Friday, September 21, 2012

Religious restrictions index: how do countries compare?

The Guardian DataBlog published yesterday an interesting article exploring graphically the religious intolerance across the world. The data are coming from a report published by Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion and Public Life. I like the philosophy DataBlog a lot, providing the raw data for everyone to look at.
However, I felt that the visualization could be improved. First the data are longitudinal and no temporal representation is provided. So I downloaded the Google Spreadsheet and worked it in R with googleVis. googleVis is the R API to the Google graphic library.
The data are composed of two data type:

  • The Government Restriction Index (GSI) [measures government laws, policies and actions that restrict religious beliefs or practices]
  • The Social Hostilities Index (SHI) [measures acts of religious hostility by private individuals,organizations and social groups]

The R code is the following:

I like it better to explore those data. Select a country of interest and follow it.


  1. Nice, though I think some additional variables are needed to make the graph more effective. I mean, you can map SHI or GRI to multiple variables when it might be more insightful to add mapping to various demographic or economic factor (e.g., GDP, population size, religious diversity, dominant religion, etc.)

    1. Definitively. Would love some help in making the data richer. Here is the spreadsheet