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.
Mauritania is a Sub-Saharan African country located in the Sahel, however it also has a lot of similarity to many Middle Eastern countries. The majority of the people in the five most similar countries to Mauritania natively speak Afro-Asiatic languages. Furthermore, all five have Arabic as one of their official languages. They are also mostly Muslim and are located in desert climates. Their people also tend to have a mix of Sub-Saharan African and Caucasian ancestry, to varying degrees.
Top 10 Places Most Similar to Mauritania
- Sudan is another Arabic-speaking and predominately Sunni Muslim country. Both of their people have a significant mix of Sub-Saharan African and Middle Eastern ancestry. Both countries are in the Sahara Desert, although Mauritania borders the Atlantic Ocean, not the Red Sea. In addition, their governments both have had several military coups. Mauritania and Sudan establish Islam as their state religion and also practice Sharia law.
- Algeria is to the northeast of Mauritania. Both countries were once colonized by France, but no longer have French as one of their official languages. In addition, their dialects of Arabic are mutually intelligible. Both countries have large swathes of unpopulated land in the Sahara Desert. They also have semi-presidential forms of government, but Algeria is more democratic. Another difference is that Algeria has a higher standard of living than Mauritania.
- Egypt is another country where most of the land is covered by the Sahara Desert. Both countries have a semi-presidential government and unicameral legislatures. In addition, these countries had several military coups in recent years and their elections are often rigged. Another similarity is that both countries primarily use natural gas to create electricity. However, like Algeria, Egypt has a higher standard of living than Mauritania.
- Yemen is the most similar country in Asia to Mauritania. It is far less wealthy than the other countries on the Arabian Peninsula. The predominate crop in both countries is sorghum and their climates are both arid. Still, Yemen is much more mountainous than Mauritania. Furthermore, since it was not a French colony, it does not use Type C electrical outlets. Yemen also has far more guns per capita.
- Djibouti is another former French colony, but it is located on the Red Sea, not the Atlantic Ocean. However, it is the only country in the top five where people do not natively speak a dialect of Arabic, although it is one of its official languages. While many of their laws are similar, Djibouti is less conservative, since it does allow alcohol and gambling. Djibouti is also more more densely populated than Mauritania.
- Chad, 7. Morocco, 8. Niger, 9. Libya, 10. Mali
The five least similar countries are all border the Pacific Ocean. Their climates are colder and they tend to get more rainfall. Furthermore these countries are all much wealthier than Mauritania. Two groups of countries are especially different: countries with predominately English-speaking populations and also East Asian countries. With the exception of Canada, these countries are also more densely populated.
Top 10 Places Least Similar to Mauritania
- Japan has extremely little in common with Mauritania. Its geography is especially different from it. It is a mountainous archipelago in the Pacific Ocean that has a colder climate and far more rainfall. In addition, Japan has different infrastructure, since they drive on the left and have a completely different electrical system, using 100 volt Type A,B outlets. While Mauritania uses the standard railroad gauge, Japan generally uses 3’6″ gauge railroad tracks.
- New Zealand is another mountainous, temperate archipelago in the Pacific Ocean, in contrast to Mauritania’s relatively flat desert landscape. Like Japan, it is much wealthier and more developed than Mauritania. It is also far more democratic and has a much higher degree of rule of law. Its laws are also much less conservative. The country allows same sex marriage, prostitution, abortion, and alcohol.
- Taiwan, like Japan, is a densely populated island in the Pacific Ocean. In addition, Taiwan’s demographics are vastly different from Mauritania since their population is much older and its birth rate is quite low. In addition, Taiwan is one of the most liberal East Asia countries. Like New Zealand, its government legalized same sex marriage. However, both countries do not allow gambling.
- Canada is one of the coldest countries in the world. A high percentage of its land is forested, unlike Mauritania’s more barren landscape. The country also has many freshwater lakes and a lot of coastline, unlike Mauritania. The countries also share little cultural similarity as well, although many people in both countries can speak French. Both countries are sparsely populated as well.
- South Korea is yet another East Asian country located in a temperate climate on this list. It is one of the most well educated countries in the world and has the highest percentage of college graduates. There is very little it has in common with Mauritania, although there are some similarities in infrastructure, since both use Type C electrical outlets, drive on the right, and use the standard railroad gauge. Still, South Korea is far more developed than Mauritania.
- United Kingdom, 7. Ireland, 8. Switzerland 9. Norway, 10. Netherlands
Mauritania is like if Sudan was more like Algeria
While Sudan is the most similar country to Mauritania according to the Index, there are a few significant differences between the two countries. Algeria is one country that has much more in common with Mauritania than it does with Sudan. Both countries were colonized by France. The dialects of Arabic spoken in these countries are quite similar unlike the Arabic spoken in Sudan. Furthermore, Algeria borders Mauritania, while Sudan does not.
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