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 Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone is a country in Tropical Africa region. The top five countries most similar to it all border the Atlantic Ocean. They also belong to the Economic Community of West African States. Four of the five countries have English as one of their official languages. Furthermore, most of their people natively speak Niger-Congo languages and use the Latin alphabet. In addition, they all use the presidential system as their form of government.
- Liberia is located just to the south of Sierra Leone. It is another country founded to resettle freed African slaves. The official language is English in both countries as well. Their geography is extremely similar. Both are mostly tropical rainforest and their main crop is rice. However, Liberia was founded by Americans, not the British. The biggest difference is that Liberia’s population is mostly Christian. They also use different electrical outlets.
- Nigeria is another former British colony with a large Muslim population in West Africa. Their laws are comparable. Both countries do not allow polygamy and criminalize same sex relationships. They also only allow abortion if the mother’s life is in danger. However, there are also some significant differences between these countries. Nigeria gets less rainfall and is less densely forested than Sierra Leone. While the people in both countries eat a lot of cassava, Nigerians tend to produce and consume far less rice.
- Ghana is similar to Nigeria, but it has a higher percentage of Christians. Both governments use the presidential system and have unicameral legislatures with two major parties. Both countries use 3′ 6″ gauge railroad tracks and use Type G electrical outlets. They also have a similar level of development.
- Gambia was governed by Sierra Leone for several decades in the 19th Century as part of British colonization. Both countries are mostly Muslim, although Gambia has a lower percentage of Christians. Both countries also have quite a low standard of living. One big difference is that Gambia’s climate is much drier and it is also more densely populated. Furthermore, its laws are slightly different. It allows polygamy and does not allow any form of prostitution. It also has stricter rules against gambling.
- Guinea is the most similar country to Sierra Leone that does not have English as its official language, since it was once a French colony. It borders Sierra Leone to its north. It is another predominately Muslim country in West Africa. Both countries grow a lot of rice. Their diets are also extremely similar, since both countries eat a lot of rice and cassava.
- Tanzania, 7. Ivory Coast, 8. Guinea-Bissau, 9. Malawi, 10. Benin
Top 10 Countries Least Similar to Sierra Leone
The least similar countries to Sierra Leone all have a considerably higher standard of living. They are also much less religious and have a far lower percentage of Muslims. All of their climates are far colder than Sierra Leone’s as well. With the exception of Japan, four of these five countries have a significant amount of land in Europe.
- Japan is by far the least similar country to Sierra Leone. Its demographics and culture are especially different. Its language and writing system are completely unrelated than those used in Sierra Leone. Its people are also less religious. Not only is their infrastructure much more developed, but they also drive on the left, use Type G electrical outlets, and also use different TV broadcast standard than Sierra Leone. Still, one similarity is that they both tend to farm and eat a lot of rice.
- Finland is another highly developed country on this list. The country is much colder than Sierra Leone and it has many freshwater lakes. Its government has much more liberal laws than Sierra Leone. Finland uses a parliamentary system of government and is more democratic. According to the Lewis Model, Finnish people are also far less outgoing than people from Sierra Leone.
- Iceland is yet another Northern European country on this list. Although both Iceland and Sierra Leone both border the Atlantic Ocean, they have little else in common. Its landscape is sparsely vegetated, due in part to its cold climate. The country is also mostly Protestant but also far less religious than Sierra Leone.
- Germany also borders the Atlantic Ocean. There is a mix of Protestants and Catholics in the country, although it is not especially religious. Its government provides far more entitlements for its citizens than Sierra Leone, since it has free healthcare, tuition free college, and unemployment benefits.
- Russia is another country with an extremely cold climate on this list. Its people are mostly Orthodox Christian. Another difference is that it uses the Cyrillic alphabet, unlike Sierra Leone. While both countries have a lot of forested land, the forests in Russia are mostly coniferous. Its government is also more authoritarian and less democratic than Sierra Leone.
- Switzerland, 7. Norway, 8. Netherlands, 9. Luxembourg, 10. Austria
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Sierra Leone is like if Liberia was more like Guinea
Liberia is the most similar country to Sierra Leone, according to the Index. However, they do have some significant differences. Guinea is one country that has more traits in common with Sierra Leone than it has with Liberia. Both countries are mostly Muslim, unlike Liberia. Sierra Leone is located in between Guinea and Liberia.
Full Ranking of Countries and Territories Most Similar to Sierra Leone
All data accurate as of 2020.
Most Similar Demographics: Guinea
Most Similar Culture: Liberia
Most Similar Government: Ghana
Most Similar Infrastructure: Mali
Most Similar Geography: Guinea
Least Similar Demographics: Japan
Least Similar Culture: Japan
Least Similar Government: North Korea
Least Similar Infrastructure: United States
Least Similar Geography: Mongolia