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.
Similar to Mozambique and French-speaking, predominately Christian African countries
4 of the top 5 countries most similar to Madagascar have French as their official language, with the exception of Mozambique, which speaks Portuguese. A vast majority of the people in these countries are also Christian, with the exception of Benin. Madagascar has some unique qualities from other Sub-Saharan African countries. Its native people speak an Austronesian language, not a language from the Niger-Congo family. This is because a significant portion of the population migrated from Asia and mixed with the native African population.
Besides Japan, the least similar countries are all located on the Arabian Peninsula. They are all predominately Muslim countries that have dry climates and barren landscapes with little agricultural or forested land. In addition, these countries are not monarchies, not democracies like Madagascar. Furthermore, they have a much higher standard of living.
Top 10 Places Most Similar to Madagascar
- Democratic Republic of Congo is another French-speaking African country, although unlike Madagascar it was colonized by Belgium, not France. Both countries have a high rate of poverty and do not have well developed infrastructure. The vast majority of their people are farmers, although a low percentage of the land in both countries is used for agriculture. In addition, both countries grow significant amounts of cassava and rice. They are also conservative since both countries do not allow gay marriage or abortion. Furthermore, both are part of the COMESA free trade area. There are also some big differences since Democratic Republic of Congo is not a democracy. It is also almost completely landlocked, in contrast to Madagascar.
- Republic of Congo is another former French colony. Both are sparsely populated, tropical countries with little infrastructure. Both countries are mostly Protestant, but also have many Catholics. They also have similar public holidays. Both have a semi-presidential form of government and bicameral legislatures. In addition Madagascar and Republic of Congo receive military aid from South Africa. One difference is that Republic of Congo has a far higher percentage of forested land. Their people also drink much more alcohol.
- Mozambique is the closest country on the mainland of Africa to Madagascar. The countries have an extremely similar climate, although their flora and fauna quite different. They are also rural and relatively sparsely populated. There are also some big differences as well since the official language of Mozambique is Portuguese. Their infrastructure is also different because Mozambique drives on the left and uses 3’6″ gauge railroad tracks, although neither country is well developed. In addition, although their laws are similar, one difference that abortion is legal upon request in Mozambique.
- Benin, like the Republic of Congo and Madagascar is a former French colony. Both countries are democracies, although Benin has a presidential system of government and a unicameral legislature. In addition, their infrastructure is similar. They both drive on the right, use one meter gauge railroad track, and the same electrical outlets. The plurality of people are Christian in both countries, however Benin has far more Muslims and people that practice Voodoo.
- Cameroon borders the Republic of Congo. It is another hot tropical and relatively undeveloped land, like Madagascar. Their diets are also similar. Both eat a lot of cassava. They also eat some fish and beef, but only small amounts. The countries create most of their electricity from Hydropower, but also use oil. However, Cameroon has a lower percentage of Protestants and a higher percentage of Muslims. Cameroon’s crops are also completely different since they grow a lot of corn and sorghum.
- Burundi, 7. Ivory Coast, 8. Liberia, 9. Central African Republic, 10. Togo
Top 10 Places Least Similar to Madagascar
- Japan is another country based on an island, but it is far different. Its infrastructure is especially different since it drives on the left, uses Type A, B electrical outlets, and 3’6″ gauge railroad tracks, unlike Madagascar. Furthermore it is much more densely populated and its standard of living is much higher. However, the people of Madagascar do have some East Asian ancestry, although it is uniquely mixed with African ancestry.
- Bahrain is an densely populated country in the Persian Gulf. Although both countries are islands, its landscape is extremely different. Bahrain is also far more affluent and developed than Madagascar. It has more cars per capita and more public transportation infrastructure. It also uses Type G electrical outlets, unlike Madagascar.
- Qatar is similar to Bahrain. It is a peninsula in the Persian Gulf, connected to Saudi Arabia. It has one of the highest GDPs per capita in the world in contrast to Madagascar. Furthermore, the city has many skyscrapers, while Madagascar does not have a single skyscraper in the entire country.
- Kuwait is a Muslim country located in the Arabian Desert between Iraq and Saudi Arabia. It is densely populated and quite wealthy. The countries also have extremely different diets, since Kuwaitis do not eat very much cassava and eat far more dairy products. However, interestingly enough, they both border the Indian Ocean, and also are in the same time zone.
- Saudi Arabia borders both Qatar and Bahrain. The country’s government is especially conservative and authoritarian. It is an absolute monarchy without even a legislature. Although both Madagascar and Saudi Arabia are sparsely populated, it has a drier climate.
- United Arab Emirates, 7. Israel, 8. Canada, 9. United Kingdom, 10. South Korea
Full Ranking of Countries and Territories Most Similar to Madagascar
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