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 Eswatini
Eswatini is a country in Southern Africa. The top five countries most similar to Eswatini were all once British colonies. They all have English as one of their official languages, but a majority of their people natively speak Bantu languages. In addition all of these countries have a majority Protestant population. They also have similar infrastructure, since the top five all drive on the left and use 3′-6″ gauge railroad tracks. Furthermore, all these countries are landlocked.
- Lesotho 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’s government is significantly more democratic than Eswatini.
- Zimbabwe and Eswatini both have a significant number of Nguni people. Both countries are not very democratic. Zimbabwe was ruled by dictators for a long period, while Eswatini is ruled by a monarch with extensive power over the government. Both countries criminalize same sex relations and also do not allow polygamy. They also get about the same rainfall and their average temperature is also similar.
- Zambia is yet another landlocked former British colony on this list. Both countries are mostly Protestant, but also are about 20% Catholic. A majority of their agricultural lands are used to farm corn and it is a staple food in both countries. However, it is also less mountainous. Although both countries are not well developed, Zambia has a lower literacy rate and a higher rate of poverty.
- Botswana is located between Zimbabwe and Namibia. Both Botswana and Eswatini have a relatively high percentage of people working in industry, although Eswatini has a lower percentage of people working in agriculture. The diets of their people are quite similar, although people in Eswatini eat more fruits. However due in large part to the diamond industry, Botswana is more developed than Eswatini.
- Malawi is located to the east of Zambia. It is another relatively mountainous, landlocked country in Africa. However, it also has much more freshwater, since it is located on Lake Malawi. Both countries primarily use hydropower to create electricity. Like Zambia, it has a lower literacy rate and a higher rate of poverty than Eswatini. Its government is also more democratic than Eswatini’s.
- Namibia, 7. Kenya, 8. South Africa, 9. Uganda, 10. Tanzania
Top 10 Countries Least Similar to Eswatini
The five least similar countries to Eswatini are all located in Asia, two in the Middle East and three in East Asia. These countries are also far more developed and have a higher standard of living. They are especially different because these countries do not use the Latin alphabet and have a lower percentage of Christians. Most people live close to the coast in four of the five least similar countries.
- Japan is an extremely densely populated island, in contrast to landlocked Eswatini. 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, they do share some similar infrastructure, since both countries drive on the left and use 3’6″ gauge railroad tracks. Still, Eswatini has a different electrical outlets that use a higher voltage than Japan.
- Taiwan is another island in East Asia on this list. Like Japan, its infrastructure is much more developed than Eswatini. In addition, its laws are a lot different. Taiwan allows gay marriage and does not allow gambling. The countries also have extremely dissimilar demographics and culture. Although both countries have a hot climate, Taiwan gets far more rainfall. Still, both of their climates are considered to be subtropical.
- South Korea is yet another densely populated East Asian country on this list. Its infrastructure is extremely dissimilar from Botswana, 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. In addition, most of the males in both countries are circumcised. Still, its language and system of writing are completely different.
- Israel is technically on the African continental plate, but it has little else in common with Eswatini. Its people are mostly Jewish and they use the Hebrew alphabet. In addition, most of its land is close to the sea, unlike landlocked Eswatini. Like South Korea, its infrastructure development and technology standards are especially different from Eswatini. It also has much lower rates of homicide and suicide.
- Saudi Arabia is yet another Middle Eastern country on this list. The country is mostly barren desert. Its people are predominately Muslim and natively speak Arabic. Although both countries are absolute monarchies, Saudi Arabia’s laws are much more conservative. It does not allow abortion, alcohol, or gambling. Still, both countries do prohibit prostitution and same sex relationships.
- Finland, 7. Qatar, 8. Iceland, 9. Bahrain, 10. Singapore
Eswatini is like if Lesotho was more like Zimbabwe
Eswatini is like a mix of Zimbabwe and Lesotho. Lesotho are both landlocked, mountainous countries that are surrounded by South Africa. However, Lesotho’s average temperature is much colder than Eswatini. Both Eswatini and Zimbabwe do not have democratic governments, unlike Lesotho. Still, they are both are part of the Southern African Customs Union. Zimbabwe and Eswatini both have a significant number of Nguni people as well.
All data accurate as of 2020.