Least Similar Countries in the Same Region

The data from the Country Similarity Index was used to cluster countries into different regions. Some especially unique countries, like Bhutan, North Korea, and Israel, are very difficult to group with other countries. Therefore, it was necessary to allow regions to still have a great deal of diversity within them. The following pairs of countries are the least similar countries within each of the nine world regions that were identified.


(Middle East & North Africa Region) – 42.8 similarity

Afghanistan is landlocked and sparsely populated, in contrast to Israel, where most of the land is near the coast. Their culture is also far different. Most Afghanis are Muslims, while most Israelis are Jews. They use different writing systems and their languages are unrelated to each other. Furthermore, the standard of living is much lower in Afghanistan. Their people are not as wealthy or well educated as Israelis. The country also has significantly more conservative laws than Israel. It does not allow alcohol, prostitution, or abortion.

However, despite these large differences, they still have enough in common to be grouped together into the Middle East. Both countries are located in Southwest Asia. Their climates are quite dry as well, so they have a lot of barren desert land. In addition, most of their people have Caucasian ancestry. The vast majority of males in these countries are circumcised. Their technology standards are also not far different. They both drive on the right and use Type C electrical outlets, as well as the same voltage and frequency.


(Central & South America Region) – 49.7 similarity

Bolivia is a mountainous, landlocked country in South America, while the Bahamas is group of low-lying islands in the Caribbean Sea. Most people from the Bahamas have African ancestry, while most Bolivians have a mix of Native South American and European ancestry. Another difference is that the majority of people in the Bahamas are Protestant, while Bolivia is mostly Catholic. The infrastructure in the Bahamas is also more developed than in Bolivia. Furthermore, the Bahamas drives on the left. It also uses a different electrical voltage and frequency than Bolivia.

However, these two countries still have enough in common to be grouped together into the Central & South America region. Both their official languages come from the Indo-European family and they use the Latin alphabet, since they were colonized by Western European countries. The vast majority of their people are Christian as well. In addition, most of the land in these countries has a hot and humid climate. Both countries are democracies and their governments have bicameral legislatures. In addition, these countries do not allow same sex marriage or polygamy.


(East Asia Region) – 50.4 similarity

The governments of Japan and North Korea are vastly different. North Korea is a one party authoritarian state, while Japan is a democracy with many different political parties. Furthermore censorship is more prevalent in North Korea than Japan. Their languages and writing systems have little in common as well. In addition, baseball is far more popular in Japan. Another big difference is that Japan’s standard of living is much higher than North Korea’s. Japan also drives on the left, uses Type A, B electrical outlets, and has 3’6″ railroad tracks, unlike North Korea.

Despite these massive differences, both countries are still considered to be part of East Asia. Their people have East Asian ancestry. Furthermore, both countries are heavily forested and their terrain is quite mountainous. Their climate is also not significantly different. Both countries have a lot of rainfall and temperate temperatures. Their laws are not far different as well. Both countries do not allow same sex marriage, prostitution, or polygamy. They also have strict gun control policies. In addition, these countries have a high percentage of people who are not religious.


(Sub-Saharan Africa) – 48.0 similarity

Mauritania is predominately Muslim, while South Africa is mostly Christian. Furthermore, the majority of people in these countries speak languages that are completely unrelated. While Mauritania uses the Arabic script, South Africa uses the Latin script. Mauritania’s government is far less democratic than South Africa’s. Their laws are also extremely different. Mauritania does not allow alcohol, abortion, prostiution, or same sex marriage, in stark contrast to South Africa. Another difference is that South Africa drives on the left and uses 3’6″ railroad track gauge.

However, both Mauritania and South Africa can be considered to be a part of Sub-Saharan Africa. They are both located on the African continent and border the Atlantic Ocean. A significant percentage of both populations have Sub-Saharan African ancestry. Their people tend to be on average quite young. Both countries rely on fossil fuels to generate electricity. They also have fairly dry climates. They were both colonized by Western European countries before becoming independent.


(Southeast Asia Region) – 46.4 similarity

Laos is landlocked and quite mountainous, while Singapore is a low-lying island in the Pacific Ocean that is far more densely populated. Most people in Laos are Buddhist, in contrast Singapore has much greater religious diversity. Most people in Singapore can speak English, but since a huge percentage of their population is ethnically Chinese, many also speak Chinese as well. Furthermore, the standard of living is much lower in Laos. Unlike Singapore, it drives on the right and uses Type C electrical outlets. They also use different TV broadcasting standards.

However, these countries are both considered to be part of Southeast Asia. The climate in both Singapore and Laos is hot and humid. Furthermore, most of their people have East Asian ancestry. In addition, the governments in both countries are dominated by a single party and they also have unicameral legislatures. Neither country allows same sex marriage or polygamy. They also have strict restrictions against illicit drugs, but have few restrictions on alcohol.


(South Pacific Region) – 55.9 similarity

East Timor was a former colony of Portugal, while Fiji was a British colony. Because of this, East Timor is mostly Catholic, while Fiji has more Protestants and also has many Hindus. A large percentage of Fiji’s population was brought from South Asia to farm the sugarcane fields. Moreover, Fiji’s infrastructure is more developed and its people are more educated. Another difference is that rugby is much more popular in Fiji than East Timor.

However, both of these countries border the South Pacific ocean and they also have tropical climates. Furthermore, most of their people natively speak Austronesian languages. In addition, both of these countries are democracies. They both have unicameral legislatures and just two parties dominant their governments. The vast majority of their electricity is generated by imported oil. In addition, most of their people work in either agriculture or the service sector.


(Central Asia Region) – 53.2 similarity

Most people in Mongolia are Buddhists, while most people in Turkey are Sunni Muslims. In addition, Mongolians have more East Asian ancestry, while the majority of Turks have Caucasian ancestry. These countries also use different writing systems. Mongolia uses the Cyrillic alphabet, whereas Turkey uses Latin alphabet. Their languages are also far different. Furthermore, Mongolia is landlocked and sparsely populated, in contrast to Turkey. Its climate is also significantly colder.

However, there is still a significant amount that these countries have in common. Both governments are secular and their laws are alike. Both countries do not allow same sex marriage or polygamy, but they do allow abortion and alcohol. Neither country gets a lot of rainfall. Their agriculture is also similar. My far the most common crop in both countries is wheat. They are also quite mountainous. Their infrastructure is also not significantly different. Both countries drive on the right and use Type C electrical outlets. In addition, wrestling is a popular sport in both countries.


(South Asia Region) – 52.2 similarity

Bhutan is a landlocked county located in the Himalayas, in contrast, Sri lanka is an island nation in the Indian Ocean. As a result, Bhutan’s average temperature is significantly colder. It is also more sparsely populated. These countries also practice significantly different forms of Buddhism. Most languages natively spoke in Bhutan are Sino-Tibetan, while both Indo-European and Dravidian languages are spoken in Sri Lanka. In addition, the ancestry of their people is different. Most Bhutanese have East Asian origins. The people in Bhutan tend to be less educated than Sri Lankans.

Still, these countries have a lot in common as well. Both are part of the Indian Sub-Continent. Most of their people practice Buddhism. They also use Indic scripts. Both countries are democracies, but they have little rule of law. Their laws are also alike. Both nations do not allow same sex marriage or prostitution, but they allow polygamy. Furthermore, they have many restriction on abortion. They both drive on the left side of the road as well.


(Western World) 50.6 – similarity

Australia and Georgia are on different continents on almost opposite sides of the globe. Furthermore, Australia’s climate is far hotter and drier than Georgia’s. Their languages are completely unrelated. In addition, these countries use different alphabets. While most Australians are either Protestant or Catholic, most Georgians are Orthodox Christians. Their technology standards are far different as well. Australia drives on the left, uses Type I electrical outlets, and also has a different railroad track gauge than what is typically used in Australia. While Georgia relies on hydropower, Australia relies on coal to generate electricity.

Still, both countries are considered to be a part of the Western World. Most of their people have Caucasian ancestry. Furthermore, they are also mostly Christian. These countries are both democracies as well. The average age of their people is similar. Their people also tend to be well educated. A high percentage of the population have college degrees in both Australia and Georgia. Most of their people have access to clean water and electricity. In addition, these countries have low rates of homicide.

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