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 Gabon
Gabon is a Sub-Saharan African country. The top five countries most similar to it have French as one of their official languages. Furthermore, their people natively speak Niger-Congo languages. They are also all located in the tropical regions of Africa. With the exception of the Ivory Coast, a majority of the people in these countries are Christian. Four of the five most similar countries use the same currency: the Central African Franc. Only Equatorial Guinea was not a French colony previously.
- Republic of Congo borders Gabon on its south and east. It is another sparsely populated, heavily forested country that was once part of French Equatorial Africa. However, the Republic of Congo is not as wealthy as Equatorial Guinea. Another difference is that it uses the semi-presidential form of government. Still, their laws are fairly similar, both countries do not allow abortion or prostitution, but allow polygamy and gambling.
- Cameroon is to the north of Gabon and the Republic of Congo. Many people in both countries speak Beti languages. Their governments are also similar since they have bicameral legislatures that are dominated by one-party. Cameroon’s colonial history is a little different since it had also been ruled at times by Germany and Great Britain as well. While their laws are fairly similar, Cameroon has more restrictive alcohol laws.
- Equatorial Guinea is yet another heavily forested country that borders Gabon on this list. Both countries are reliant on oil revenue for income. They also have many people from the Fang ethnic group. Furthermore, these countries are mostly Catholic. However, the biggest difference is that Equatorial Guinea was a colony of Spain and therefore its lingua franca is Spanish. Like Gabon, it is also a one-party state that uses the presidential system of government.
- Ivory Coast also borders the Atlantic Ocean and was once a French colony, although it was part of French West Africa. Both countries use a mix of natural gas and hydropower to create electricity. However, Ivory Coast has a much higher percentage of Muslims than Gabon. Its climate is also drier than the other countries on this list. Still, neither country is mountainous. Their diets are similar as well. Both countries eat a lot of cassava, yams, and plantains.
- Central African Republic is the only country that does not border the Atlantic on this list. Although both countries are predominately forested land, Central African Republic does not get as much rainfall on average so it has more savanna lands than forests. Another difference is that the country is not as wealthy as Gabon. Still, both countries use the presidential form of government.
- Democratic Republic of Congo, 7. Guinea, 8. Togo, 9. Ghana, 10. Benin
Top 10 Countries Least Similar to Gabon
Four of the five least similar countries to Gabon are located in Asia. These four countries are also much more densely populated than Gabon and have many skyscrapers. They are also more mountainous. The least similar countries to Gabon all have a higher standard of living and are more democratic. Their people tend to be less religious as well.
- Japan is by far the least similar country to Gabon. Its demographics, culture, politics, and technology are significantly different. There isn’t much in common between the two, except that both countries have a lot of forested area. They use different railroad track gauge, different electrical outlets and voltages, and drive on different sides of the road.
- Taiwan is another East Asian country located in the Pacific Ocean. Its people are ethnically Chinese. Due to its more southern location, its tropical climate makes it lower on the list than Japan. Both countries also have a lot of forested land, although Taiwan is much more densely populated than Gabon. It also has more agricultural land, although it mostly grows rice, not yams and cassava.
- Iceland is also mostly Christian, but it is much less religious than Gabon and its people are mostly Protestant. Furthermore, while both countries border the Atlantic Ocean, Iceland’s landscape is far different from Gabon. It is more mountainous and has little forested area. Furthermore, its climate is much colder. Their laws are also quite different. Iceland does not allow gambling or polygamy, but allows abortion and same sex marriage. Still, both countries use the Latin alphabet.
- Israel is on the African tectonic plate, but there is little else Gabon has in common with Israel. Its people are mostly Jewish and the country uses a different writing system, the Hebrew alphabet. It is also much more densely populated and has a much lower percentage of forested land. In fact, much of the country is barren landscape.
- South Korea has more in common with Gabon than Taiwan or Japan does, since many of its people are Christian, although they are less religious. Furthermore, they drives on the right side of the road and use Type C electrical outlets, like Gabon. Still, Korean is completely unrelated linguistically to languages in Gabon and it also uses a different system of writing.
- North Korea, 7. New Zealand, 8. Bahrain, 9. United Kingdom, 10. Kuwait
Gabon is like if the Republic of Congo was more like Suriname
The Index indicates that Republic of Congo is the most similar country to Gabon. However, the data shows Suriname is one country that is much more similar to Gabon than the Republic of Congo. Both countries have a higher GDP per capita and better developed infrastructure than the Republic of Congo. They also have standard gauge railroad tracks. Furthermore, Suriname and Gabon both officially celebrate Christian and Muslim holidays, unlike the Republic of Congo.
Full Ranking of Countries and Territories Most Similar to Gabon
All data accurate as of 2020.
Most Similar Demographics: Equatorial Guinea
Most Similar Culture: Republic of Congo
Most Similar Government: Republic of Congo
Most Similar Infrastructure: Morocco
Most Similar Geography: Republic of Congo
Least Similar Demographics: Japan
Least Similar Culture: Japan
Least Similar Government: United States
Least Similar Infrastructure: Japan
Least Similar Geography: Tajikistan