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.
Top 10 Countries Most Similar to Switzerland
Switzerland is a European country. It is similar to many countries in the region, since it has a mix of Protestants and Catholics, as well as German, French, and Italian speakers. The top five most similar countries all have either German or French as one of their official languages. These countries tend to be quite wealthy and have highly developed infrastructure. Furthermore, they are very democratic and tend to have quite liberal laws.
- Austria is extremely similar to Switzerland. A majority of the people in both countries speak German. In addition, their geography is extremely similar because both are landlocked alpine countries in the middle of Europe. Both countries are very successful in the winter Olympics, especially in alpine skiing. However, while Austrians are mostly Catholic, Switzerland is a mix of Catholics and Protestants.
- Germany, like Switzerland, also has a mix of Catholics and Protestants. According to the Lewis Model, the people of both countries tend to be cool, factual decisive planners. One big difference is that Germany is not nearly as mountainous. This is part of the reason why it creates little energy from hydroelectricity, unlike Switzerland and Austria, which have far more water reservoir capacity.
- Luxembourg is another country that has both German and French as official languages. In addition, both Switzerland and Luxembourg are extremely wealthy, in part due to their strong banking sectors. While both countries are landlocked, Luxembourg isn’t nearly as mountainous. Another difference is that its form of government is significantly different, since Luxembourg is a constitutional monarchy.
- France is located to the west of Switzerland. A significant percentage of Swiss people natively speak French. Both countries are not only famous for their cheese, but also design and fashion. However, France has much more coastline. Its southern portions are also significantly warmer than Switzerland and they have a Mediterranean climate.
- Belgium is another Western European country that has a mix of both Germanic (although mostly Dutch) and French language speakers. In addition, the diet of both countries is extremely similar. However, Belgians are more outgoing and their economic situation is not as good as Switzerland’s. Furthermore, Belgium is significantly less mountainous and borders the North Sea.
- Netherlands, 7. Norway, 8. Czechia, 9. Sweden, 10. Slovakia
Please note that Liechtenstein is not listed, since Liechtenstein has too little data for the Country Similarity Index to rank. Otherwise, it would most likely be the most similar to Switzerland.
The Top 15 Attractions in Switzerland
Top 10 Countries Least Similar to Switzerland
Four of the five least similar countries to Switzerland are located in Africa. In addition, four of the five least similar countries are predominately Muslim. Most people in the four least similar countries speak Afro-Asiatic languages. They all have a far lower standard of living and they are not nearly as democratic as Switzerland.
- Somalia is an anarchic, war-torn country, Muslim country in stark contrast to Switzerland. Furthermore, Somalia has little infrastructure. While Switzerland has one of the most robust railroad systems in the world, Somalia does not even have a railroad. The biggest thing they have in common is that they both write using the Latin alphabet.
- Sudan is located in the Sahara Desert. It is another poor Muslim country, like others on this list, that has recently experienced internal conflicts. As a result, it lost some territory to the newly formed country of South Sudan. The country also has much more conservative laws than Switzerland. It does not allow alcohol, prostitution, or abortion.
- Eritrea is located on the Red Sea, next to Sudan. It is the only country on this list with a majority Christian population. However, they are mostly Oriental Orthodox. In addition, it is extremely poor and its government has been a dictatorship for almost 20 years. Although both countries are mountainous, most of the land in Eritrea is close to the sea.
- Yemen is located across the Red Sea from Eritrea. It is another war-torn and extremely conservative Muslim country that unlike other countries on the Arabian Peninsula, is not well developed. However, the people of both countries are considered to be Caucasian, although they still have significantly different ancestry from the Swiss.
- Gambia is a mostly Muslim country in West Africa. It was once a British colony, so its official language is English, unlike many other countries that were colonized by the French in that region. The country is located along the Gambia River, so so it quite flat, in contrast to Switzerland. In fact its highest point is only 50 meters above sea level. Furthermore, much of its land is close to the ocean.
- Mauritania, 7. Bangladesh, 8. Cambodia, 9. Niger, 10. South Sudan
Switzerland is like if Austria was more like Canada
According to the Index, Austria is easily the most similar country to Switzerland. However, the data indicates that Canada is one country that has many traits of Switzerland that Austria lacks. Unlike Austria, both Switzerland and Canada have a significant French-speaking population. Furthermore, while Austrians are mostly Catholic, Switzerland and Canada have a mix of both Protestants and Catholics. They also tend to have more college graduates.
Full Ranking of Countries and Territories Most Similar to Switzerland
All data accurate as of 2020.
Most Similar Demographics: Germany
Most Similar Culture: Luxembourg
Most Similar Government: Germany
Most Similar Infrastructure: Austria
Most Similar Geography: Austria
Least Similar Demographics: Niger
Least Similar Culture: Afghanistan
Least Similar Government: Sudan
Least Similar Infrastructure: Haiti
Least Similar Geography: Solomon Islands
11. Italy, 12. Slovakia, 13. Slovenia, 14. Canada