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 Places Most Similar to Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan is a Central Asian country. The countries most similar to it were all once part of the Soviet Union, before becoming independent. They are all predominately Muslim but their governments have secular laws. These countries also tend to have little democracy. Four of the five five most similar countries also speak Turkic languages. They also have quite dry climates and are landlocked as well.
- Turkmenistan is located to the south of Uzbekistan. Both countries are sparsely populated deserts that rely on a lot of irrigation from the Amu Darya River to water their crops, which consist mostly of wheat, but also cotton. Both countries also have a similar diet. They tend to eat a lot of bread with beef or lamb meat. In addition, both countries have presidents that are dictators, although Turkmenistan’s is more extreme.
- Kazakhstan is directly to the north of Uzbekistan. Both countries border the Aral Sea. Their governments are quite similar as well. Both are autocracies that use the semi-presidential form of government. They are also some of the least religious countries with a majority Muslim population. However, Kazakhstan has more Russians. In addition, its economy is more prosperous. Its climate is not as dry, but it is colder on average than Uzbekistan’s.
- Kyrgyzstan is another landlocked and dry country, however it is much more mountainous and has a colder climate as a result. Its demographics and culture are also very similar to Turkmenistan. In fact, around 15% of its people have Uzbek ethnicity. Wrestling is also popular in both countries. One big difference is that Kyrgyzstan is the only multi-party democracy in Central Asia, in contrast to Uzbekistan.
- Tajikistan is another country in Central Asia with a dictator as president. Uzbekistan and Tajikistan also have similar laws and regulations. Over 10% of people in Tajikistan have Uzbek ethnicity as well. Both countries have won Olympic medals in boxing, wrestling, and judo. However, Uzbekistan is far less mountainous. It is also unique among former USSR countries, since its native people have mostly Persian ancestry, not Turkic.
- Azerbaijan yet another former Soviet Union republic on this list. It is just across the Caspian Sea from Uzbekistan. Due to abundant reserves of natural gas in the region, both countries rely on it to create most of their electricity. Both countries speak Turkic languages, although its people have less East Asian admixture than in Uzbekistan. Another difference is that Azerbaijan’s population is mostly Shia Muslims, not Sunni.
- Turkey, 7. Iran, 8. Mongolia, 9. Egypt, 10. Armenia
Top 10 Places Least Similar to Uzbekistan
As a double-landlocked country, it is appropriate that the five least similar countries to Uzbekistan are all located on islands. These countries also get far more rainfall than Uzbekistan. All five countries drive on the left and do not use Type C, F electrical outlets as well. In addition, four of the five least similar countries have English as one of their official languages.
- Solomon Islands‘s geography is extremely different from Uzbekistan, since it is a tropical island archipelago in the Pacific Ocean that is mountainous and heavily forested. The country is predominately Christian and its people have Melanesian ancestry. In addition, it is a parliamentary democracy, in stark contrast to Uzbekistan.
- Papua New Guinea is another country in the South Pacific similar to the Solomon Islands. It is another mountainous country with a high percentage of forested area and one of the highest rainfall amounts in the world. It is also less developed and its standard of living is lower than Uzbekistan’s. It has little in common demographically or culturally with Uzbekistan as well.
- Japan is technically on the same continent as Uzbekistan, but it is extremely different. Its culture is especially 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 dissimilar since they eat a lot of pork, fish, and rice in contrast to Uzbeks. Unlike the first two countries, its infrastructure is far more developed as well.
- Bahamas is the least similar to Uzbekistan in the Western Hemisphere. Like Papua New Guinea, it was colonized by Great Britain, before becoming independent. Its people are of mostly African ancestry, unlike Uzbeks who typically have a mix of European and East Asian ancestry. Furthermore, its people are wealthier and its standards of living are higher.
- Singapore is an extremely densely populated island that was once a British colony. However, most of its people have Chinese ethnicity. Its technology standard are far different, since Singapore drives on the left, uses Type G electrical outlets, and standard gauge railroad tracks. Still, it is not higher on this list because around 15 percent of its people are Muslim.
- New Zealand, 7. Taiwan, 8. Trinidad & Tobago, 9. Jamaica, 10. Vanuatu
Uzbekistan is like if Turkmenistan was more like Tajikistan
According to the Index, Turkmenistan is the most similar country to Uzbekistan. However, there are some aspects in which these countries differ as well. Tajikistan is one country that has more in common with Uzbekistan than Turkmenistan. Tajikistan and Uzbekistan still use the Cyrillic alphabet, unlike Turkmenistan. Furthermore, Uzbekistan is more mountainous than Turkmenistan. Tajikistan and Uzbekistan are also less wealthy than Turkmenistan and their infrastructure is less developed.
All data accurate as of 2020.