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The Moral Subjectivity of the World, Mapped

Around the world, no issue is considered more universally immoral than an extramarital affair, according to research published on Tuesday by Pew Research — but even that varies widely by country, as The Wire's maps show.

Around the world, no issue is considered more universally immoral than an extramarital affair, according to research published on Tuesday by Pew Research — but even that varies widely by country, as The Wire's maps show.

Each year, Pew surveys people around the world on a number of topics. Those surveys inform the new report, "Global Views on Morality," which looks at eight morally divisive issues: Extramarital affairs, gambling, homosexuality, abortion, premarital sex, alcohol use, divorce, and contraception. And that's the order in which the world sees them as morally questionable. Extramarital affairs are considered unacceptable by 78 percent of the world. On the far end is contraception, with which only 14 percent of the world takes issue.

Pew also broke the data down by country, allowing us to make the maps below. The darker the color, the higher the percentage of people who find something morally unacceptable. 

SHOW: Extramarital affairs | Gambling | Homosexuality | Abortion | Premarital sex | Alcohol use | Divorce | Contraception

Extramarital affairs

SHOW: Extramarital affairs | Gambling | Homosexuality | Abortion | Premarital sex | Alcohol use | Divorce | Contraception

Gambling

SHOW: Extramarital affairs | Gambling | Homosexuality | Abortion | Premarital sex | Alcohol use | Divorce | Contraception

Homosexuality

SHOW: Extramarital affairs | Gambling | Homosexuality | Abortion | Premarital sex | Alcohol use | Divorce | Contraception

Abortion

SHOW: Extramarital affairs | Gambling | Homosexuality | Abortion | Premarital sex | Alcohol use | Divorce | Contraception

Premarital sex

SHOW: Extramarital affairs | Gambling | Homosexuality | Abortion | Premarital sex | Alcohol use | Divorce | Contraception

Alcohol use

SHOW: Extramarital affairs | Gambling | Homosexuality | Abortion | Premarital sex | Alcohol use | Divorce | Contraception

Divorce

SHOW: Extramarital affairs | Gambling | Homosexuality | Abortion | Premarital sex | Alcohol use | Divorce | Contraception

Contraception


Of course, it's hard not to look at these maps without considering the role of religion. Pew notes as much in its write-up: "Generally, African and predominantly Muslim countries tend to find most of these activities morally unacceptable, while in advanced economies, such as those in Western Europe, Japan, and North America, people tend to be more accepting or to not consider these moral issues at all."

For reference, here's a map of the importance of religion in various countries, according to a 2002 Pew poll (and via Wikipedia).

 

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Philip Bump is a former politics writer for The Atlantic Wire.

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