traits of Singapore that Malaysia lacks. Mandarin is an official language in both Taiwan and Singapore, unlike in Malaysia. They also have a higher percentage of people with Chinese ethnicity. In addition, they both have a high percentage of college graduates and millionaires.
Full Ranking of Countries and Territories Most Similar to Singapore
All data accurate as of 2020.
Most Similar Demographics: Taiwan
Most Similar Culture: Malaysia
Most Similar Government: Malaysia
Most Similar Infrastructure: United Kingdom
Most Similar Geography: Philippines
Least Similar Demographics: Niger
Least Similar Culture: Afghanistan
Least Similar Government: Yemen
Least Similar Infrastructure: Haiti
Least Similar Geography: Canada