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 Syria
Syria is an Arab country in the Middle East. Many countries in the region are similar to it. The majority of people in the five most similar countries to Syria speak Arabic and are Muslims. The laws in these countries tend to be quite conservative. Furthermore, these countries also have a similar climate, since they are mostly sparsely populated deserts. Their diets are also alike, since wheat is the most popular staple grain the region.
- Jordan is historically part of Greater Syria. After the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, the area was partitioned. While Syria was colonized by France, Jordan was colonized by Britain. Still, the countries have deep historical ties. While both countries are not landlocked, they have little coastline and are mostly desert.
- Egypt and Syria were united for three years between 1958 and 1961, as part of the United Arab Republic. They are both about 90% Muslim and 10% Christian. Their flags are also similar as well, since they were derived from the Arab liberation flag. Politically, both countries have authoritarian rulers and conservative laws. They also use the semi-presidential system of government.
- Iraq is the largest country in the Fertile Crescent. Both have had unstable political situations recently due to war. ISIS, an acronym for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, recently controlled significant territory in both countries. However, there is a majority of Shia Muslims as well as a 15% proportion of Kurds in Iraq.
- Tunisia is another Arab country bordering the Mediterranean that was once colonized by France. A low percentage of both countries is used for agriculture, but their agriculture is similar. Both countries grow olives, barley, and wheat. The biggest difference is their governments. Syria’s government is more authoritarian.
- Algeria is very similar to Tunisia. It also borders the Mediterranean but it is further away from Syria than Tunisia. Furthermore, a much larger percentage of its landscape is barren desert. Although the official language in both Syria and Algeria is Arabic, many people in Algeria natively speak Berber languages.
- Libya, 7. Morocco, 8. Yemen, 9. Lebanon, 10. Saudi Arabia
Top 10 Countries Least Similar to Syria
Four of the five least similar countries to Syria were once British colonies and have English as one of their official languages. In addition four of the five least similar countries are located on islands and drive on the left side of the road. Their people are wealthier than Syrians and also have a higher standard of living.
- Japan is also technically in Asia, but other than that they have little else in common. Japan is a mountainous archipelago with a temperate climate in contrast to the hot, dry Syria. Not only is its geography significantly different, but also its demographics, culture, politics, and technology. Its infrastructure is far more advanced. Furthermore, it has the oldest average population in the world.
- Bahamas has a completely different geography from Syria, since it is a low-lying group of islands in the Western Hemisphere. In addition, it shares almost no cultural or demographic similarity. Furthermore, it drives on the left and uses Type A, B electrical outlets with a different voltage than Syria.
- New Zealand is another wet and mountainous archipelago in the Pacific Ocean far away from Syria. Their infrastructure also is very different as New Zealand uses Type I plugs, drives on the left. In addition, New Zealand’s laws are far more liberal than Syria. New Zealand allows prostitution, same sex marriage, and abortion.
- Singapore is another former British colony located in the Pacific Ocean. It is a densely populated tropical island, in contrast to Syria, which is mostly desert and has little coastline. Its people are of mostly East Asian descent. Singapore is also a much wealthier country and its infrastructure is more developed than Syria. Still, more than ten percent of the country is Muslim.
- Canada is much more sparsely populated country than Syria. It is also much wealthier and its infrastructure is more developed. In addition, it is one of the coldest countries in the world, with lots of lakes and freshwater. It is also one of the most democratic countries, in contrast to Syria. However, Canada’s infrastructure has some similarities since it also drives on the right side of the road and uses standard gauge railroad tracks.
- Solomon Islands, 7. Taiwan, 8. Trinidad & Tobago, 9. Papua New Guinea, 10. South Korea
Syria is like if Jordan was more like Chad
According to the Index, Jordan is the most similar country to Syria. However, these countries have a few noticeable differences as well. Chad is one country that has many aspects of Syria that Jordan lacks. Chad and Syria were once colonized by the French, while Jordan was colonized by the British. Both Chad and Syria have governments that are led by authoritarian leaders, while Jordan is a constitutional monarchy. These countries are also less wealthy than Jordan.
Full Ranking of Countries and Territories Most Similar to Syria
All data accurate as of 2020.
Most Similar Demographics: Jordan
Most Similar Culture: Jordan
Most Similar Government: Egypt
Most Similar Infrastructure: Egypt
Most Similar Geography: Jordan
Least Similar Demographics: Japan
Least Similar Culture: Australia
Least Similar Government: Canada
Least Similar Infrastructure: Japan
Least Similar Geography: Solomon Islands
Nice list but I have to disagree with Lebanon taking the 9th place regarding similarity to Syria. It surely should be higher than the Maghrebi states. We Syrians and the Lebanese are so similar that we could be considered one people, whereas Maghrebis are so different to us that we can’t even understand their colloquial Arabic!
My personal take as a Syrian myself
10. Saudi Arabia