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 Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe is a country in Southern Africa. The top five countries most similar to it are all located in the eastern portion of Africa and have English as one of their official languages, since they were all once colonies of Britain. Most of their people natively speak Bantu languages. Most people in the top five countries are Christian as well. In addition, their landscapes are similar since they are mostly tropical savannas.
- Zambia is to the north of Zimbabwe. They were both colonized by Great Britain and once known collectively as Rhodesia. Both countries are landlocked and most of their water drains into the Indian Ocean via the Zambezi River. They are predominately Protestant, but also have a small percentage of Catholics. A huge part of the diet in both countries relies on corn and most of their agricultural land is devoted to growing it. They also have a similar standard of living.
- Eswatini and Zimbabwe both have a significant number of Nguni people. Both countries are not very democratic. Zimbabwe was ruled by dictators for a long period, while Eswatini is ruled by a monarch with extensive power over the government. Both countries criminalize same sex relations and also do not allow polygamy. Their geography is also similar since they are landlocked and their farmlands tend to grow a lot of corn.
- Malawi, like Zambia and Zimbabwe, was once part of Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, before gaining independence from Great Britain. It is another landlocked country, but it has far more freshwater, since it is located on Lake Malawi. Both countries do not allow polygamy or the sale of pornography. One difference is that Zimbabwe’s government is more volatile and less democratic. Malawi is also more densely populated.
- Tanzania and Zimbabwe have relatively the same climate and standard of living. However, Tanzania has a significantly higher percentage of Muslims. Despite this, both countries tend to drink a lot of liqueurs. Their governments are also similar. Their rulers have both been dominated by a socialist political party since independence. Their leaders have tended to have authoritarian traits.
- Kenya is located even further to the north of Tanzania. Kenya and Zimbabwe both have a mix of shrub land, forested land, and agricultural land. Both countries are mostly Protestant. Although both countries drive on the left and use the same electrical outlets, Kenyan uses a different railroad gauge. There are a few differences in their laws. Prostitution and polygamy are legal in Kenya, in contrast to Zimbabwe.
- Botswana, 7. Uganda, 8. Lesotho, 9. Mozambique, 10. Ghana
Top 10 Countries Least Similar to Zimbabwe
The least similar countries to Zimbabwe all have a much higher standard of living. The four least similar countries are also significantly less religious than Zimbabwe. Four of the five are located in Asia. Furthermore, the least similar countries all have much more coastline than landlocked Zimbabwe. Four of the five drive on the right side of the road.
- Japan is by far the least similar country to Zimbabwe. It is a mountainous archipelago in contrast to Zimbabwe. Not only is its geography significantly different, but also its demographics and culture. There isn’t much in common between the two, except that they both drive on the left and use 3’6″ gauge railroad tracks. Still, its infrastructure is vastly less developed than Japan.
- Taiwan is yet another country located on an island on this list. Like Japan, its demographics and culture are quite different from Zimbabwe. However, Zimbabwe’s climate is more similar to Taiwan than Japan, since it is in the subtropical zone. Its government is also more liberal than Zimbabwe, since it allows prostitution and same sex marriage.
- Iceland is an island in Atlantic Ocean with a much colder climate than Zimbabwe. Although both countries are mostly Protestant, Iceland is far less religious. The official language in both countries uses the Latin script, although Icelandic does have a few extra unique letters in its language. Their governments are far different as well. Iceland is far more democratic and its laws are quite different. In contrast to Zimbabwe, it does not allow gambling, but it does allow same sex marriage. It also uses the parliamentary system of government.
- South Korea is another highly developed country with most of its land close to the coast, like Japan and Iceland. However, South Korea does have a significant Christian population. Still, Zimbabwe has little else in common with it. The country’s infrastructure is far different. Not only is it more developed, but it also drives on the right, uses Type C, F electrical outlets, and the standard railroad gauge. Furthermore, South Korea’s agriculture is almost entirely based on rice, not corn.
- Saudi Arabia is a predominately Muslim country in Asia. Although both countries have a fairly dry climate, Saudi Arabia’s landscape is quite barren and has little vegetation. The country creates most of its electricity using oil and natural gas, while Zimbabwe primarily uses hydropower and coal. Its government is also an absolute monarchy and has more conservative laws than Zimbabwe.
- Bahrain, 7. Qatar, 8. United Arab Emirates, 9. Kuwait, 10. Netherlands
Zimbabwe is like if Zambia was more like Eswatini
Zambia is by far the most similar country to Zimbabwe, according to the Index. However, Eswatini is one country that has many traits of Zimbabwe that Zambia lacks. Both countries have many people from the Nguni ethnic group. Their governments are also less democratic than Zimbabwe. They also have a slightly drier climate.