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 Tajikistan
Tajikistan is a Central Asian country. Four of the top five most similar countries to it were once part of the USSR. They all have a majority Muslim population. However, with the exception of Afghanistan, their laws are not especially conservative. Despite Tajiks speaking a variety of Persian, four of the five most similar countries speak Turkic languages, although Russian is in use as well in these countries. Furthermore, the most similar countries to Tajikistan are all landlocked and get little rainfall.
- Kyrgyzstan is another landlocked and extremely mountainous country to Tajikistan’s north. They are the two of the poorest and least developed countries of the former USSR. Both countries rely on hydropower to create electricity. One big difference is that Kyrgyzstan is the only multi-party democracy in Central Asia, in stark contrast to Tajikistan, whose president has been in power for over 25 years.
- Uzbekistan is to the west of Tajikistan. Over 10% of people in Tajikistan have Uzbek ethnicity. In fact, it had been over 20% in the past. The countries have incredibly similar laws. Both countries do not allow same sex marriage, polygamy, or prostitution. They also allow abortion and alcohol. In addition, both countries have won Olympic medals in boxing, wrestling, and judo. However, Uzbekistan is far less mountainous.
- Afghanistan borders Tajikistan to the south. It is the only country in the top five that was not part of the Soviet Union. However, both countries speak varieties of Persian, although Tajik is officially written in Cyrillic, not the Arabic script. In addition, both countries are landlocked and extremely mountainous. Although Afghanistan’s infrastructure is not as developed, both countries drive on the right, use Russian gauge railroad tracks, and have Type C, F electrical outlets.
- Kazakhstan is similar to both Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, especially demographically and culturally. However, Kazakhstan has far more Russians than Tajikistan. In addition, its economy is much more prosperous. It also has a higher percentage of agricultural land than Tajikistan, but the main crops of both countries are wheat and barley. Kazakhstan’s terrain is flatter and it is also far less densely populated than Tajikistan.
- Turkmenistan is yet another country that was once part of the Soviet Union on this list. Both countries have autocratic leaders that often censor their media and internet. One difference is that the Latin alphabet is more commonly in use in Turkmenistan than it is Tajikistan, since Tajik uses Cyrillic. Furthermore, Turkmenistan’s terrain is not nearly as mountainous as Tajikistan. Still, both countries primarily produce wheat and cotton.
- Azerbaijan, 7. Iran, 8. Armenia, 9. Turkey, 10. Syria
Top 10 Countries Least Similar to Tajikistan
The least similar countries to Tajikistan are all located on islands. Three are in East Asia, while the two others are in the Caribbean. These countries all get far more rainfall than Tajikistan. They also have a significantly higher standard of living. Four of the five least similar countries drive on the left side of the road.
- Japan is technically on the same continent as Tajikistan and it is also quite mountainous, however other than these two aspects it is extremely different. One reason is that Japanese do not follow an Abrahamic religion. Furthermore, its language and writing system are completely different. Their diet is also quite different since they eat a lot of pork fish, and rice in contrast to Tajiks.
- Singapore is a densely populated tropical island city-state, unlike the more rural and mountainous landscape of Tajikistan. It is also far more prosperous. One similarity is that about 15% of people in Singapore are Sunni Muslims. In addition, both countries are one party states, although Singapore is more democratic.
- Bahamas was colonized by Great Britain and its people are of mostly African ancestry. In addition, the country is quite prosperous, due to tourism and the banking industry, unlike Tajikistan. Furthermore, the landscape of the Bahamas is essentially the opposite of Tajikistan, since the country made up of many low-lying islands in the Western Hemisphere.
- Taiwan is yet another country located in the Pacific Ocean on this list. There is little that Tajikistan has in common with it culturally. Taiwan’s population is comprised of mostly ethnic Chinese people. The country is also more democratic and has a higher standard of living. However, it does drive on the right side of the road, unlike others in this list.
- Trinidad & Tobago is a densely populated country located in the Caribbean. Its people are more outgoing than Tajiks, according to the Lewis Model. However, it does have a significant Muslim population, although Trinidad is mostly Christian. Most people in the country have either African or South Asian ancestry.
- Solomon Islands, 7. South Korea, 7. New Zealand, 8. Australia, 9. Jamaica, 10. United Kingdom
Tajikistan is like if Kyrgyzstan was more like Afghanistan
According to the Index, Tajikistan’s most similar country is Kyrgyzstan. However, they have some significant differences as well. Afghanistan has many of the traits of Tajikistan that Kyrgyzstan lacks. Most Afghanis and Tajiks can speak varieties of Persian. Furthermore, these countries are less democratic than Kyrgyzstan. They also have far fewer vehicles per capita.
All data accurate as of 2020.