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 Lebanon
Lebanon is an Arab country in the Middle East. It is one of the more unique countries in the region. The five most similar countries to Lebanon use Arabic as their official language and are a part of the Arab League. A majority of the people in these countries are Muslim. In addition, the most similar countries to Lebanon are neither especially wealthy nor poor. These countries are also heavily reliant on fossil fuels to create electricity.
- Tunisia and Lebanon were both colonies of France, so a significant percentage of the people in both countries can speak French. In addition, they are two of the most liberal Arab countries. Although Tunisia is in Africa, they both are mountainous countries that border the Mediterranean. Their agriculture is extremely similar as well since they both mostly grow olives, but also wheat.
- Jordan is located to the south of Lebanon. Both countries have a similar standard of living. Neither country has much agricultural land, but they tend to grow many olives. The currency of both countries has a hard peg to the US Dollar. However, there are differences in their governments since Jordan is a constitutional monarchy and is less democratic than Lebanon. Far fewer people in Jordan live near the coast too.
- Syria is the only Arab country that borders Lebanon. It would probably be the most similar country to Lebanon, except for the fact that its on-going civil war has devastated the country’s infrastructure and standard of living. Still, both countries have a semi-presidential form of government with a unicameral legislature. Like Lebanon and Tunisia, it was also a colony of France, although it has far fewer French speakers.
- Iraq and Lebanon both have a significant population of both Sunnis and Shi’ites, although Lebanon has a far higher percentage of Christians. Iraq has more of a British influence, since it was one of its colonies. Although they are close in proximity their landscape is quite different since Iraq is not very mountainous and has little coastline. It also does not border the Mediterranean Sea.
- Egypt is another Arab country that borders the Mediterranean Sea. Their demographics are fairly similar. Both countries have a high employment rate for men, but a low employment rate for women. Their average income per capita is similar as well. They are both mostly Muslim, but also have a significant population of Orthodox Christians. However, the country is located in Africa and it is also much less mountainous than Lebanon.
- Morocco, 7. Algeria, 8. Kuwait, 9. Libya, 10. Albania
Top 10 Countries Least Similar to Lebanon
The four least similar countries to Lebanon all border the Pacific Ocean. These countries also have parliamentary governments with monarchs as their heads of state. The least similar counties also get far more rainfall and a much higher percentage of their lands are forested. Furthermore, with the exception of Japan, these countries have a lower standard of living than Lebanon.
- Papua New Guinea is one of the hottest and wettest countries in the world, in contrast to Lebanon’s Mediterranean climate. The countries have little demographic or religious similarity as well. While, both countries are quite mountainous, Lebanon is much more densely populated and developed. Not only is its infrastructure less developed, but it also drives on the left and uses Type I electrical outlets.
- Japan is another mountainous country in Asia where most people live close to the coast, but other than that there is little similarity with Lebanon. Japan’s climate is wetter and cooler than the dry subtropical climate of Lebanon. Its demographics, culture, and technology are all far different from Lebanon as well.
- Cambodia is another Asian country, but it is at the other end of the spectrum from Japan since it is quite poor and its infrastructure is not well developed. Lebanon and Cambodia have very different cultures as well. Lebanese are much more outgoing than Cambodians. Furthermore, Cambodians are Buddhists. Its terrain is also much less mountainous than Lebanon. Still, one interesting similarity is that both countries were once colonized by France.
- Solomon Islands is another country in the South Pacific that is very similar to Papua New Guinea, but it is more democratic and has a higher standard of living on average. Although most of the land in both Lebanon and the Solomon Islands is near the coast, the Solomon Islands is much more densely forested and also more sparsely populated.
- Democratic Republic of Congo is the least similar country to Lebanon in Africa. It is densely forested and gets far more rainfall. It is also nearly landlocked. Furthermore, its government is far more authoritarian. Its standard of living is far lower than Lebanon’s as well. The country is mostly Christian and there are few Muslims living there.
- Liberia, 7. Canada, 8. Mozambique, 9. Laos, 10. North Korea
Lebanon is like if Tunisia was more like Albania
According to the Index, Tunisia is the most similar country to Lebanon. However, they do have some significant differences. The data indicates that Albania is one country that is significantly more like Lebanon than it is like Tunisia. Albania and Lebanon have a higher percentage of Christians than Tunisia. The standard rail gauge is more widely used in these countries than in Tunisia. Furthermore, Lebanon and Albania are on the Eurasian landmass, although they all border the Mediterranean Sea. Their climates are also not nearly as dry as Tunisia’s.