World Facts

Which Countries Don't Use the Metric System?

Only three countries in the world do not use the metric system.

The United States, Liberia, and Myanmar are the only countries in the world that have not fully implemented the metric measurement system. Unlike the rest of the word, these three countries use the imperial system. The imperial system was introduced by the British under the British Weights and Measurement Act. The metric system was introduced by the French government in 1789. The reason as to why these countries have not implemented the metric measurement system lies in history.

Reason for Not Using the Metric System

Before the introduction of the metric system, European countries were using different measurement systems. This created difficulties while conducting trade in various countries. To solve this problem, it was essential to adopt a universal measurement system. The idea of having a standard measurement system based on decimal was first introduced by Simon Steven. This idea was later expanded by British philosopher John Wilkins. However, the metric system was not widespread until the French Revolution that lasted between 1789 and 1799. The French uprising led to the conquering of many states and the spread of the metric measurement system. After the fall of Napoleon, the majority of European countries retained the use of the metric system. This is because a universal measurement system made business operations between different countries easier as compared to the hustle of converting units. When the European countries expanded their colonies to Africa and Asia, they imposed the metric system making its use even more widespread.

United States

Despite its wide application, the United States was reluctant to implement the metric measurement system. When the British Empire colonized the New World, it brought with it the Imperial System. After proclaiming its independence from the British Empire in 1776, the newly formed United States struggled to measure uniformly across the region. The US Congress was given the responsibility of addressing this issue, Congress proposed the use of the metric system. However, when presented with the matter in 1790, the secretary of state Thomas Jefferson denied the request and insisted on using the imperial measurement system. Although the United Kingdom adopted the metric system in 1965, similar attempts in the US have failed; for instance, the Metric Act of 1866 did not still make the metric system the official measurement unit.


Myanmar resisted the use of the metric system and preferred its traditional forms of measurement. After gaining independence in 1948 from British rule, this country decided to live in isolation. Since the country had locked itself from the outside world, it did not require any measurement system as there was no trade.


Liberia was founded by the American Colonization Society; its laws were founded based on the American Constitution. This African country was occupied by black free-born and freed slaves from the United States and the Caribbean. The country's close association with the US is the main reason that Liberia still uses the imperial measurement system.

Future of the Metric System

Although Liberia and Myanmar have not declared the metric system as the official measurement unit, it is widely used in these countries. Myanmar is now open to the outside world and is adopting the metric system. The governments of Liberia and Myanmar are in the process of making the metric system the official measurement system; this will make the US the only country in the world that has not officially adopted the metric measurement system.

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