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 Gambia
Gambia is a country in Sub-Saharan Africa. The top five countries most similar to it border the Atlantic Ocean. The majority of people in these countries are Muslim. They also natively speak Niger-Congo languages. Furthermore, the top five most similar countries are part of the Economic Community of West African States. The infrastructure in these countries tends to be not well developed.
- Senegal almost entirely surrounds Gambia, so it is no wonder it is so similar. Over 90% of the people in both countries are Muslim. They also have many native speakers of Mandinka, Pulaar, and Wolof. However, there is one big difference between these countries. Senegal was a French colony, not a British colony, so its official language is French and it follows other French conventions.
- Sierra Leone is another former British colony in West Africa that has a predominately Muslim population. In fact, Gambia was governed by Sierra Leone for several decades in the 19th Century. Although the native languages spoken there are only distantly related to those in Gambia, the countries have a similar culture. One key difference is that Sierra Leone was established for liberated slaves to return to Africa. It also gets more rainfall, so it is mostly tropical rainforest, not savannas.
- Guinea is located between Senegal and Sierra Leone. Like Senegal, it is another former French colony on the Atlantic Ocean that is mostly Muslim. Although its official language is French, the native languages spoken there are closely related to those in Gambia. Like Sierra Leone, it gets more rainfall than Gambia. Both countries tend to eat a lot of rice, but Guineans eat more cassava and less millet than Gambians.
- Nigeria is another British colony in West Africa. Both countries are mostly tropical savannas. However, Nigeria is roughly split 50-50 between Christians and Muslims. Another difference is their diet. Nigerians tend to eat more yams and cassava, while Gambians tend to eat more rice and millet products. Furthermore, while neither country is very developed, Nigeria depends on natural gas to create electricity, not oil.
- Guinea-Bissau does not actually border Gambia, but it is less than a two-hour drive away from it. Both countries have many people that natively speak Fula and Mandinka. The biggest difference is that it was once a Portuguese colony, so Portuguese is the country’s official language. Both countries have quite a low standard of living. There are few vehicles per person and also no railroad there.
- Ghana, 7. Mali, 8. Burkina Faso, 9. Tanzania, 10. Ivory Coast
Top 10 Countries Least Similar to Gambia
The five least similar countries to Gambia are either located in East Asia or predominately Germanic-speaking countries in Europe. All these countries have a much higher standard of living than Gambia. They also tend to be much less religious. Four of the five least similar countries have a much cooler climate. They also are quite mountainous, in contrast to low-lying Gambia.
- Japan‘s geography significantly different from Gambia. It is a mountainous archipelago with a temperate climate and far more rainfall. Its demographics, culture, and technology are also quite different. There just isn’t much in common between the two, except that both countries tend to eat a lot of seafood. Not only is its infrastructure far more advanced, but it drives on the left and uses Type A, B electrical outlets, unlike Gambia.
- Switzerland is a landlocked and extremely mountainous country located in the middle of Europe. It is one of the wealthiest countries in the world. The country has a mix of Catholics and Protestants, but it is also not very religious. Its laws are also far different from Gambia, since Switzerland allows prostitution and the sale of pornography, but does not allow polygamy. It is also far more democratic.
- Norway is a mountainous country in Scandinavia. It is sparsely populated and its climate is much colder than Gambia. Like Switzerland, it is mostly Christian, but its people are not very religious. The country has one of the highest standards of living in the world. Its government is more stable and its laws are more liberal. While the marriage rate is high and the divorce rate is low in Gambia, the marriage rate is low in Norway, while its divorce rate is high.
- Taiwan, like Japan, is another country in the Pacific Ocean that has little in common with Gambia. Its people are predominately ethnic Chinese. Gambia and Taiwan do not share a common language, writing system, or religion. However Taiwan is a little more like Gambia than Japan, since it drives on the right and its climate is hotter than Japan.
- Iceland is yet another country with a majority Germanic speaking country on this list. Its climate is also far colder than Gambia. It is also much more sparsely populated. Still, both countries do border the Atlantic Ocean, although Gambia is much further to the south. Still there are some similarities, since neither country has a railroad or sophisticated military infrastructure.
- Finland, 7. Austria, 8. South Korea, 9. Canada, 10. Sweden
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Gambia is like if Senegal was more like Sierra Leone
The Index indicates that Senegal is the most similar country to Gambia, however there is one big difference. Gambia was a British colony, while Senegal was a French colony. Therefore, the data indicates that Sierra Leone is one country that has many more traits in common with Gambia than Senegal. Sierra Leone was also a British colony, so they both have English as their official language. Furthermore, they both of their legal systems are based on Common Law. Another thing that they share in common is that both use Type G electrical outlets, unlike in Senegal.
Full Ranking of Countries and Territories Most Similar to Gambia
All data accurate as of 2020.
Most Similar Demographics: Senegal
Most Similar Culture: Sierra Leone
Most Similar Government: Tanzania
Most Similar Infrastructure: Guinea-Bissau
Most Similar Geography: Senegal
Least Similar Demographics: Japan
Least Similar Culture: Japan
Least Similar Government: Finland
Least Similar Infrastructure: United States
Least Similar Geography: Iceland