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 Ghana
Ghana is a country in Sub-Saharan Africa. It is similar to many countries in the region. The top four most similar countries were once colonized by the British and have English as one of their official languages In addition, all of the countries in the top five have tropical climates. Furthermore, most of their people natively speak Niger-Congo languages. In addition, the infrastructure in these countries is not well developed.
- Nigeria is another former British colony on the Gulf of Guinea. Both countries are mostly tropical savannas but also have some areas of desert and rainforest. Both use English as their official language, have similar electric outlets, and practice common law. There has also been some immigration between the two countries after their independence. However, Nigeria has more Muslims and about one third of its people speak Afro-Asiatic languages, not Niger-Congo languages.
- Sierra Leone was a British colony, despite its Italian sounding name. It was founded to resettle freed African slaves. However, it has a higher Muslim population than both Ghana and Nigeria and it is also less developed. Still, their governments both use the presidential system and have unicameral legislatures. Furthermore, there are only two major parties in these countries. Both countries eat a lot of cassava, but Sierra Leone eats more rice, while Ghana eats more yams.
- Tanzania was originally a German colony, until World War I, when it became a British colony. Like Ghana, it has a mix of Muslims and Christians. Another difference is that it is located on the Indian Ocean, instead of the Atlantic Ocean. Still, the countries have a similar climate and are mostly tropical savanna. However, not only is its infrastructure less well developed, but also it drives on the left.
- Zambia is a landlocked country located to the west of Tanzania. Its people are mostly Protestant. They both have relatively high rates of divorce. In addition, Zambia and Ghana have democratic governments. They both use the presidential system and have unicameral legislatures. They also primarily use hydropower to create electricity. Furthermore, both countries use 3’6″ railroad track gauge.
- Ivory Coast is the only country on this list that borders Ghana. However, it has some significant differences, since it was once a French colony. Despite not speaking the same lingua franca, many people in both countries natively speak the Akan language. Furthermore, like Ghana, it has a mix of Christians and Muslims. The countries have significantly similar geography since they are both located next to each other on the Gulf of Guinea. Their typical diets both consist of yams and cassava.
- Liberia, 7. Uganda, 8. Kenya, 9. Malawi, 10. Benin
Top 10 Countries Least Similar to Ghana
Four of the five least similar countries to Ghana are located in East Asia. They all have a much higher standard of living. They are also less religious than Ghana. Moreover, these countries happen to be much more mountainous. With the exception of Taiwan, their average temperatures are also much lower than Ghana’s.
- Japan is by far the least similar country to Ghana. Not only is its geography significantly different, but also its demographics, culture, and technology. There isn’t much in common between the two, except that they are both democracies. Another interesting connection is that they use same same railroad gauge, but obviously Japan’s network of railroads is much more widespread.
- Taiwan is another East Asian country on this list. Like Japan, its demographics, culture are quite different from Ghana. Its infrastructure is much more developed as well. Their diets have especially little in common. Taiwanese eat more meat and rice. However, both countries do have tropical climates and are densely populated.
- South Korea is like Japan and Taiwan. It has little demographic or cultural similarity with Ghana. One thing that does make South Korea more like Ghana than Japan and Taiwan is that it has a much larger Christian population. Furthermore, most males in Ghana and South Korea are circumcised. Although both countries drive on the right, they use different electrical outlets and railroad track gauge.
- Iceland‘s geography is especially different from Ghana, except for the fact that they both border the Atlantic Ocean. It is a mountainous, sparse vegetated island, with a low population density. It is also one of the coldest countries in the world. One big similarity is that both countries are mostly Protestant, although Iceland is far less religious.
- China is similar to Taiwan, except its government is less democratic. Furthermore, China’s climate varies widely depending on which region you are in. Like other countries on this list, its infrastructure is also far more developed than Ghana’s. A huge percentage of the population works in industry, while most Ghanaians work in agriculture or the service sector.
- Switzerland, 7. North Korea, 8. Norway, 9. Saudi Arabia, 10. Finland
Ghana is like if Nigeria was more like Zambia
Nigeria is the most similar country to Ghana. However, they still have some significant differences. Zambia is one country is that is much more like Ghana than it is to Nigeria. This is because Nigeria has more Muslims and less native Niger-Congo speakers than Ghana. Zambia has few Muslims and the vast majority of its people speak Niger-Congo languages, unlike Nigeria.
All data accurate as of 2020.