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 countries that were once part of French West Africa
Many countries in Sub-Saharan Africa are like Benin. The top five countries most similar to Benin all were colonized by France and use French as their lingua franca. A large portion of the land in all these countries is tropical savanna. Four of the top five most similar border the Atlantic Ocean.
The five least similar countries have a much higher standard of living and their infrastructure is much more developed. The two least similar are located in East Asia, while the majority of the people in the other three natively speak Germanic languages. Furthermore, the average temperature is much lower four of the five countries.
Top 10 Places Most Similar to Benin
- Togo is by far the most similar country to Benin. It is another country bordering the Gulf of Guinea, on its western border. Although Togo started out as a German colony, a majority of the land was taken over by France after World War I. Both countries have a diverse mix of Muslims, Christians, and followers of Voodoo. One of the bigger differences is their governments. Togo is less democratic and its legislature is dominated by a single party.
- Burkina Faso borders Benin to its north. The countries both have a diverse mix of religions practiced there. Both countries are democracies with similar laws, although Burkina Faso uses the semi-presidential system of government. However, their diets are quite different, since people in Burkina Faso eat more millet and sorghum products and less yams and cassava. It is also landlocked and has drier climate than Benin.
- Ivory Coast also has a mix of Christians and Muslims, although less people believe in Voodoo there. Furthermore, the countries have nearly identical climate, although Ivory Coast’s agricultural areas tend to be less focused on producing cotton and more focused on producing cocoa. Still, the diet of both countries is primarily cassava and yams.
- Guinea also borders the Atlantic Ocean, but does not border Benin. The countries have a similar standard of living and development of infrastructure. One big difference is that unlike other countries on this list it does not use the West African Franc, despite being in ECOWAS. Furthermore, the diet and agriculture in Guinea involves more rice. Still, both countries have a similar climate and use French as their official language.
- Senegal is to the north of Guinea. Both countries rely on oil to create electricity. Their governments have a similar form. Both use the presidential system and have unicameral legislatures. They also have similar legal system. However, its laws are slightly different, in part since the country is mostly Muslim and has few Christians or people who practice Voodoo. It allows polygamy, but does not allow prostitution or abortion (except to save the mother’s life), unlike Benin.
- Cameroon, 7. Central African Republic, 8. Guinea-Bissau, 9. Republic of Congo, 10. Ghana
Top 10 Places Least Similar to Benin
- Japan is by far the least similar country to the Benin. It is a mountainous and heavily populated archipelago with many skyscrapers. Its demographics, culture, and technology are also quite different. There just isn’t much in common between the two.
- Taiwan is yet another East Asian country on islands in the Pacific Ocean. Due to its more southern location, its tropical climate does makes help to make it lower on the list than Japan. Another similarity is that both countries drive on the right side of the road. Other than those characteristics, there is very little Benin and Taiwan have in common, especially in demographics and culture.
- Canada is the least similar country to Benin in the Western Hemisphere, despite both countries having French as one of their official languages. It is one of the coldest countries, in contrast to Benin’s hot tropical savanna climate. Canada’s laws are also quite different from Benin, since it allows same sex marriage and has less strict drug laws. It also has more generous welfare for its citizens.
- Iceland is the least similar country in Europe to Benin, despite both countries bordering the Atlantic Ocean. It is far more mountainous and its landscape is sparsely vegetated, due in part to its cold climate. It is also much less densely populated. While both countries have a significant amount of Christians, the country is also far less religious than Benin.
- Norway is another country similar to Iceland. It is also mountainous, has a lot of coastline, and also a cold climate. Norway has a much lower marriage rate than Benin. Norway is also one of the wealthiest countries in the world and has a much higher standard of living than Benin.
- United Kingdom, 7. New Zealand, 8. South Korea, 9. United States, 10. Bahrain
Full Ranking of Countries and Territories Most Similar to Benin
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