The Most Westernized Country in South Asia

Determining the “most westernized” country in South Asia requires considering various social, cultural, economic, and political factors. One way to answer this complex question is by analyzing the data from the Country Similarity Index. The index attempts to quantify how similar countries are to each other relative to other countries, using a variety of statistics from five broad categories: demographics, culture, politics, infrastructure, and geography. The data suggests that among South Asian countries, Sri Lanka is the most similar to Western nations, while Bangladesh is the least similar.

(Western countries defined as Europe, USA, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia. South Asian countries are defined as India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, and Nepal. Pakistan could be considered as either Middle Eastern or South Asian, but included here as well)

graph of how westernized South Asian countries are

Let’s analyze Sri Lanka to show the variety of reasons why it is the “most westernized” country in South Asia. Demographics and infrastructure are the two biggest reasons.


Sri Lanka has the highest median age in South Asia at over 32 years old, so it is closer to Western nations than others in the region. Furthermore, Sri Lankans tend to be more educated than other South Asian populations, since it has higher literacy rates and years of mean schooling. This is part of the reason why the country is the wealthiest in the region.

Furthermore, Sri Lanka has by far the highest percentage of Christians in South Asia. It was a colony of European powers, including the Portuguese, Dutch, and British, for several centuries. During their colonial rule, these European powers introduced Christianity to the island. Although most of its people are Buddhist, over 6% of its people are Christian.


Sri Lanka has the most vehicles per capita in South Asia. Furthermore, it has an extensive network of railroads. Another difference is that Sri Lanka has the best water quality and the highest percentage of people with basic sanitation in the region. These factors make Sri Lanka more like the West.

The country’s historical role as a major maritime trading hub has exposed it to various external influences, including Westernization, to some extent. Urban centers in Sri Lanka, such as Colombo, have experienced significant development and modernization, often reflecting Western-style infrastructure, businesses, and consumer goods.

The Most Similar Western Country to Sri Lanka

The Country Similarity Index suggests that Cyprus is the most similar western country to Sri Lanka. Both are mountainous island nations with warm climates. Furthermore, these countries were once British colonies. As a result, English is widespread in these nations. Furthermore, they also drive on the left side of the road and have Type G electrical outlets.

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