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 Niger
Niger is a Sub-Saharan African country located in the Sahel region. The top five countries most similar to it were colonized by France and still have French as one of their official languages. In addition, most people in these countries are Muslim. However, the laws in these countries are less conservative than many Arab countries. With exception of Guinea, they all have hot, dry climates. These countries also have a particularly low standard of living.
- Mali is another landlocked, predominately Muslim country in Africa that is mostly desert. The countries also have similar flora and fauna. Both countries were once part of the Songhai Empire. They have very few educated people, although college is provided for free there. In fact, Niger and Mali are the two least literate countries in the world. They also have little medical infrastructure or military equipment. However, most of the people in Mali natively speak Niger-Congo languages, not Afro-Asiatic languages.
- Chad‘s geography is similar to Niger and Mali. It is located to the east of Niger. Most people of both countries speak Afro-Asiatic languages, although they are on different branches of the family. Water is scarce in both countries and they get a lot of their water from underground aquifers. Interestingly enough, Niger and Chad both have received weapons from Ukraine. One big difference is that nearly 40% of people in Chad are Christian. Another difference is that it does not use the West African CFA franc, but it does use the extremely similar East African CFA franc, since it was not part of French West Africa.
- Burkina Faso is yet another landlocked country located to the west of Niger. Both countries grow millet and sorghum, although Burkina Faso has a much higher percentage of agricultural land. However, only 60% of Burkina Faso’s citizens are Muslim. Another difference is that most people in Burkina Faso natively speak Niger-Congo languages, not Afro-Asiatic languages.
- Senegal is located on the Atlantic Coast, further to the west of Niger than Mali. Both countries are over 95% Muslim. They are also both part of ECOWAS and use the same currency, the West African Franc. Neither country is very mountainous. However, its laws are significantly different, since Senegal allows both prostitution and polygamy.
- Guinea is another former colony of France to the south of Senegal. Their laws are fairly similar. Both countries do not allow same sex marriage, polygamy, prostitution, but allow alcohol and gambling. However, Guinea gets a lot more rainfall than Niger and its landscape has far more vegetation. It also grows more rice and less millet than Niger, in part due to their much wetter climate.
- Benin, 7. Mauritania, 8. Djibouti, 9. Central African Republic, 10. Somalia
Top 10 Countries Least Similar to Niger
The four of the five least similar countries to Niger border the Pacific Ocean. In addition, four of the five are islands. They all have a high standard of living and well developed infrastructure. While Niger has the lowest average age in the world and the highest birthrate, the five least similar countries all have aging populations with many elderly people. Furthermore they all get far more rainfall and have cooler climates.
- Japan and Niger are the two least similar countries, according to the Index. Its geography is especially different, since it is a mountainous archipelago with a temperate climate and a lot of rainfall. It both more densely forested and more densely populated than Niger. Furthermore, not only is its infrastructure more developed, but it also has vastly different standards. Japan drives on the left and uses Type A, B electrical outlets, unlike Niger. There isn’t much in common between the two, except that the average height and weight of their people are similar.
- South Korea is another East Asian country with little in common with Niger, however it does have a few more things in common with Niger than Japan. Similar to Niger, most South Koreans are circumcised. South Korea also drives on the right side of the road and uses Type C electrical outlets. However, their infrastructure is much more developed than Niger.
- Taiwan‘s climate is hotter than Japan and South Korea, but its climate is still much wetter than Niger. The diet of Taiwanese people is also especially different from Niger, since they eat more fruits, meat, and rice. The mountainous island has little in common with it, other than being located at a similar latitude.
- New Zealand is another mountainous, archipelago in the Pacific Ocean, in contrast to Niger’s relatively flat and landlocked desert landscape. Like Japan and South Korea, it is much wealthier and more developed. Its government is also far different, since New Zealand is more democratic and its laws are more liberal. However, both countries do use the Latin alphabet and their people follow Abrahamic religions.
- United Kingdom is another English-speaking, island-based country on this list. Its climate tends to be much colder than Niger’s. It has parliamentary government, with a bicameral legislature, unlike Niger’s. However, both countries are relatively flat and their time difference is only one hour, since they are at a similar longitude.
- Singapore, 7. Canada, 8. United States, 9. Norway, 10. Netherlands
Niger is like if Mali was more like Chad
Mali and Chad are the two most similar countries to Niger, according to the Index. They border it on opposite sides, so it is no wonder that Niger has a mix of traits from both countries. Chad and Niger have a far higher percentage of Afro-Asiatic language speakers than Mali. Both countries create most of their electricity from fossil fuels, unlike Mali, which primarily uses hydropower. Furthermore, fewer people have access to safely managed sanitation facilities in Niger and Chad.
All data accurate as of 2020.