Extremely Different Countries with Similar Culture

Most of the time, countries that speak the same language, use the same writing system, and follow the same religion are very similar. However, there are some unique exceptions to this. A few pairs of countries have similar culture, but have little else in common. A list of these countries was developed by analyzing the data from the Country Similarity Index, that weighs equally five major aspects of countries: their demographics, culture, politics, infrastructure, and geography. The following six pairs of countries were found to have the biggest difference between their culture and their other characteristics, including demographics, infrastructure, government, and geography.


Haiti was once a colony of France before it became independent in 1804. As a result, the official language in both countries is French. In addition, most people in these countries are Roman Catholic and they celebrate similar holidays. Soccer is the most popular sport in both countries, but basketball is also gaining popularity as well. Furthermore, their marriage, divorce, and suicide rates are also similar.

However, Haiti is on a tropical island in the Caribbean Sea, while France is located in Europe and has a more temperate climate. Moreover, the majority of people in Haiti have African ancestry, unlike France. Haiti’s infrastructure is also far less advanced than France’s. Their people have fewer vehicles and televisions per capita, as well as less access to the internet. France mostly relies on nuclear power to create electricity, while Haiti primarily uses oil. Haiti also bans abortions and same sex marriage.


Suriname was once a colony of the Netherlands before 1954. As a result, most people in Suriname natively speak Dutch. The majority of their people are either Catholic or Protestant Christian as well. Soccer is also the most popular team sport in both countries, in fact many Suriname-born players have featured for the Dutch national team. In addition, their diets both tend to have a lot of meat, including beef, chicken, fish, and pork.

However, Suriname is a densely forested, sparsely populated country in South America. In contrast, the Netherlands is extremely densely populated and much of its land is either urban land or farmland. Suriname is also much more racially diverse than the Netherlands. It has far more people with South Asian and African ancestry. Suriname’s infrastructure is far less advanced than the Netherlands. It drives on the left. It also uses a different electrical voltage and frequency.


Angola was once a colony of Portugal, before it became independent in the 1960s. As a result, Portuguese is still the official language in both countries. The vast majority of their people are Christian as well. The people in both countries tend to be quite outgoing, according to the Lewis Model. Soccer is the most popular sport in these countries as well. In addition, they have similar marriage rates and suicide rates.

However, Angola is located in Africa, while Portugal is in Europe. Moreover, the majority of people in Angola have African ancestry and work in agriculture, unlike Portugal. In addition, Portugal’s government is much more democratic than Angola’s. It also has more rule of law. Furthermore, Portugal has a much higher standard of living. Their crops are quite different as well. Portugal grows many olives and grapes, while Angola grows a lot of corn.


Colombia was once a colony of Spain, until it revolted in the year 1810. Most people in these countries natively speak Spanish. The vast majority of their people are Roman Catholic as well. The people in both countries tend to be quite outgoing, according to the Lewis Model. Soccer is also the most popular sport in these countries. Moreover, beer is the most popular alcoholic drink both as well.

However, Spain is located in Europe, while Colombia is in South America. Spain’s climate is also significantly drier than Colombia’s. The people in Colombia are much more racially diverse, since they have many people with South American and African ancestry. On average they are also more than 10 years older. Furthermore, Colombia’s infrastructure is not as developed as Spain’s. It has far less vehicles and few people use its railroad network.


Qatar and Sudan are both predominately Sunni Muslim countries. Because of this, these countries have low rates of suicide and they also consume little alcohol. In addition, they use Arabic as their official language. Furthermore, these countries were both protectorates of Great Britain for many years. Another characteristic they have in common is that both have similar marriage and divorce rates. Their people tend to be quite outgoing as well, according to the Lewis Model.

However, Qatar is in Asia, while Sudan is in Africa. Qatar is also more densely populated and most of its people live near the coast, unlike Sudan. People in Sudan have far more African ancestry. In contrast, due to recent immigration, Qatar has many people from South Asia. Another difference is that Qatar is significantly wealthier than Sudan, since the country has a lot of proven oil reserves. Its infrastructure is far more advanced. Qataris use far more electricity as well.


Both Cuba and Uruguay were once Spanish colonies, before becoming independent. As a result, their people natively speak Spanish and are primarily Catholic, although neither country is especially religious. The people in both countries tend to be quite outgoing, according to the Lewis Model. In addition, both countries have done relatively well in the Olympics considering their population.

However, Cubans tend to have more African ancestry than Uruguayans. While Uruguay is quite democratic and has many different political parties, Cuba is one-party authoritarian state. Cuba also has far less rule of law. Uruguay’s laws are less conservative, since they allow same sex marriage, prostitution, and marijuana. Uruguay’s location is far further south than Cuba. Uruguay grows significantly more soybeans and less sugarcane as well.


FRANCE HAITI10.813.811.
COLOMBIA SPAIN14.816.012.612.08.511.98-4.03
QATAR SUDAN8.914.512.98.511.710.50-4.00
ECUADOR SPAIN13.915.311.
CUBA URUGUAY16.916.08.813.89.112.15-3.85

(Minimum 63% cultural similarity)

Do you agree with this list? Any other pairs of countries that you would add?
Please leave any thoughts in the comments section.

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