An intriguing color-coded map highlights Africa’s diversity

An intriguing color-coded map highlights Africa’s diversity

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Harvard University has recently come up with a fascinating map of ethnicity in Africa, based on data from a 2001 book edited by anthropologist Marc Leo Felix. And here’s why we can’t stop looking at it! Each color on the map roughly corresponds to an ethnic group that constitutes the majority in that region, based on how people self-identify. Ethnicity is difficult to measure and demarcate — everyone sees their own ethnic identity a little differently — but the results here roughly track with a 1959 ethnography by anthropologist George Murdock and with a 2002 Harvard Institute study conducted on ethnic diversity. The latter study found that sub-Saharan African contained many of the most ethnically diverse countries on Earth, including the two most diverse: Uganda and Liberia. And the above map suggests enormous ethnic diversity across western and central Africa.

Another factor highlighted in this map is linguistic diversity, which, according to another data set the map uses, is also enormously diverse across the same regions.

View map on http://worldmap.harvard.edu/africamap/