Map #95: July 30, 2018

Difficulty Level: 8

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.) This is an interesting map that I’ve wanted to post for some time, but I have waited until the middle of the summer. To be clear: there is a reason this map is being run in July/August when school isn’t in session, and a teacher would do well to figure out the answer before deciding to share it with his or her class. The statistics used to make this map are estimates that I took from an academic study, but you can find other studies with slightly variable numbers. A few countries seem slightly off to my eye (looking at you, Sudan), but in general they mostly make sense. As always, your job is to figure out what this choropleth represents.

Stumped? Check back Wednesday, Saturday, next Wednesday, and next Friday for hints about where to focus your investigation. The answer will be posted on Monday, August 20, 2018. Good luck!

Wednesday’s hint: A lot of people focus right away on the Islamic world, which is almost completely colored in the darkest shade. (Again, I am very skeptical of the data for Sudan) For Qatar and the UAE, note that the data attempt to take into account the entire population, not just citizens. But you should also zoom in and look at smaller countries. Israel, for example, is as dark as all of its neighbors. And don’t neglect looking at the small islands of the Pacific, most of which are also extremely dark.

Saturday’s hint: The countries of southern Africa have been getting darker in the past several decades. That’s the result of a deliberate campaign backed by local and foreign NGOs in response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Wednesday’s hint: This map reflects the prevalence of a cultural practice that is common in the Islamic world as well as the Pacific and parts of sub-Saharan Africa. And this map refers only to percentages of the male population of each country.

Friday’s hint: The real giveaway may just be in the Middle East. Note that Israel, Palestine, Jordan, and Syria are completely dark, while Lebanon is slightly lighter. What you need, therefore, is to find a cultural practice that is common to Jewish and Muslim men, but not to Christians.

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.