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 Ukraine
Ukraine is a North Eurasian country, located on the Black Sea. It was once part of the Soviet Union. The five most similar countries to it are all predominately Orthodox Christian, although they also have many atheists. Most people in four of the top five countries speak Slavic languages and use the Cyrillic alphabet. These countries also tend to have many highly educated people, but their average incomes are relatively low.
- Belarus is by far the most similar country to Ukraine. It is another former member of the Soviet Union, located just to the north of Ukraine. Both countries are mostly farmland, although their crops are slightly different since Belarus is colder and wetter. Belorussian is the most similar language to Ukrainian and both countries still have a high percentage of Russian speakers. However, while Belarus has maintained close ties to Russia, Ukraine has a more strained relationship.
- Russia has close ties to Ukraine, since the Russian Empire ruled Ukraine for over 100 years, even before it became part of the Soviet Union. Their demographics, culture, and technology are all quite similar. However Russia is far more sparsely populated and has a colder climate. It also has a much higher percentage of forested area and a much lower percentage of agricultural land. Still, both countries tend to grow a lot of wheat and sunflowers.
- Bulgaria is another country that borders the Black Sea, speaks a Slavic language, and also uses Cyrillic. Both countries rely on a mix of coal and nuclear power to create electricity. Like Moldova, they also grow a mix of corn, sunflower, and wheat. However, Bulgaria was never a part of the USSR, so it has less of a Russian influence. It is also more mountainous than Ukraine.
- Moldova is between Ukraine and Romania. Like Ukraine, it was also part of the USSR, so it has similar technology and standard of living. Its agriculture is almost identical as well, since they both have over 50% of their land being used as farmland and grow a mix of corn, sunflower, and wheat. The biggest difference between Moldova and Ukraine is their language. Moldovans do not natively speak a Slavic language or use Cyrillic. Still, the Russian language is understood by most Moldovans.
- Serbia is a Slavic-speaking Orthodox Christian country that has recently experienced war, like Ukraine. The countries also have a similar standard of living. Still, there are a few significant differences as well. While Serbia and Ukraine have about the same marriage rate, Ukraine’s divorce rate is much higher than Serbia’s. Furthermore, a lower percentage of Serbians complete college.
- Romania, 7. Slovakia, 8. Lithuania, 9. Montenegro, 10. Poland
Top 10 Countries Least Similar to Ukraine
The two least similar countries to Ukraine are located in Melanesia, but it also has little similarity to several countries that are mostly Muslim. All the countries least similar to Ukraine have a low percentage of farmland and either have more forest or more barren land. They also have higher birth rates and a lower average age than Ukraine.
- Solomon Islands is a tropical archipelago in the Pacific Ocean. The country has little cultural or demographic similarity, other than the fact that most countries are mostly Christian. Still, they are mostly Protestants and are more religious. Unlike Ukraine, which has a developed military with conscription, Solomon Islands doesn’t even have a military. The islands also need to import all their energy in the form of oil, while Ukraine uses mostly nuclear power.
- Papua New Guinea is very similar to the Solomon Islands. It is one of the hottest and wettest countries in the world. The country is much more mountainous than Ukraine and has a low percentage of agricultural land. Furthermore, its infrastructure is quite different. It drives on the right and uses Type I electrical outlets. In addition, the country does not have a railroad.
- Somalia is a failed state located in Africa on the Indian Ocean coast. It is conservative Muslim country with poorly developed infrastructure. In contrast to Ukraine’s farmlands with a temperate climate, Somalia is located in a tropical desert, so its climate is hotter and drier. However, both countries are relatively flat and have a lot of coastline.
- Chad is a landlocked country located in the Sahara Desert, in contrast to Ukraine’s geography, which has many farmlands, lots of coastline, and a temperate climate. It is a predominately Muslim country, but it does have a significant amount of Christians as well. It was once a French colony, but Arabic is an official language there as well. Its infrastructure is less developed than Ukraine’s. However, both countries are relatively flat.
- Bhutan is a landlocked and mountainous Buddhist country between China and India. It shares few cultural, demographic, or technological traits with Ukraine. A high percentage of the country is forested. The country relies on hydroelectric power, rather than fossil fuels or nuclear power to create electricity. Furthermore, its people are mostly of East Asian ancestry.
- Yemen, 7. Niger, 8. South Sudan, 9. Central African Republic, 10. Sierra Leone
Ukraine is like if Belarus was more like Bulgaria
According to the Index, Belarus is the most similar country to Ukraine. However, these countries have some notable differences as well. The data shows that Bulgaria has many of the traits of Ukraine that Belarus lacks. Both countries border the Black Sea, while Belarus is landlocked. They both have more democratic governments than Belarus as well. While Belarus is reliant on natural gas, Ukraine and Bulgaria create most of their electricity from coal and nuclear power.
All data accurate as of 2020.