Countries That Don’t Use the Metric System

by Joey deVilla on August 13, 2008

Of all the countries in the world, only three backwaters still use the archaic Imperial system of weights and measures:
Map highlighting countries that don't use the metric system

I say we let them get some decent governments first, then worry about getting them on the metric system.

Remember, folks: this was posted back in 2008, when George W. Bush was president. I lived in Canada, and the time, and that the “let them get some decent governments first” line was a poke at “Dubya”.

Also worth reading

king henry's foot

Be sure to check out this follow-up article: More on America and the metric system.

{ 115 comments… read them below or add one }

Karl Slingo February 4, 2015 at 5:14 am

To all those ignorant Americans:
If you add the population of those countries in the world that still use the very backwards imperial system (USA, Myanmar, Liberia) it totals around 5% of the worlds population. So your are well in the minority. Come on people… embrace the future and get with program. Even us Brits (who invented the imperial system) let it go in the 70’s. Although we still use some imperial units in day to day life like ‘home many miles to Manchester?’, ‘can I have a pint of beer’ etc. All official measurements are SI units… like the rest of the world! So my litre is the same as a litre in Japan, and not a US gallon is different to a gallon anywhere else in the world. Well done USA at being utterly insular, and not even realising it. I applaud your ignorance.

K Bounds February 8, 2015 at 2:09 pm

To: Karl
From: Ignorant American
There have been many things that the United States has decided to do differently than the U.K. To begin with, there was the whole taxation matter that caused the separation of our tiny colonies from, what was at the time, a world super power. Since then, we have prided ourselves on being friendly with, but different from the U.K. I completely understand that we are a minority compared to the world’s population but we managed to secure our liberty with only 3% of our population. With that said, I’m beginning to see a trend with our being different. So as I do respect your opinion, because our constitution allows that freedom here, I feel as if your comment was utterly unnecessary. The Metric system is a very useful measurement system but we will continue to respectfully be different. If you’re in a profession that requires you to deal with the conversion of these measurements on a daily basis, I would suggest seeking employment elsewhere. One thing I find interesting about your comment is that you mentioned the use of imperial measurements in daily speech. If you are so upset about our use of a dated system, why are you not with the times and using the correct units? You have had decades to adjust to the change, get with the times. In the mean time there is no reason to get so worked up about something you cannot control. With that said, I am going to go relax by shooting one of my many personally owned guns, after driving to the range on the right side of the road. Good day sir.

Kiel February 15, 2015 at 11:07 pm

Dear Karl,

I hate to inform you, well I really don’t, the imperial system is a standard system across the world. A gallon in the US would be the same amount of liquid as a gallon in Japan if they used it. The benefit of the metric system is that it is neatly divisible; 10 units of a smaller unit make 1 of the next larger unit.

Frank February 17, 2015 at 12:01 am


Sadly you have confirmed another point of Karl. IGNORANCE

there are many different gallons, even with in US there are two, “gallon” and “dry gallon”!!!!

he gallon is a measure of liquid capacity in both the US customary units and the British imperial systems of measurement. Three significantly different sizes are in current use: the imperial gallon (≈ 4.546 L), which is used in the United Kingdom, Canada, and some Caribbean countries; the US gallon (≈ 3.79 L), which is used in the US and some Latin American and Caribbean countries; and the least-used US dry gallon (≈ 4.40 L).

Zach February 19, 2015 at 10:07 pm

USA! USA! USA! USA!USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! We have the best system in the world all the rest can take a meter stick and stick it up there asses. Your mom was so impressed with the inches of my dick that she started to drip US gallons of cum. By the way, your mother is so fat that she weighs around 300 pounds (WHICH IS NOT CURRENCY YOU JADED CUNT) so I ran away at 20 miles per hour.

Vicky February 20, 2015 at 12:40 pm

I just can’t help but comment on the irony that encompasses Karl Slingo’s post on February 4th. I find it laughable that in a post where you are chastising others for being “ignorant” your own grammar is comparable to that of a small child (the your vs you’re error- really?).

Just sayin’

Zach February 20, 2015 at 2:45 pm

USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! I walked over to the gas station at a speed of 3 miles per hour. Then I

Reno Morrow February 25, 2015 at 1:50 pm

I truly hate being in the United States. The people here are the most racial amd ignorant of all the people in the world. They use so-called laws to institute their racial hatred and then get mad when people talk about it. Of course the U.S.A.ddoesn’t want to modernize like the rest of the world they want to stay backwater idiots who purposely do things different just to show the world beong backwater idiots is cool, but its not. Like this thing says forst we should try and get a decent govt then we should worry about the metric system Lol. It’s a known fact that a party of out right racists can vie for the highest office of this country and no one even cares. The U.S.A. is garbage and that is coming from a hard working American whimo has work harder than this his white counterparts because racial privilege still exists in a country that prides itself on freedom. A country where if you want to be a serial killer,rapist or child molseter all you have to do is become a police officer. Good old U.S. of A. Smh

David J. Sandmeyer March 2, 2015 at 10:04 am

As just one small business owner of a precision machining company, it would cost me well into 6 figures (or possibly even 7 figures) to “just” convert to the metric system. It begins with converting blueprints from inch to millimeter. Blueprints are legal documents and it is not a single step of changing the units – it is a time consuming process of checks and double-checks. We have thousands of blueprints. After that each product must go through a verification process that it still functions properly when produced to the new blueprint.

And we are just now getting to other documents and measurement instruments that must be purchased for measuring the parts to the metric system. A single gauge may cost $10k or more.

Now take my one shop and apply those costs to the entire U.S. economy. Do you really think metrification is simple and wouldn’t devastate an already fragile system? All of this to simply have everyone speak a universal language of measurements. I’ll agree to do it when everyone across the world only agrees to speak English.

Neil E. Roberts March 5, 2015 at 5:26 pm

The US does use the metric system. The inch, mile, ounce, pound, and so on have for quite some time been defined based on metric measurements! Go look it up!!!

The US just uses different metric units (inch, mile, ounce, pound, etc.) than those used by most other countries (meter, kilogram, etc.).

Anonymous March 8, 2015 at 6:17 am

As an American forced into subjugation by an antiquated system of weights & measures, I must say I shake my head sadly in shame. First, to the machine shop owner: sorry, it costs money to do business in the world market. The government should compensate for reasonable costs associated with being part of the global economy. Second, “we will continue to respectfully be different” means we’re arrogant bastards too stupid to adjust to: a) a more efficient, intuitive method of weighing and measuring, and b) the stubborn American child who throws a tantrum, “me, me, me…I am right!” 3 countries put of 190- some odd countries don’t use the metric system. Americans are just too stupid to adjust. The rest of the world should get hip.

John Steele March 14, 2015 at 4:50 pm

Zach said, “We have the best system in the world all the rest can take a meter stick and stick it”

Actually, Zach, the “system” we have is the leftovers of the pre-Imperial British system. It was so bad even the British improved it in 1824. Our gallon and bushel were defined by British Parliament around 1700. Does that make you a proud American?

We chose to sign the Treaty of the Meter in 1875, but people like you continue to want to be British and use the leftovers of our former king. Not me. We have been part of the development and improvements of the the International System since 1875. Lets use it, not our former master’s leftovers.

Deje March 17, 2015 at 1:00 pm

You are all fighting about a system of fucking measurement. Get over yourselves you primordial insects. No system of measurement can measure how fucking childish you all are.
Xoxo – USA, high school junior

Thomas March 24, 2015 at 5:11 pm

We’ll switch to metric when you switch to driving on the right side of the road.

John April 1, 2015 at 9:29 pm

Oh my gosh, can any country ever get along? All I see here is arguing maybe you should stop calling me ignorant, and say that EVERY country has ignorant people. Not all of us are ignorant if you think that, then you are ignorant. America has also helped many countries, and you may have not been here if we didn’t exist. I’m not saying America didn’t get help either, but we did help a lot in ww1 and ww2.

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