Map #84: April 2, 2018

Difficulty Level: 7

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

This map is a choropleth of the districts of South Africa. (Do you need a refresher on what a choropleth is? Visit our “Basics” page for a quick primer.) On this map, each district is shaded in accordance with a particular statistic. Darker shades of red indicate districts with more of the statistic in question. As always, your job is to figure out what this choropleth represents.

Stumped? Check back Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday for hints about where to focus your investigation. The answer will be posted on Monday, April 9, 2018. Good luck!

Tuesday’s hint: This map reflects current trends (well, current-ish: the data are from 2011), but in order to understand it you might want to explore the history of South Africa dating back several centuries. As you do, pay close attention to the geography: where specifically in South Africa did what you’re reading about happen?

Wednesday’s hint: Yesterday’s hint encouraged you to pay attention to South Africa’s history. If you did so, one of the facts you may have come across is that the western part of the country, corresponding to the darkest areas on this map, was colonized by the Dutch. What legacy does this history have today?

Thursday’s hint: If this map were extended to include more countries, no other country in the world would have nearly as much color as South Africa. Namibia would have some, mainly in the southern part near the border with South Africa. But that would be all (at least at this scale). If we extended the scale to show far smaller concentrations, Australia might have a few patches here and there—thanks almost entirely to immigrants who have moved there from South Africa since 1994. The thing that is being mapped, in other words, is a distinctly South African phenomenon.

Friday’s hint: This choropleth maps the percentages of residents of each South African district who speak a particular language. Which language?

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.