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.
Somalia is a Sub-Saharan African country. It shares many of the same characteristics as other countries located in the sparsely populated Sahel region. The majority of people speak Afroasiatic languages in the top five most similar countries to Somalia The top four are also predominately Muslim. Most of these countries are also quite poor and do not have well developed infrastructure. With the exception of Ethiopia, these countries tend to have extremely hot and dry climates.
Top 10 Places Most Similar to Somalia
- Djibouti is located to the north of Somalia. It is the only other country with a majority of Somali-speaking people. While Somalia was created from the former British Somaliland and Italian Somaliland colonies, Djibouti was created from French Somaliland, so it also uses French as an official language. Both countries also have Arabic as one of their official languages. However, Djibouti is a much smaller country and is more developed.
- Sudan borders the Red Sea and is located just below Egypt. Both Somalia and Sudan have experienced civil war in recent years, leading to their poverty. In addition, the countries have some of the highest rates of male and female circumcision in the world. While both countries speak Afroasiatic languages, Sudan primarily uses the Arabic script, while Somali uses the Latin script.
- Mauritania is another country that has a confluence of Muslim and Sub-Saharan African traits. Like Somalia, sorghum is the main agricultural product grown there. Both countries are also members of the Arab League. One big difference is that Mauritania is located on the Atlantic Ocean, while Somalia borders the Indian Ocean. It is also wealthier and more developed than Somalia.
- Niger is another predominately Muslim country located in the Sahara Desert on this list. Like Somalia, it has one of the youngest populations in the world. Both countries primarily use the Latin alphabet, although most of their native people speak Afro-Asiatic languages. However one big difference is that Niger was colonized by France. It is also landlocked, in stark contrast to Somali’s long coastline.
- Ethiopia is also located on the Horn of Africa. Somali is one of Ethiopia’s official languages, although less than 10% of people natively speak it in Ethiopia. The Somali language used to use the Ge’ez script before they switched to the Latin alphabet. However, Ethiopia also has some significant differences. Somalia has very few Christians. It also is not nearly as mountainous. Because of its high average elevation, its climate is cooler.
- Chad, 7. Eritrea, 8. Mali, 9. Yemen, 10. Senegal
The three least similar countries to Somalia are located in East Asia. All five border the Pacific Ocean. Their economies are much better and their infrastructure is highly developed. They are democratic countries with a high degree of rule of law. Another big difference is that these countries get much more rainfall and have a greater percentage of forested land.
Top 10 Places Least Similar to Somalia
- Japan not only has the least similar culture to Somalia, but also quite different geography. In addition, Japan has extremely different infrastructure, since they drive on the left and have a completely different electrical system, using 100 volt Type A,B outlets. Still, they have a few similar laws. Both countries do not allow gambling or same sex marriage.
- Taiwan is another densely populated East Asian country on this list. Like Japan, its demographics and culture are quite different from Somalia. Its infrastructure is far more developed as well. Both countries have a hot climate, but Somalia is much drier. It is also more mountainous.
- South Korea is similar to Japan and Taiwan. It is one of the most well educated countries in the world and has the highest percentage of college graduates. There is very little it has in common with Somalia. However, both countries do drive on the right and use Type C, F electrical outlets.
- New Zealand, like Japan and Taiwan, is a country located on islands in the Pacific Ocean. The country is mostly Protestant. Its infrastructure is much more developed. Furthermore, it drives on the left and uses Type I electrical outlets unlike Somalia. Although both countries use the Latin alphabet, English is unrelated to the Somali language.
- Canada is one of the coldest countries and has a high rate of urbanization, whereas Somalia is one of the hottest countries and is much more rural. They also share little cultural or demographic similarity. Their laws are also far different. For example, while Canada allows same-sex marriage, Somalia is one of the few countries that imposes the death penalty for same-sex intercourse.
- Switzerland, 7. Luxembourg, 8. Norway, 9. Netherlands, 10. Sweden
Somalia is like if Djibouti was more like Ethiopia
According to the Index, Somalia’s most similar country is Djibouti. However, they also have a few significant differences. Somalia has a lower standard of living and its infrastructure is less developed. Because of this, Ethiopia is one country that is significantly more like Somalia than it is like Djibouti.
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