In 2013, the Pew Research Global Attitudes Project asked over 40,000 respondents in 40 countries about their opinions on eight topics generally considered to be moral issues:

  • Abortion
  • Divorce
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Extramarital affair
  • Gambling
  • Homosexuality
  • Sex between unmarried adults, and
  • Use of contraceptives

Respondents indicated their sentiment about each issue by choosing one of the following responses:

  • Morally unacceptable
  • Morally acceptable
  • Not a moral issue
  • Depends on the situation, or
  • Refused to answer

Unsurprisingly, there was a great deal of variation in responses across countries and topics. The data suggest that Pakistan and Ghana are the most conservative countries in their attitudes toward the eight issues covered, while France and Germany the most liberal. Around the world, there is general agreement that using contraceptives is morally acceptable and even more consensus that extramarital affairs are morally unacceptable. In some countries, it appears that the most controversial or uncomfortable topic was that of homosexuality, with up to 11% of respondents in India and Pakistan refusing to even answer the question of whether homosexuality is morally acceptable or not.

For more interesting insights, explore the visualization below. [Confession: I like radar charts. While some may disagree, I find them morally acceptable and quite useful, although they require a bit of getting used to. I decided to show some aspects of the data using a radar chart because it effectively presents multivariate data and provides quick visual cues for commonalities and outliers. Select a couple of countries and watch the difference in shapes to draw your conclusions.]