Map #1: August 15, 2016

Difficulty Level: 4

Click here for a full-size version of this week’s map.

This map is a choropleth of the countries of the world. (Do you need a refresher on what a choropleth is? Visit our “Basics” page for a quick primer.) On this map, darker blue colors indicate that a country has more of a particular statistic. Your job for this week: figure out what statistic is represented by this choropleth.

Stumped? Check back Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday for hints about where to focus your investigation. The answer will be posted on Monday, August 22. Good luck!

Tuesday’s hint:Your first hint is to identify a few countries that stick out on this map. Here are a few questions for you to explore. First, why is Yemen darker than Oman? What is different about those two countries? Second, why is El Salvador darker than the other countries of Central America? Is there anything unique about El Salvador as compared with its neighbors? Finally, why are Rwanda and Burundi so much darker than their neighbors? If you look up these countries online or in a book, you may learn some facts about the landscapes and economies of these countries that will point you in the right direction.

Wednesday’s hint: The first hint pointed out some specific areas for you to investigate. Today’s hint, by contrast, takes a much broader view. In general, you have probably noticed that the darkest areas on this map are in East Asia, South Asia, and Western Europe. What do those three areas have in common? What makes those regions unique?

Thursday’s hint: Yesterday’s hint encouraged you to look generally at areas on the map that are especially dark blue. Today, we want to focus on one particular country that is very dark: Bangladesh. What do you know about Bangladesh? You might consider looking it up on the internet or in a book. What do people do for a living there? What challenges does the country face? Learning more about Bangladesh should help you piece together an answer to this question.

Friday’s hint: So far, we have talked mainly about the dark areas on this map. Today, however, you should consider the lightest areas. Let’s look in particular at Libya, Chad, Mauritania, Botswana, Namibia, Mongolia, and Australia. If you look these countries up online or in a book, you will discover that they are all home to some of the world’s largest deserts: the Sahara, the Kalahari, the Namib, the Gobi, and the various deserts of the Australian Outback. Think for a minute about how people can live in the desert. Do deserts support much human settlement? Are there big cities in a desert?

Answer: Click here to see an explanation of the answer to this week’s map question.

Next map: Click here to try out our newest map question.