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 Vanuatu
Vanuatu is a country located on a group of islands in the South Pacific region. The five most similar countries to it are also located there. They all have tropical climates and tend to be heavily forested and mountainous. The top four countries have English as one of their official language. However, with the exception of Papua New Guinea, most in people in these countries natively speak Austronesian languages. In addition, their people are mostly Christian.
- Solomon Islands is another archipelago to the northwest of the Vanuatu. Both countries are inhabited by Melanesian people that speak Austronesian languages. They are mostly Protestant as well. Both countries are mostly tropical forest and have a lot of coastline. Most of their people are farmers and their agriculture depends on the cultivation of coconuts. They also have similar laws. Both countries do not allow same sex marriage or polygamy and heavily restrict abortion.
- Papua New Guinea is just to the west of the Solomon Islands. It is another country with many Melanesian people that are now mostly Protestant. Both countries have English as one of their official languages, however most people in Papua New Guinea do not natively speak Austronesian languages. Their laws are similar as well. Polygamy, prostitution, and the possession of pornography are criminalized there, while gambling and alcohol are allowed.
- Samoa is in Polynesia, unlike Vanuatu. Its people have more ancestry from East Asia and less Melanesian ancestry. However, it still has many similarities due to its climate shared Anglosphere influence. Their native languages are also related. Both countries are mostly Protestant, although Samoa has more Mormons. Their diets also tend to consist of a lot of coconuts and bananas.
- Fiji is country located on tropical islands in Melanesia. However, Fiji is unique since a large proportion of its population came from India, as indentured workers. It is more religiously diverse as a result, since it has significant amounts of Hindus and Muslims. However, it has a higher percentage of farmland and a lower percentage of forested land than Fiji. Furthermore, its standard of living is higher.
- East Timor, unlike other countries on this list, was a colony of Portugal, not Great Britain. Therefore, it is mostly Catholic and does not have English as one of its official languages. Still, it has a similar climate and demographics. Their diet is also quite different from Vanuatu. Their people eat a lot more rice and corn in proportion to Vanuatu. Furthermore, while both countries are democracies, East Timor does not use the parliamentary system of government.
- Philippines 7. Belize, 8. Madagascar, 9. Guyana, 10. Jamaica
Top 10 Countries Least Similar to Vanuatu
The five least similar countries to Vanuatu are fairly disimilar from each other. Four are located in Asia and three are located in the Middle East. One thing they share in common is that they are all far more developed and wealthier than Vanuatu. Their cities tend to have many high rises and skyscrapers.
- Saudi Arabia is mostly Muslim and has an authoritarian government. Its laws are also significantly different since it does not allow alcohol or gambling. Furthermore, its desert landscape is barren and has little vegetation in stark contrast to Vanuatu. Due to its significant wealth from oil, it has become one of the richest countries in the world.
- Israel is a densely populated country that borders the Mediterranean Sea. Its population is mostly Jewish and they natively speak Hebrew. In contrast to the dry climate of Israel, Vanuatu gets far more rainfall. While Vanuatu has little infrastructure, Israel is highly developed. Still both countries are fairly mountainous and most of their lands are near the coast.
- United Arab Emirates is yet another Middle Eastern country on this list. Not only is its landscape barren and has few trees, but it is also far more densely populated than Vanuatu. The country also has far more men than women, since many men moved there for work opportunities. While the United Arab Emirates boasts the tallest building in the world, Vanuatu does not even have a skyscraper in the country.
- Germany is the least similar country in Europe. It is far more densely populated than Vanuatu and its climate is much colder. Furthermore, it is not nearly as mountainous. Still, both countries are predominately Christian and use the Latin alphabet. They also have multi-party parliamentary governments. Still, the laws in Germany are far more liberal than Vanuatu.
- Japan is another archipelago in the Pacific Ocean, however they have little else in common. Japan’s climate is more temperate. Its people are far less religious than Vanuatu. Japan’s infrastructure is not only much more developed but it also drives on the left and uses Type A, B electrical outlets unlike Vanuatu.
- Bahrain, 7. Netherlands, 8. Belarus, 9. Qatar, 10. Kazakhstan
Vanuatu is like if Solomon Islands was more like New Caledonia
The most similar country to Vanuatu is the Solomon Islands, according to the Index. Since these countries have so much in common, few countries are much more similar to Vanuatu than they are to the Solomon Islands. Vanuatu was jointly administered by both Britain and France, unlike the Solomon Islands, so it has more traits of another French colony in Melanesia, New Caledonia. Both places have French as an official language. The both drive on the right as well. Furthermore, they both primarily follow Civil Law in their courts.
All data accurate as of 2020.