Map #111: February 18, 2019

Difficulty Level: 3

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

This map is a choropleth of the countries of Asia. (Do you need a refresher on what a choropleth is? Visit our “Basics” page for a quick primer.) This map has a lot of contrast between the dark areas and the light areas. It’s the few countries in between that have the least reliable statistics for this map. In particular, you could argue that Russia ought to be a little bit lighter. As always, your job is to figure out what this choropleth represents.

Ready to submit your solution? Click here to be taken to the submission page.

Stumped? Because today is President’s Day and many schools are off for the holiday, we won’t post the first hint until Wednesday. So check back Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday for hints about where to focus your investigation. The answer will be posted on Monday, February 25. Good luck!

Wednesday’s hint: The most common incorrect answer so far comes from people who haven’t paid enough attention to the fact that Russia is so dark. And note that Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, which are light but nevertheless visibly shaded, have the colors they do because of the sizable Russian minorities in those countries.

Thursday’s hint: The key to this map may be the small countries. Did you notice East Timor? Or Armenia? What does East Timor not have in common with Indonesia? What does Armenia not have in common with Azerbaijan?

Friday’s hint: Two of the four darkest countries are the Philippines, which was colonized by the Spanish, and East Timor, which was colonized by the Portuguese. What legacies from these colonial experiences have endured in these countries until today?

Saturday’s hint: Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and many other countries on this map are all the lightest shade because more than 90% of the people who live in those countries are Muslim.