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 other English-speaking countries in Southern Africa
4 of the top 5 countries most similar to Lesotho were once colonies of Great Britain, with the exception being Namibia, which was a German colony, later ruled by South Africa. They all have English as one of their official languages. In addition all of these countries have a majority Protestant population. They also have similar infrastructure, since the top 5 all drive on the left and use 3′-6″ gauge railroad tracks.
The five least similar countries are all far more developed and have a higher standard of living. Their governments are also more democratic. The three least similar countries are located in East Asia. They are especially different because they do not use the Latin alphabet, do not traditionally follow Abrahamic religions, and are also much less religious. Wealthy countries on the Arabian Peninsula are also far different from Lesotho.
Top 10 Places Most Similar to Lesotho
- Eswatini is another former colony of Great Britain that was planned to be incorporated into South Africa, but instead gained its independence. Still, both countries use the South African Rand as legal tender. Despite their close proximity to South Africa, their infrastructure is significantly less developed. Both countries primarily use Type M electrical outlets. They also primarily use hydropower to create electricity. However Lesotho is significantly more democratic than Eswatini.
- Zimbabwe is another landlocked country that borders South Africa. The diets of both countries are quite alike. Both countries tend to grow and eat a lot of corn. In addition, the countries have a similar standard of living.
- Zambia is similar to Zimbabwe. It is yet another landlocked former British colony on this list. One difference is that Zambia has fewer Catholics. However, a greater percentage of Zambia’s land area is freshwater lakes. Its climate is also much hotter than Lesotho.
- Botswana is another landlocked country that borders South Africa. The native languages of Lesotho and Botswana, Sesotho and Setswana, are closely related, and English is an official language of both countries. One big difference is that Lesotho has a more temperate climate, due to its high average elevation. It is also wetter and more mountainous.
- Namibia is the only country that is not landlocked on this list. It is located between Botswana and the Atlantic Ocean. The South African Rand is legal tender in both countries. Both Namibia and Lesotho rely on hydropower to create energy. The South African Rand is legal tender in both countries as well. However, their agriculture is a lot different, since Namibia’s climate is drier. Namibia mostly grows millet, while Lesotho mostly grows corn.
- Malawi, 7. Kenya, 8. Uganda, 9. South Africa, 10. Tanzania
Top 10 Places Least Similar to Lesotho
- South Korea is a densely populated East Asian country. Its infrastructure is extremely dissimilar from Lesotho, since it drives on the right, uses standard gauge railroad tracks, and Type C, F electrical outlets. One thing that they do have in common is that South Korea also has a significant Christian population. Still, its language and system of writing are completely different from Korean.
- Taiwan is country that borders the Pacific Ocean on this list. Like South Korea, its infrastructure is much more developed than Lesotho. In addition, its laws are a lot different. Taiwan allows gay marriage and legalized prostitution. Also unlike Lesotho, it does not allow gambling. The countries also have extremely dissimilar demographics and culture. Taiwan’s climate is also hotter than the more temperate climate of Lesotho.
- Japan is an extremely densely populated island, in contrast to landlocked Lesotho. Not only is its geography significantly different, but also its demographics and culture. They use a different writing system and their religions are unrelated. However, Japan does share some similar infrastructure, since both countries drive on the left and use 3’6″ gauge railroad tracks. Still, Lesotho has a different electrical outlets that use a higher voltage than Japan.
- Bahrain is a densely populated desert island located in the Persian Gulf. In contrast to landlocked Lesotho, most of its people is within a 15-minute drive from the beach. The country is also one of the wealthiest in the world. It is mostly Muslim. Due to a vast amount of migrant construction workers in the country, it has far more men than women.
- Saudi Arabia is a predominately Muslim country in Asia. Although both countries have little vegetation, Saudi Arabia is much hotter and drier. The country creates most of its electricity using oil and natural gas, while Lesotho primarily uses hydropower. Its government is also an absolute monarchy and has more conservative laws than Lesotho.
- United Arab Emirates, 7. Kuwait, 8. Qatar, 9. Finland, 10. Israel
Full Ranking of Countries and Territories Most Similar to Lesotho
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