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.
Slovakia is a European country. Many countries in the region are similar to it, in part due to its relatively central position on the continent. The five most similar countries to Slovakia are mostly Catholic. They are all part of the European Union. Most people in the top four countries natively speak Slavic languages. With the exception of Poland, they were all once part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
Top 10 Places Most Similar to Slovakia
- Czechia and Slovakia were part of the same country until 1992, so they share similar traits. Czech and Slovak are mutually intelligible languages. In fact, according to the Index, they are two of the most similar countries in the world. Both have St. Cyril and Methodius Day as a public holiday. Their diets are similar since they eat a lot of pork. In addition, both countries enjoy ice hockey and soccer. They also have won many medals in canoeing at the Olympics. However, Czechia is less mountainous and more densely populated. It also relies on coal power plants to create energy, not nuclear power plants like in Slovakia.
- Slovenia does not border Slovakia, but it is similar in many ways. Both countries are fairly mountainous, but Slovakia is landlocked. They also use a mixture of coal, hydropower, and nuclear energy to create electricity. Their parliamentary governments are especially similar. Their laws are nearly identical, except that Slovenia has decriminalized drugs and also allows civil unions for same sex relationships. In addition, their flags are easily mistaken for each other since they are similar.
- Poland is located to the north of Slovakia. The exact border between them has changed several times in the past hundred years. The countries also have a similar standard of living. However, Poland is less mountainous and has a higher percentage of farmland. While both countries are mostly Catholic, Poland is more religious. Unlike Slovakia, it uses the semi-presidential form of government and has a bicameral legislature.
- Croatia is yet another predominately Catholic, Slavic-speaking country on this list. They also have a relatively similar standard of living. One big difference is that Croatia borders the Mediterranean and it has many beaches in contrast to the landlocked Slovakia. Still, both are fairly mountainous. Another difference is that basketball and handball are more popular in Croatia, while fewer people are interested in ice hockey there.
- Hungary is the only non-Slavic country on this list. Like Czechoslovakia and Slovenia, it was once part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, before its dissolution after World War I. It is another landlocked country in Europe with an extremely similar climate and terrain. Furthermore, around 10% of people in Slovakia have Hungarian ethnicity, mostly on its southern border with Hungary.
- Serbia, 7. Bulgaria, 8. Austria, 9. Romania, 10. Lithuania
Four of the five least similar countries to Slovakia are located in Africa. Most are also close to the Red Sea. Their standard of living tends to be much lower than Slovakia’s. In addition, their governments are less democratic and have more conservative laws. The four least similar countries are also mostly desert and have a low percentage of farmland and forested land. Except for Eritrea, they are all mostly Muslim.
Top 10 Places Least Similar to Slovakia
- Somalia is an anarchic, Muslim country in Africa that has poorly developed infrastructure, due to civil war. In addition, it is a mostly tropical desert shrub land, unlike Slovakia’s cool temperate forest landscape. It also has a lot of coastline and is relatively flat in contrast to Slovakia. Still, both countries do use the Latin alphabet, although their languages are completely unrelated.
- Eritrea is another African country on this list, but it borders the Red Sea. Its government has been a dictatorship for almost 20 years. Its unique language and writing system are completely different from Slovak. However, a majority of its people are Christian, although they are mostly Oriental Orthodox and more religious. It also has a significant Muslim population as well.
- Sudan is another country that borders the Red Sea. It is located in the Sahara Desert. Due to civil war, the nation’s infrastructure is not well developed. In addition, it is a predominately Muslim country where most people speak Arabic. The country recently lost some territory to the newly formed country of South Sudan.
- Yemen is located on the Arabian Peninsula, across the Red Sea from Sudan and Eritrea. It is another conservative Muslim country that has poorly developed infrastructure, due to civil war. Although both countries are mountainous, Yemen is much hotter and drier than Slovakia. It has has a lot of coastline. One thing they do share is that both of their people are considered to be Caucasian, although their ancestry is still significantly different.
- Gambia is a former British colony in Africa. Its population is mostly Muslim. In contrast to Slovakia, it is not mountainous and its climate is much hotter. Furthermore, their diets are highly dissimilar. Gambians tend to eat fish, rice, and millet, not pork, potatoes, and wheat products. Still, like Somalia, it has adopted the Latin alphabet, although its language is completely different from Slovak.
- Niger, 7. Chad, 8. Bangladesh, 9. Mauritania, 10. Cambodia
Slovakia is like if the Czech Republic was more like Ukraine
The Czech Republic and Slovakia are two of the most similar countries. There is very little difference between them. However, the data indicates that Ukraine is one country that has some traits of Slovakia that the Czech Republic lacks. Ukrainians and Slovaks tend to be more religious than Czechs. Their economies are also not as good as the Czech Republic’s, although Ukraine’s is more significantly less. According to the Lewis Model, their people also tend to be more outgoing than Czechs. Slovakia and Ukraine both have unicameral legislatures and significantly less rule of law than the Czech Republic. A significant amount of electricity in both countries is created by nuclear power as well.
All data accurate as of 2020.
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