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 Trinidad & Tobago
Trinidad & Tobago is a Caribbean country. Very few countries are like it. The top five countries most similar to Trinidad & Tobago were once British colonies, although Suriname was only briefly. Four of the five drive on the left, like the Britain and four of the five use Type A, B electrical outlets, like the United States. Despite being located in the Caribbean, the populations of the top five countries all have a significant amount of African ancestry. They all have tropical climates as well.
- Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago were briefly part of one country, the West Indies Federation, between 1958 and 1962. They have a similar diet consisting mostly of wheat, rice, chicken, and seafood, although Jamaica eats more yams. Trinidad also has a much higher population of people with South Asian ancestry than Jamaica. So although its population is mostly Christian, about 20% practice Hinduism, unlike Jamaica.
- Bahamas has similar demographics to Jamaica, so it has less people with South Asian ancestry and less religious diversity. The Bahamas and Trinidad & Tobago are the two wealthiest countries per capita in the Western Hemisphere, besides the United States and Canada. They have a similar standard of living. Both countries use Type A,B electrical outlets, despite being former British colonies, but they both do drive on the left.
- Guyana is located in South America, but it has the most similar demographics and culture to Trinidad & Tobago. Both countries have many people with African and South Asian ancestry. Furthermore, while both countries are mostly Christian, they are both between 20-25% Hindu and 5-10% Muslim. There are some big differences as well since Guyana is far less wealthy and much less densely populated than Trinidad & Tobago. It is also more heavily forested and has a lower percentage of farmland.
- Belize is on the mainland of North America, but it has a similar tropical climate and beautiful beaches like Trinidad & Tobago. Although most people in both countries speak English, a significant portion of the population in Belize speaks Spanish. It also has a much greater percentage of Catholics. Furthermore, it drives on the right side of the road, unlike other countries on this list.
- Suriname was once a British colony before being ruled by the Netherlands. Although its official language is Dutch, English is widespread there and the lingua franca of its people, Sranan Tongo, is based on English. Both countries have many people with African and Indian ancestry. However, Suriname has a much higher percentage of people with Asian ancestry. Like Guyana, Suriname is far less wealthy and much less densely populated. It is also more heavily forested and has a lower percentage of farmland.
- Mauritius, 7. Panama, 8. Fiji, 9. Dominican Republic, 10. Costa Rica
Some of the other countries in the West Indies, like Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, would be in contention for this list, but they are too small in population and land area to have enough reliable data for this study.
Top 10 Countries Least Similar to Trinidad & Tobago
Trinidad & Tobago is relatively stable politically and also quite prosperous in contrast to the five least similar countries to it. Four of the five least similar countries are located in deserts. Four of the also have a large percentage of Muslims in their country. These countries tend to have more conservative laws as well.
- Afghanistan is a landlocked, conservative Muslim country that is far less wealthy than Trinidad & Tobago. Furthermore, the technology in Afghanistan is different from Trinidad & Tobago since it drives on the right, uses Russian broad gauge railroad tracks, and Type C, F electrical outlets with a different voltage. Afghanistan also relies on hydropower for electricity, while Trinidad & Tobago relies on gas.
- Eritrea is the only country on this list with a majority Christian population. However, they are mostly Oriental Orthodox. Its government has been a dictatorship for almost 20 years, while Trinidad & Tobago is more democratic. However, most of the land in both countries is near the coast and they both have hot climates. Still, Eritrea’s climate is much drier.
- North Korea is the least similar country in East Asia. The country has little religious, cultural, or demographic similarity to North Korea. It also has the least similar government to Trinidad, since North Korea is ruled by an authoritarian leader and a one-party communist government. While North Korea’s climate is much colder, they have a similar amount of forested and agricultural land. Furthermore, the land in both countries is close to the ocean.
- Yemen is in the Arabian Desert, but unlike other countries on the peninsula, it is extremely poor and warn torn due to Civil War. It is another predominately Muslim country on this list with little demographic, cultural, or technological similarity to Trinidad & Tobago. The country is mostly Muslim and its people natively speak Arabic.
- Sudan is across the Red Sea from Yemen. It is located in the Sahara Desert. It is yet another conservative Muslim country on this list. In addition, its government is lead by the military, following a recent coup. However, both countries were under British administration in the past. Both countries also have a large amount of Sub-Saharan African ancestry.
- Mauritania, 7. China, 8. Somalia, 9. Mali, 10. Syria
Trinidad & Tobago is like if Jamaica was more like Mauritius
The most similar country to Trinidad & Tobago is Jamaica, according to the Index. However, these countries have some significant differences as well. Trinidad has a much higher percentage of people with South Asian ancestry. It also has a large population of Hindus, unlike Jamaica. Mauritius is one country that has many of these attributes of Trinidad & Tobago that Jamaica lacks.
All data accurate as of 2020.