The Most Similar Countries to Zambia

zambia similar countries map

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.

zambia similar countries diagram

Top 10 Countries Most Similar to Zambia

Zambia is a country in Southern Africa region. Many nations in the region are similar to it. The top five countries most similar to Zambia 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. The top five also have a majority Christian population. In addition, their landscapes are similar since they are mostly tropical savanna land.

  1. Zimbabwe is to the south of Zambia. 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.
  2. 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. Another difference is that Malawi is more densely populated. Still, their major ethnic group, the Chewa are related to the largest ethnic group in Zambia, the Bemba. Furthermore, both countries rely on hydropower to create electricity.
  3. Uganda is yet another landlocked former British colony in the Great Lakes region of Africa. While both countries have a high average elevation, they also are not especially mountainous. The countries have relatively similar standard of living and level of development as well. However, like Malawi, a much higher percentage of its territory is covered in freshwater and it is more densely populated.
  4. Tanzania is located to the northeast of Zambia. The countries have long been allies. They are mostly savanna land and are great destinations for safaris. However, Tanzania has a significantly higher percentage of Muslims. It also creates a majority of its electricity from fossil fuels, unlike Zambia, which relies on hydropower. Still, the infrastructure in both countries is not well developed.
  5. Kenya is located even further to the north of Tanzania. Kenya and Zambia have relatively similar governments, since they are both democratic and have president elected by popular vote. Their laws are also fairly similar. Although both countries drive on the left and use the same electrical outlets, Kenya uses a different railroad gauge. Another difference is that Kenya has a drier climate.
  6. Ghana, 7. Mozambique, 8. Eswatini, 9. Lesotho, 10. Botswana

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Top 10 Countries Least Similar to Zambia

All five of the least similar countries to Zambia are located in Asia, although three are located in East Asia, while the other two are in the Middle East. They all have a much higher standard of living than Zambia. Four of the five countries are much more densely populated than Zambia as well. Furthermore, the least similar countries all have significantly more coastline.

  1. Japan is by far the least similar country to Zambia. 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. 
  2. South Korea is another highly developed country located in East Asia, similar to Japan. 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.
  3. Bahrain is the least similar country to Zambia in the Middle East. The country is mostly Muslim and its official language is Arabic. It is a densely populated island that has a lot of skyscrapers, in contrast to landlocked and sparsely populated Zambia. However, one similarity is that Bahrain was also once controlled by Great Britain, the use of English is widespread in both countries and they both use Type G electrical outlets.
  4. Taiwan is an island in the Pacific Ocean. It is predominately inhabited by people with Chinese ethnicity. According to the Lewis Model, the people in this country tend to be far less extroverted than Zambians. They also drive on the right and use Type A, B electrical outlets, unlike Zambia. However, one aspect they do share is that both countries have hot and humid climates.
  5. Saudi Arabia is similar to Bahrain, except that it is less densely populated and its government is more conservative. It is a predominately Muslim country that is not democratic and has an absolute monarch as their leader. Saudi Arabia’s landscape is quite barren and has little vegetation in contrast to Zambia. The country creates most of its electricity using oil and natural gas, while Zambia primarily uses hydropower.
  6. Israel, 7. Netherlands, 8. QatarIceland, 9. Kuwait, 10. United Arab Emirates

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Zambia is like if Zimbabwe was more like Malawi

The most similar country to Zambia is easily Zimbabwe, according to the Index. However, the data shows that Malawi is one country that has far more in common with Zambia than Zimbabwe. Unlike Zimbabwe, these countries tend to be more democratic. Their climates also get more rainfall. They also rely on hydropower to create electricity, while Zimbabwe relies on fossil fuels.

Full Ranking of Countries and Territories Most Similar to Zambia

All data accurate as of 2020.

zambia similar countries graph

Country Superlatives

Most Similar Demographics: Malawi
Most Similar Culture: Zimbabwe
Most Similar Government: Sierra Leone
Most Similar Infrastructure: Lesotho
Most Similar Geography: Zimbabwe

Least Similar Demographics: Japan
Least Similar Culture: Japan
Least Similar Government: North Korea
Least Similar Infrastructure: United States
Least Similar Geography: Bahrain

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