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.
South Sudan is a Sub-Saharan African country. It is like many countries in the region. The top five countries most similar to it all have English as one of their official languages. They also have a significant amount of savanna land. In addition, these countries do not have a high standard of living and their infrastructure is not well developed.
Although South Sudan was recently part of Sudan, it is not even one of the top ten most similar countries, reflecting the reason South Sudan felt the need to become independent. Sudan is mostly Muslim and its landscape is generally barren desert, not tropical savanna land. Furthermore, its people have more ancestry from the Middle East than South Sudanese.
Top 10 Places Most Similar to South Sudan
- Tanzania is the only country other than Egypt that South Sudan allows visitors to come from without a visa. Both countries were once colonized by Great Britain. They are also part of the East African Community. Their laws are also similar. Both countries criminalize same sex relationships, but allow polygamy. They also allow gambling and strictly restrict abortion. However, one big difference is that Tanzania has a much higher percentage of Muslims.
- Uganda is to the south of South Sudan. Although both countries are landlocked, the Nile River runs through them. While, both countries do not have well developed infrastructure, Uganda drives on the left, uses Type G electrical outlets, and also one meter railroad gauge, unlike South Sudan. Their landscapes are very similar as well, however Uganda is much more densely populated.
- Zambia is another landlocked country in Africa that is mostly tropical savanna land. They get about the same rainfall, although Zambia is slightly hotter on average. Their land is also relatively flat. Both countries use the presidential system of government, but Zambia has a unicameral legislature. Their laws are also extremely similar. However, Zambia has a lower percentage of Muslims and a higher percentage of Protestant Christians.
- Kenya borders both Tanzania and Uganda. It is another country that is part of the East African Community and uses English as its official language. Furthermore, many people in Kenya speak Nilo-Saharan languages, although a much lower percentage than in South Sudan. Also, Kenya’s climate is drier and it has more desert. The farms in Kenya tend to grow corn, not sorghum like in South Sudan.
- Nigeria is the most similar country to South Sudan in West Africa. It is another former British colony in Africa that drives on the right and uses 3′ 6″ railroad gauge. Both countries are relatively flat and have a similar climate. Their governments use the presidential system and have bicameral legislatures. However, like Tanzania, it has a much higher percentage of Muslims.
- Central African Republic, 7. Zimbabwe, 8. Benin, 9. Togo, 10. Cameroon
The five least similar countries to South Sudan are located in two different areas: East Asia and Northern Europe. These countries are all wealthier and have a higher standard of living than South Sudan. In addition, they have a greater degree of rule of law and democracy. They are also far more mountainous and tend to have a lot of coastline, in contrast to South Sudan.
Top 10 Places Least Similar to South Sudan
- Japan is by far the least similar country to South Sudan. Not only is its geography significantly different, but also its demographics, culture, and technology. While South Sudan has an extremely young population on average, Japan is the oldest. There just isn’t much in common between the two, except that their railroads both use the 3′ 6″ railroad gauge.
- Iceland‘s climate is much colder than South Sudan’s. Iceland uses far more energy per capita than South Sudan. Furthermore, it does not rely on fossil fuels to create electricity. However, both countries are sparsely populated. Although both countries are mostly Protestant, people in Iceland tend to be a lot less religious.
- South Korea is also located in East Asia. It is another highly developed, densely populated country with a lot of coastline. However, South Korea does have a significant Christian population, although the country has little else in common with South Sudan. Their agriculture is especially different. South Korea’s farms mostly grow rice, while South Sudan’s farms tend to grow more sorghum and sesame.
- Taiwan is another Asian country located on an island in the Pacific Ocean on this list. Like Japan, its demographics and culture are quite different from South Sudan. However, Taiwan’s subtropical climate is more similar to South Sudan than Japan and South Korea’s more temperate climate.
- Norway‘s climate is far colder and more mountainous than South Sudan. It also has a lot more coastline than South Sudan. Still both countries are mostly Christian, although Norwegians are much less religious. Its government is also quite different from South Sudan, since its laws are more liberal. It also has more entitlements for its citizens.
- Netherlands, 7. Denmark, 8. Finland, 9. Luxembourg, 10. Belgium
South Sudan is like if Tanzania was more like Chad
The data shows that Tanzania is the most similar country to South Sudan. However, they still have many differences. Chad is one country that has many aspects of South Sudan that Tanzania lacks. Chad and South Sudan are landlocked and less mountainous than Tanzania. Furthermore, many of their people natively speak Nilo-Saharan languages. In addition, their agriculture is similar. Both countries grow significant amounts of sorghum and millet, while Tanzania mostly grows corn.
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