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 Nigeria
Nigeria is a country in the Tropical Africa region. With the exception of Ivory Coast, four of the five most similar countries were once British colonies, so they have English as one of their official languages. In addition, they are all located close to the equator and have tropical climates. These countries have high poverty rates and most of their people work in agriculture. In addition, both Muslim and Christian holidays are officially celebrated in these countries.
- Ghana is another former British colony on the Gulf of Guinea. There has also been some immigration between the two countries after their independence. Both speak English, use similar electric outlets, and follow Common Law. The countries also have a similar standard of living, although Ghana is more developed. Another difference is that only about 20% of Ghana’s population is Muslim.
- Sierra Leone was also a British colony, despite its Italian sounding name. It was founded to resettle freed African slaves. Both countries are democracies that use the presidential system of government. Their laws are also quite similar, although Nigeria has less restrictions on guns. However, it has a higher percentage of Muslims than Nigeria and is also less developed. Sierra Leone also gets more rainfall, so it grows more rice than Nigeria.
- Ivory Coast is located next to Ghana on the Gulf of Guinea. Both countries have roughly equal amounts of Christians and Muslims. In addition, both have an extremely similar diet consisting of cassava, yams, and fish. However, the biggest difference is that Ivory Coast was a colony of France, so it speaks French, uses different electrical outlets, and a different railroad gauge.
- Tanzania, unlike other countries on this list, is in East Africa. It was originally a German colony, until World War I, when it became a British colony. Like Nigeria, it has a similar mix of Muslims and Christians. Furthermore, its climate is nearly identical, although Tanzania is more mountainous. Both countries use the presidential form of government, but Tanzania has a unicameral legislature.
- Gambia is a small country surrounded by Senegal. It is a predominately Muslim, English-speaking country in West Africa. Both countries are relatively flat and are most tropical savanna lands. However, their diets are quite different, since Gambians eat more millet and rice, while Nigerians eat more yams and cassava. Both countries rely on fossil fuels, but Nigeria uses more natural gas and less oil to create electricity.
- Kenya, 7. Guinea, 8. Uganda, 9. Liberia, 10. Benin
Top 10 Countries Least Similar to Nigeria
The least similar countries to Nigeria are all located much further north and have significantly colder climates. Their people also tend to be less religious and less outgoing than Nigerians. With the exception of Finland, they are also all more mountainous. The five least similar countries are also much wealthier, so their infrastructure is far more developed.
- Japan is by far the least similar country to Nigeria. Not only is its geography significantly different, but also its demographics, culture, and technology. There are only a few aspects in common between the two. They are both democracies. Furthermore, they both usually use one meter railroad track gauge. They are also densely populated, although Nigeria has far fewer skyscrapers.
- Iceland, like Nigeria, also borders the Atlantic Ocean, but they are extremely different. Iceland uses a lot of energy, created by renewable resources, while Nigeria uses little electricity and has mostly natural gas power plants. Furthermore, although Iceland is mostly Christian, a significant number are irreligious in contrast to Nigeria, which has a much higher percentage of believers.
- Norway is in the same time zone as Nigeria, however there are not many other significant similarities. Norway is highly developed, but also sparsely populated, in contrast to Nigeria’s relatively undeveloped and densely populated land. It is also much more mountainous. Their climates are also quite different.
- South Korea is another Asian country like Japan on this list. However it is more similar to Nigeria than Japan in a few different ways. It drives on the right side of the road, uses the same electrical voltage, and has a significant percentage of Christians. Still, its geography and culture are far different from Nigeria.
- Finland is another Nordic country on this list. Although both countries are relatively flat, Finland has significantly more freshwater. Even though Nigeria and Finland use the Latin alphabet, Finnish is unrelated to either English or any of Nigeria’s natively spoken languages. Its government is far more democratic than Nigeria’s and provides significantly more entitlements to its citizens.
- Taiwan, 7. Switzerland, 8. Sweden, 9. Austria, 10. Canada
Nigeria is like if Ghana was more like Niger
According to the Index, Nigeria’s most similar country is Ghana. However, the countries do have some significant differences. The data shows that Niger is one country that is significantly more like Nigeria than it is like Ghana. Niger and Nigeria have a higher percentage of Muslims than Ghana. They also both have a significant number of Hausa-speakers. Furthermore, they are less developed than Ghana and have more poverty.
All data accurate as of 2020.