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 the Levant and North Africa
Lebanon is similar to many countries in the Levant and North Africa. These countries generally speak Arabic with a majority of their population being Muslim. In addition, the most similar countries are neither especially wealthy or poor. One aspect that makes Lebanon different from these countries is that they have a higher percentage of Christians.
The least similar countries all border the Pacific Ocean. Four of the five least similar countries have a lower standard of living than Lebanon. These countries also get more rainfall than Lebanon and they are also more heavily forested.
Top 10 Places Most Similar to Lebanon
- Tunisia and Lebanon were both colonies of France, so a significant percentage of the people in both countries can speak French. In addition, they are two of the most liberal Arab countries. Although Tunisia is in Africa, they both are mountainous countries that border the Mediterranean. Their agriculture is extremely similar as well since they both mostly grow olives, but also wheat.
- Jordan is located to the south of Lebanon. Both countries have a similar standard of living. The currency of both countries has a hard peg to the US Dollar. However, there are differences in their governments since Jordan is a constitutional monarchy and is less democratic than Lebanon. Although both countries are quite dry and mountainous, Jordan has very little coastline.
- Syria would probably be the most similar country to Lebanon, except for the fact that its on-going civil war has devastated the country’s infrastructure and standard of living. Like Lebanon and Tunisia, it was also a colony of France, although it has far fewer French speakers.
- Iraq and Lebanon both have a significant population of both Sunnis and Shi’ites. Iraq has more of a British influence, since it was one of its colonies. Although they are close in proximity their landscape is quite different since Iraq is not very mountainous and has little coastline.
- Egypt is another Arab country that borders the Mediterranean Sea. Their demographics are fairly similar. Both countries have a high employment rate for men, but a low employment rate for women. Their average income per capita is similar as well. However, the country is located in Africa and it is much less mountainous than Lebanon.
- Morocco, 7. Algeria, 8. Kuwait, 9. Libya, 10. Albania
Top 10 Places Least Similar to Lebanon
- Papua New Guinea is one of the hottest and wettest countries in the world, in contrast to Lebanon’s Mediterranean climate. The countries have little demographic or religious similarity as well. While, both countries are quite mountainous, Lebanon is much more densely populated and developed.
- Japan is another country that is technically in Asia, but other than that there is little similarity. Japan is an archipelago with a wet and temperate climate in contrast to the dry subtropical climate of Lebanon. Not only is its geography significantly different, but also its demographics, culture, politics, and technology.
- Cambodia is another Asian country, but it is at the other end of the spectrum from Japan since it is quite poor and its infrastructure is not well developed. Lebanon and Cambodia have very different cultures as well. Lebanese are much more outgoing than Cambodians. Furthermore, Cambodians are Buddhists. Its terrain is also much less mountainous than Lebanon. Still, one interesting similarity is that both countries were once colonized by France.
- Solomon Islands is very similar to Papua New Guinea, but it is more democratic and has a higher standard of living on average. Although most of the land in both Lebanon and the Solomon Islands is near the coast, the Solomon Islands is much more densely forested and also sparsely populated.
- North Korea‘s authoritarian government is far different from Lebanon’s. Its laws are also quite different. It allows abortion, but does not prostitution, in contrast to Lebanon. North Korea has very strict gun control, in contrast to Lebanon. However, both countries do drive on the right and use Type C electrical outlets. Still, North Korea has a much colder climate.
- Democratic Republic of Congo, 7. Canada, 8. Laos, 9. Liberia, 10. Mozambique
Do you agree with the list?
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