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.
Sudan is a Sub-Saharan African country, located in the Sahel region. The most similar countries to Sudan are all located in sparsely populated deserts. The four most similar are mostly Muslim and have Arabic as one of their official languages. These countries also tend to have unstable governments and little democracy. 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.
Top 10 Places Most Similar to Sudan
- Mauritania is another Arabic-speaking and predominately Sunni Muslim country. Both of their people have a significant mix of Sub-Saharan African and Middle Eastern ancestry. Both countries are in the Sahara Desert, although Mauritania borders the Atlantic Ocean, not the Red Sea. In addition, their governments both have had several military coups. Mauritania and Sudan establish Islam as their state religion and also practice Sharia law.
- Chad is directly to the west of Sudan. Both countries have Arabic as one of their official languages. However, since Chad was once a French colony, it also has French as one of its official languages. One big different is that Chad has a much higher percentage of Christians with nearly 40%. The agriculture in Chad is very similar to Sudan too. Both countries produce a significant amount of sorghum, peanuts, and millet.
- Yemen is another country that borders the Red Sea, although it is on the Arabian Peninsula. Like Sudan, it was also once a British colony. A vast majority of the people in both countries are farmers. Both of their governments are extremely conservative and have many years of civil war. However, Yemeni people have less Sub-Saharan African ancestry than the Sudanese. In addition, Yemen has a higher percentage of Shi’ites. It also has less strict gun laws.
- Egypt is located just above Sudan. The capitals of both countries are located along the Nile River. Both countries are mostly Muslim but also have a small minority of Orthodox Christians. While both countries were occupied by the British, Sudan was part of Egypt, not an independent state. However, Egypt’s infrastructure is more developed and it has a higher standard of living than Sudan.
- Eritrea is another African country that borders the Red Sea. Both countries natively speak Semitic languages, although Eritrea uses the Ge’ez script and not the Arabic script. Eritrea also has a much higher percentage of Christians. Their diets are fairly similar. Both countries tend to eat a lot of sorghum products and their main source of meat is from cattle. In addition, both countries are ruled by a single party, although Sudan’s government has only recently gained power, while Eritrea has been a totalitarian dictatorship for over 20 years.
- Somalia, 7. Niger, 8. Libya, 9. Iraq, 10. Syria
The least similar countries to Sudan are all much wealthier, more democratic countries. Two groups of countries are included in the five least similar: countries with majority Germanic-speaking populations and East Asian countries. These countries tend to be less religious than Sudan and their laws are less conservative. Four of the five countries are far more densely populated than Sudan and they also get much more rainfall.
Top 10 Places Least Similar to Sudan
- Japan has the least similar geography to Sudan, since it is a mountainous archipelago, which has a much more temperate climate and far more rainfall. In addition, Japan has different infrastructure, since they drive on the left and have a completely different electrical system, using 100 volt Type A,B outlets. However, one interesting similarity is that both predominately use 3’6″ gauge railroad tracks, although Japan has far more railroad infrastructure.
- South Korea is similar to Japan. It is another East Asian country located in a temperate climate on this list. It is one of the most well educated countries in the world and has the highest percentage of college graduates. Their infrastructure is also far more advanced than Sudan’s. However, both countries do drive on the right and have Type C electrical outlets.
- Netherlands is a densely populated country, in contrast to the sparsely populated Sudan. Netherlands also has a fairly temperate climate and grows completely different types of crops. Very few people are farmers in the Netherlands, despite having a higher percentage of farmland. Furthermore, while Sudan has very conservative laws, while the Netherlands is one of the most liberal countries.
- Canada is one of the coldest countries and one of the most sparsely populated countries with a high rate of urbanization, whereas Sudan is one of the hottest countries and much more rural. They also share little cultural or demographic similarity as well. The biggest similarity is that both have English as one of their official languages, although it is not widely spoken in Sudan.
- Taiwan is yet another country bordering the Pacific Ocean on this list. Its demographics, culture, and politics are all very different from Egypt. Most of its people are ethnically Chinese. The country is more densely populated and has far more forested land. Although both countries have hot temperatures, Taiwan gets far more rainfall.
- Germany, 7. Norway, 8. Belgium, 9. Iceland, 10. New Zealand
Sudan is like if Mauritania was more like South Sudan
The most similar country to Sudan is Mauritania, according to the Index. Still, Mauritania and Sudan have many differences as well. South Sudan is one country that has many of the characteristics of Sudan that Mauritania lacks. They both have English as one of their official languages, unlike Mauritania, which was once a French colony. In addition, both countries are located along the watershed of the Nile River, while Mauritania borders the Atlantic Ocean. Furthermore, both Sudan and South Sudan produce a lot of sesame seeds.
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