Data Reveals the 9 Unique Regions of the World

World Region Map based on data from the Country Similarity Index

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 data from the Country Similarity Index was used to cluster countries into different regions and to create the most accurate regions of the world map. Some unique countries, like Bhutan, North Korea, and Israel, are very difficult to group with other countries. Therefore, it was necessary to make the largest regions still have a great deal of variation within them. This resulted in 9 distinct macro-regions:

  1. The North & Australasia
  2. Central & South America
  3. Middle East & North Africa
  4. Sub-Saharan Africa
  5. Central Asia
  6. South Asia
  7. East Asia
  8. Southeast Asia
  9. South Pacific

Please see this article, which compares these groupings to other regional maps created by geographers.
It must be noted that these macro-regions still have very significant differences within them. Countries as different as Russia and Australia are still grouped together. A few changes were made from the initial hierarchical clustering, since the data shows that some countries are really blends of two different regions. Pakistan could be considered either part of the Middle East or South Asia. Afghanistan could be considered either part of the Middle East or Central Asia. Sudan and Mauritania could be considered part of the Middle East or Sub-Saharan Africa. To account for this, the 9 macro-regions were further divided into 27 sub-regions, and even smaller groups within those sub-regions. It is hoped that this study has created a more rigorous and logical world regional map than any previously created.
The countries in each region and their individual pages are as follows:

The North & Australasia

1-A) Anglo World
United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland
United States, Canada
1-B) Europe
Poland, Czechia, Hungary, BulgariaSerbia, Slovakia, Croatia,
Bosnia & Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Slovenia, Montenegro
Germany, France, Netherlands, BelgiumAustria, Switzerland,
Italy, Spain, Portugal, Luxembourg
Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway  
Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia 
Greece, Cyprus
Iceland, Greenland
Romania
Albania
1-C) North Eurasia
Russia, Ukraine, Belarus
Georgia
Armenia
Moldova 

Central & South America

2-A) The Caribbean
Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, Bahamas
Guyana, Suriname 
Belize 
2-B) Latin America
Mexico, Colombia, Peru, Venezuela, Guatemala, Ecuador, Dominican Rep.,
Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Panama, Puerto Rico
Argentina, Chile, Uruguay
Bolivia, Paraguay 
Cuba
Brazil
– French Guiana 
2-C) Atlantic Ocean
Cape Verde
2-D) Indian Ocean
Mauritius, Reunion

Middle East & North Africa

3-A) Arab World
Saudi Arabia, U.A.E., Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain
Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Libya, Palestine
Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia
Yemen
Lebanon
3-B) Israel
Israel
3-C) Nastaliq Region
Iran
Afghanistan (transitional zone between Middle East and Central Asia)
Pakistan (transitional zone between Middle East and South Asia)

The Sahel

(transitional zone between Sub-Saharan Africa and North Africa)
3-D)
Sudan, Mauritania
4-A)
Niger, Mali, Chad 
Somalia, Djibouti

Sub-Saharan Africa

4-B) Tropical Africa
Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Guinea, Benin, Togo, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau
Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Malawi, Zambia, Rwanda, Burundi
D.R. Congo, Cameroon, Central African Rep., Rep. Congo, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea
Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Liberia
Mozambique, Angola
Madagascar 
South Sudan
Haiti
4-C) Southern Africa
South Africa, Namibia, Botswana
Lesotho, Eswatini 
Zimbabwe
4-D) Ethiopic Africa
Ethiopia, Eritrea

South Asia

5-A)
India
Nepal
5-B)Bhutan
5-C)Bangladesh
5-D)Sri Lanka

Central Asia

6-A)
Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan
Turkey, Azerbaijan
Tajikistan
6-B)
Mongolia

East Asia

7-A)
China
Taiwan
7-B)
Japan
South Korea
7-C)North Korea

Southeast Asia

8-A) Mainland Southeast Asia
Cambodia, Laos
Myanmar
Thailand
Vietnam
8-B) Singapore
Singapore
8-C) Insular Southeast Asia
Malaysia, Brunei
Indonesia
Philippines

South Pacific

9-A)
Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, New Caledonia  
Fiji 
Samoa, French Polynesia
9-B)
East Timor

Here is the hierarchical clustering dendrogram, the primary source of the map’s regions:

A larger, high resolution version of the world regions map:

Finally it may best to look at countries as a connected web, not hierarchical clusters.
Here is a version of the map as a connected web:

8 Comments

  1. Great! This is exactly what I hoped in since the beginning!
    The map shows many interesting facts, such as Cape Verde, Mauritius and Reunion being more similar to the Americas than to Africa. Apparently it matters more when and by whom your country was colonized, than where it is geographically located.
    Another interesting fact – the term Eastern Europe in its Cold War borders is unjustified. The only real Eastern Europe consists of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus. The remaining countries often labeled as Eastern European (Poland etc.) are indeed different from western European countries such as Germany, France or Italy, but not more than these continental western European countries are different from the Nordic countries or from the British Isles.

    1. Thanks, still working on a variation of your map, which i think is actually a better way to look at the world. In truth there is a gradient of countries and a web better explains the nuances. Forcing countries into specific boxes is interesting for sure though.

  2. Very interesting, thank you for your hard work!

    Could you share the average height for males and females in each region, please? Preferably in centimeters, if possible.

    Thank you very much in advance!

  3. Thank you for your impressive work. It would be nice, however, if your tables of detailed similarity analysis for each country could also be automatically ordered by each individual metric (for example demographics, culture, etc.) rather than only by total. Sometimes I am not interested in overall similarity, but care more about cultural or infrastructure similarity only.

    1. This has been updated for most of the countries. Now they can be ordered by the individual catagories.

  4. Hello. The map is very interesting and as a total geography and culture nerd I enjoyed every bit of your country specifc comparisons and the classifications on here.
    There is just one thing though.
    I don’t really get why Georgia and Armenia get classified into 1C together with the East Slavic nations when Georgia does not even have any of them in its top 5 most similar. I just think it would be more appropriate to have Armenia and Georgia as a separate 1D subregion within the west especially when Cape Verde which has 65 point similarity with Brazil is its own category and Georgia and Armenia have approximately the same similarity with the Slavic countries.

    Best regards, Mike

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