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.
Top 10 Countries Most Similar to Burundi
Burundi is a country in the Tropical Africa region. The top five most similar countries are all mostly Christian and have relatively few Muslims. In addition, most of their people natively speak Bantu languages. Four of the top five countries most similar to Burundi have French as one of the their official languages. Furthermore, they have a mix of tropical forest and tropical savanna vegetation. These countries are also not very wealthy and their infrastructure is not well developed.
- Rwanda and Burundi are two of the most similar countries in the world. The two countries were once a single territory ruled by Belgium called Ruanda-Urundi until 1960. The languages they natively speak are mutually intelligible. Their geography is also incredibly similar. They are both densely populated countries with about the same climate and amount of land. The biggest difference is that most signs in Rwanda are in English, not French, although Rwanda also has French as one of its official languages.
- Uganda is the only country in the top five that does not have French as one of its official languages, however the languages people natively speak there are closely related to those in Burundi. It is another country in the Great Lakes region of Africa. Both countries are mostly Christian, although Uganda does have a small percentage of Muslims. Furthermore, a high percentage of the land in both countries is used for agriculture. However, Uganda was a British colony so it did not adopt driving on drive the right side of the road or common law in its legal system.
- Democratic Republic of Congo is another former colony of Belgium. Both countries use Type C, E electrical outlets and drive on the right side of the road. There are some political similarities as well. Both countries have bicameral legislatures ruled by one party and are not very democratic. They also have essentially the same legal system. However, the country is much more sparsely populated and is more heavily forested. Both countries rely on hydropower to create electricity, although few people have access to the electrical grid.
- Cameroon, like Burundi, has also adopted both French and English as their official languages. Like Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi, it has a bicameral legislature that is ruled by one party. Their laws are also similar, although one big difference is that polygamy is legal in Cameroon, while it is criminalized in Burundi. Their agriculture is not similar as well, since Cameroon tends to grow more corn and sorghum than beans.
- Republic of Congo is yet another former French colony on this list. Both countries are also mostly Christian, although it has a much higher percentage of Protestants than Burundi. Another difference is that it relies on oil, not hydropower to create electricity and a higher percentage of its people have access to electricity. Another difference is that Congo is mostly forested, while Burundi has a much higher percentage of agricultural land.
- Central African Republic, 7. Togo, 8. Tanzania, 9. Ivory Coast, 10. Benin
Top 10 Countries Least Similar to Burundi
Four of the five least similar countries to Burundi are located in Asia. They are all more developed and have a higher standard of living. They also have much more coastline as well. In addition, four of the five least similar countries do not use the Latin alphabet. Their native languages are unrelated to Niger-Congo languages as well. Another difference is that their governments are more stable than Burundi’s.
- Japan is by far the least similar country to Burundi. Its demographics, culture, and infrastructure are especially different. Not only is Japan far more developed, but its technology standards are quite different as well. Japan drives on the left, uses Type A, B electrical outlets, and relies on fossil fuels to create electricity, unlike Burundi. There just isn’t much in common between the two, except that they are both mountainous and get about the same amount of rainfall.
- South Korea is another country with a temperate climate also located in East Asia. It is a highly developed country with a lot of coastline. However, unlike Japan, South Korea does have a significant Christian population. It also drives on the right and uses Type C electrical outlets, like South Korea. Still, these countries have little else in common.
- Taiwan is yet another insular Asian country that borders the Pacific Ocean on this list. Like Japan and South Korea, its demographics and culture are quite different from Burundi. However, Taiwan’s subtropical climate is more similar to Rwanda’s than Japan’s or South Korea’s. Their laws are quite different as well. Taiwan does not restrict abortion and does not allow gambling, unlike Burundi.
- Canada has a far colder climate than Burundi and much more coastline. Furthermore, it is a sparsely populated country in North America. Its government and laws are especially different from Burundi. However, there are some similarities as well. Both countries have French and English as their official languages and use the Latin alphabet. They are also mostly Christian, although Canadians tend to be less religious.
- Qatar has a barren desert landscape, in contrast to Burundi, which in contrast has a high percentage of surface freshwater. Most people live close to the coast, in stark contrast to landlocked Burundi. The country is predominately Muslim and its native people primarily speak Arabic. As a result, its laws are more conservative than Burundi’s. Qatar’s government is also a monarchy.
- Saudi Arabia, 7. Israel, 8. Australia, 9. Iceland, 10. Finland
Burundi is like if Rwanda was more like the Democratic Republic of Congo
Burundi and Rwanda are two of the most similar countries. However, one big difference between them is that Rwanda’s primary language is now English, not French, so this makes Burundi more like other French speaking countries in Africa. The Democratic Republic of Congo is one country that is significantly more similar to Burundi than Rwanda because of this. Furthermore, Rwanda’s people are slightly more wealthy than Burundi’s and the Democratic Republic of Congo’s. Unlike Rwanda, both these countries let few people in their countries without visas. They also primarily use hydropower to create electricity, while Rwanda uses a mix of hydropower and natural gas.
All data accurate as of 2020.