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 Lesotho
Lesotho is a country in the Southern Africa region. The five most similar countries to it were once colonized by Great Britain, so they all have English as one of their official languages. In addition all of these countries have a majority Protestant population. Their people also natively speak Bantu languages. They also have similar infrastructure, since the top five all drive on the left and use 3′-6″ gauge railroad tracks. Another similarity is that they all are landlocked.
- Eswatini 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 is significantly more democratic than Eswatini.
- Zimbabwe is another landlocked country that borders South Africa. The diets of both countries are quite alike. Both countries tend to grow and eat a lot of corn. In addition, the countries have a similar standard of living. Both countries have bicameral legislatures, but Zimbabwe uses the presidential system and is not nearly as democratic as Lesotho. Another difference is Zimbabwe’s divorce rate is much higher than Lesotho.
- Zambia is similar to Zimbabwe, but further to the north. It is yet another landlocked former British colony on this list. The people in both countries enjoy soccer and boxing. One difference is that Zambia has fewer Catholics. Its climate is also much hotter than Lesotho. Furthermore, while both countries eat a lot of corn, Zambians eat more cassava and less potatoes. While both countries are democracies, Zambia uses the presidential system of government.
- Botswana is another landlocked country that borders South Africa. The native languages of Lesotho and Botswana, Sesotho and Setswana, are closely related, and English is an official language of both countries. One big difference is that Lesotho has a more temperate climate, due to its high average elevation. It is also wetter and more mountainous. Furthermore, Botswana is wealthier due to the diamond industry.
- Malawi is a mountainous country located next to Zambia. Both countries have high rates of poverty and their infrastructure is not well developed. Their laws are also fairly similar, although Malawi does not allow the sale of pornography. They both rely on hydropower to create electricity. However, a greater percentage of Malawi’s land area is freshwater lakes.
- Namibia, 7. Kenya, 8. Uganda, 9. Tanzania, 10. South Africa
Top 10 Countries Least Similar to Lesotho
The five least similar countries to Lesotho are all far more developed and have a higher standard of living. The three are located in East Asia. They are especially different because they do not use the Latin alphabet, do not traditionally follow Abrahamic religions, and are also much less religious. Wealthy countries on the Arabian Peninsula are also far different from Lesotho.
- Taiwan is an island in the Pacific Ocean. Its infrastructure is much more developed than Lesotho. In addition, its laws are a lot different. Taiwan allows same sex marriage and abortion, but does not allow gambling. The countries also have extremely dissimilar demographics and culture as well. Taiwan’s climate is also hotter than the more temperate climate of Lesotho.
- Bahrain is a small densely populated, low-lying, desert island located in the Persian Gulf. In contrast to landlocked Lesotho, most of its people is within a 15-minute drive from the beach. It is mostly Muslim and its official language is Arabic. The country also relies on natural gas to create electricity, unlike Lesotho. Its people also use far more energy.
- South Korea, like Taiwan is another densely populated East Asian country. Its infrastructure is extremely dissimilar from Lesotho, 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. Still, Lesotho’s language and writing are completely different from Korean.
- Japan is an extremely densely populated island, in contrast to landlocked Lesotho. 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, Japan does share some similar infrastructure, since both countries drive on the left and use 3’6″ gauge railroad tracks. Still, Lesotho has a different electrical outlets and also a higher voltage than Japan.
- United Arab Emirates, like Bahrain, is another wealthy Arab country that borders the Persian Gulf on this list. The country is also one of the wealthiest in the world. Due to a vast amount of migrant construction workers in the country, it has far more men than women as well. Furthermore, while Lesotho does not have any skyscrapers, Dubai has the world’s tallest, Burj Khalifa.
- Kuwait, 7. Saudi Arabia, 8. Qatar, 9. Singapore, 10. Israel
Lesotho is like if Eswatini was more like Guinea
Eswatini is by far the most similar country to Lesotho. According to the data, Guinea is one of the few countries that is more like Lesotho than Eswatini. Abortion is severely restricted in Lesotho and Guinea, unlike in Eswatini. They also have less developed infrastructure than Eswatini. Furthermore, they have a far lower percentage of people in jail. Although Lesotho is landlocked, most of its rainfall eventually flows into the Atlantic Ocean.
All data accurate as of 2020.