Spain’s Most Similar Countries

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.

Spain is a European country. Many countries are similar to it. The top five countries are all in the European Union and use the Euro as their currency. The top four have a majority Catholic population and most of their people natively speak Romance languages. They all have well developed infrastructure and a high standard of living.

Although most Latin American countries speak Spanish, only Chile, Argentina, and Uruguay are significantly similar. Many Latin America countries are located in sparsely populated rainforests, in contrast to the chaparral landscape of Spain. Furthermore, Latin Americans tend to have a high diversity of ancestries, unlike the Spanish. Spain is also wealthier and more developed than all the Latin American countries.

Top 10 Places Most Similar to Spain

  1. Portugal is Spain’s only neighbor on the Iberian Peninsula, although it does not actually border the Mediterranean. They share similar demographics and culture. Both countries have a similar climate and grow many olives. Furthermore, they both use a unique railroad gauge, not used anywhere else in Europe. One difference is that Portugal has a semi-presidential system of government, while Spain is a constitutional monarchy.
  2. Italy is just across the Balearic Sea from Spain. The two countries have similar climate, demographics, and culture. In addition, both are parliamentary multi-party democracies with similar laws. In addition, they share some sporting similarities, since they both have won the World Cup and have also have strong soccer and basketball leagues.
  3. France is the only other country in Europe that borders both the Atlantic and the Mediterranean. It has roughly the same population density and pollution. Like Italy and Spain, it is also is strong in soccer. However, France has a more diverse population, since it has more Muslims and Africans. Furthermore, France’s climate is wetter and cooler.
  4. Greece is another country that borders the Mediterranean and has a very similar climate and vegetation. The personality of their people are among the most extroverted in Europe, according to the Lewis Model. However there are some big differences too. Greeks are generally Orthodox Christian, not Catholic. Although Greek is part of the same language family as Spanish it is significantly different. It also uses a different writing system.
  5. Belgium was once known as Spanish Netherlands, since it was ruled by the Habsburgs for over 100 years. The two countries governments are quite similar since they are both constitutional democracies with similar liberal laws. Unlike Portugal, France, and Italy, Belgians drink more beer than wine, like the Spanish. Still Belgium is more north and significantly denser in population.
  6. Slovenia, 7. Croatia, 8. Germany, 9. Luxembourg, 10. Austria

All five of the least similar countries to Spain are located in Africa. Their climates are generally hotter and drier than Spain. They also have few cultural or demographic similarities. Most people in the top five countries speak Afro-Asiatic languages. Four of the five countries are predominately Muslim nations with much more conservative laws and less democracy than Spain.

Top 10 Places Least Similar to Spain

  1. Niger is a landlocked country in the Sahara Desert. Like other countries on this list it is mostly Muslim. However, since it was colonized by France, French is the official language and the Latin alphabet is used there. Its demographics are also significantly different since it is one of the youngest countries in the world on average.
  2. Chad is to the east of Niger. It is another landlocked country located in the Sahara Desert. The country’s two official languages are Arabic and French. It is mostly Muslim, but it also has a significant percentage of Christians. The country was ruled by a dictator for several decades. Although their infrastructure is less developed than Spain’s, their standards are similar since both countries drive on the right and use Type C electrical outlets.
  3. Somalia is another anarchic Muslim country that has poorly developed infrastructure, due to civil war. Its conservative policies contrast Spain’s more liberal society. However, both countries do have lots of coastline. In addition, Somalia actually uses the Latin alphabet, despite their people natively speaking an Afroasiatic language.
  4. Eritrea is the only country on this list with a majority Christian population, however the Christians there are part of the Oriental Orthodox denomination. The country also uses the unique Ge’ez script for its writing system. In addition, Eritrea has one of the world’s most authoritarian governments.
  5. Sudan is located in the Sahara Desert, near Somalia and Yemen. It is predominately Muslim and most people speak Arabic there. It recently lost some territory to the newly formed country of South Sudan. Its authoritarian government and lack of development also make it quite different from Spain.
  6. Mauritania, 7. Yemen, 8. Mali, 9. South Sudan, 10. Bangladesh

Spain is like if Portugal was more like Chile

While Portugal is the most similar country to Spain, according to the Index, these countries do not speak the same language, although they are closely related. This is the biggest reason the data indicates that Chile has a few aspects of Spain that Portugal lacks. Most people in both Spain and Chile natively speak Spanish.

Full Ranking of Countries and Territories Most Similar to Spain

Country Superlatives

Most Similar Demographics: Portugal
Most Similar Culture: Chile
Most Similar Government: Portugal
Most Similar Infrastructure: Portugal
Most Similar Geography: Portugal

Least Similar Demographics: Niger
Least Similar Culture: Laos
Least Similar Government: Yemen
Least Similar Infrastructure: Haiti
Least Similar Geography: Solomon Islands

Do you agree with the list?
Please leave any thoughts in the comments section.

27 Comments

  1. How could Spain has no Latin American countries in its top 5. I would definetly said Puerto Rico or Cuba rather than France. On the other hand, take into account that Spain was once under muslim domination and yet the least common countries are all muslims, so no. I’ll say the least similar country to Spain would be North Korea, Kazakhstan or even South Sudan!

    Like

    1. No, France makes far more sense than any country in MENA or Latin America (maybe Argentina comes close). Certainly not Cuba, which has mixed European-African heritage, and is economically poor. The Moorish occupation of Spain hasn’t left much impact today.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s