[In order to get a better view of larger visualizations, you should click on the “<>” symbols on the upper right corner of the page for flexible page width. I have finally figured out how to embed from Tableau but it makes a mess of the page. As always, click on the images for larger, interactive, views]

In this post, I will wrap up, for now, another set of visualizations on global opinions on homosexuality that can be used as sociological exercises in data analysis. Again, the data come from the Pew Research Center and the visualizations were made in Tableau.

Quite often, one hears the argument that views on homosexuality are generational: younger people are more tolerant than older generations. So let’s explore that hypothesis with global data. For that purpose, I thought it might be useful to divide the set of countries into geographical regions, and then, get the average:

Regional Averages

Quite clearly, in all regions except Africa (for which the rates of acceptance of homosexuality are very low across the board), the hypothesis is supported. Older categories seem to be less accepting of homosexuality.

Let us now go region by region and look at selected countries for each.



Right away, you can see that the average for Africa would be even lower if it weren’t for South Africa. For South Africa, the rates much higher than for the rest of the region, but they do fit the pattern of greater acceptance of homosexuality for younger people. Otherwise, it is hard to distinguish a clear pattern for the other countries as the rates are really low. Look at Uganda, for instance. It is the opposite of what one would expect. And even though there is one age category for which data is missing in Kenya, the pattern is reversed. But again, with such low rates, little differences look like larger differences.

Let’s look at the other low average region: the Middle East:

Middle East

Here, it is Israel that is the big outlier for the whole region and drives up the average, as South Africa did for Africa. And for Israel alone, one can see that the middle age cohort is the one with the highest acceptance rate. Lebanon then follows, with a pattern supporting our original hypothesis. Then Turkey, with rates much lower than Israel and Lebanon, but higher than the rest of the region, and this time, it is the middle age cohort that is the least accepting (but again, the actual percentage point differences are very low). I confess to being surprised by the overall lack of acceptance in Tunisia. I guess secularism does not extend to attitudes regarding homosexuality.

Next up, Asia:


This is one of these cases where the average is actually misleading (see back up) especially when the countries are so divided. On the one hand, you have countries with very high rates of acceptance (Australian, Japan, Philippines, and to some extent, South Korea… look up South Korea in my previous post, it was interesting case there). And one the other hand, countries with very low acceptance rates (China, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Pakistan). But an average smooths these massive differences out. That is why looking country by country is necessary. If I were to hypothesize, I would argue that the high acceptance countries are either Christian or more secular compared to Muslim, more religious countries.

Does our generational pattern hold here? Mostly yes. We lost the patterns only for the countries for extremely low acceptance rates.

Moving on, Central / South America:

South America

Obviously, the rates are high and our age pattern holds solidly for every country in our sample. El Salvador and Bolivia seem to be trailing behind a bit. That is usually an indication that some more digging is required, especially some correlation work. On the other hand, Argentina, Chile, and Brazil have very high rates. Venezuela and Mexico play middle of the pack. Those high rates are interesting in a region marked by strong Catholicism, but also Pentecostalism.

Let’s move North and look at North America:

North America

Depending on how you look at it, either Canada is driving up the regional average, or the US is driving it down. I blame evangelicalism, puritanism and conservatism. The US rates are actually comparable to the middle of the pack South American countries and other countries on other regions score higher. This validates the idea that economically, the US is a highly developed, core country, but on social issues and indicators, it scores in a fashion resembling more semi-peripheral countries. Our age hypothesis, though, holds for both countries.

And last but not least, Europe:


Obviously, for Western and Northern Europe, the rates are incredibly high. However, no one following the news should be surprised by the low rates in Russia, Poland, and Greece.

For instance, this:

Russia‘s president, Vladimir Putin, has signed into law a measure that stigmatises gay people and bans giving children any information about homosexuality.

The lower house of Russia’s parliament unanimously passed the Kremlin-backed bill on 11 June and the upper house approved it last week.

The Kremlin announced on Sunday that Putin had signed the legislation into law.

The ban on “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations” is part of an effort to promote traditional Russian values over western liberalism, which the Kremlin and the Russian orthodox church see as corrupting Russian youth and contributing to the protests against Putin’s rule.

Hefty fines can now be imposed on those who provide information about the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community to minors or hold gay pride rallies.”

So, no surprise there. Things are chaotic in Greece with the rise of neo-fascists (who are usually not friendly to gay even though these movements drip homo-eroticism).

The age pattern, though is much more irregular, but within the context of high rates across the board for the other countries.

Finally, and just for fun, I tried my hand at a heat map on this. The colors correspond to the regions (and the countries are grouped that way). The size of the square is a function of the %, by age categories.

Heat map

That is it on this topic. As you can see, there is a lot of exploration to be done and puzzles to be teased out on this.

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