Wonk Post: Majority Religion by Country

Merry Christmas, BMGers! - promoted by Bob_Neer

If there is a global war on Christianity, the Christians are winning.

From Pew:

Recommended by christopher.


15 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. Hard to read that map

    Does that indicate that the Czech Republic is mostly unaffiliated? Because if so, that would clearly indicate to me that Christianity is losing.

    • Yes, and Estonia too

      The Czech Republic is the least religious country in Europe, largely because of what happened 400 years ago, when their nobility was massacred and Catholicism imposed on them. They’ve been quite skeptical of the whole enterprise ever sense.

  2. meh...

    … majorities in India and China are bigger than the majorities elsewhere so this map, frankly, misleads by eliding the difference between population and geography…

  3. revealing, but...

    I wonder if this map suffers from the same problem those red-and-blue-by county maps that show immense swaths of red across sparsely inhabited places, and smaller patches of blue in places of high density, even though there’s really more blue folk than red. Possibly a projection distorted by population would tell a more complete story. (I think the eastern religions of India, China and Japan might have, in total, more adherents than Christianity, even though those faiths cover less geography.)

    A view of this across time would really be something, though.

  4. There is a reason I included a link

    Here are the numbers:

    The demographic study – based on analysis of more than 2,500 censuses, surveys and population registers – finds 2.2 billion Christians (32% of the world’s population), 1.6 billion Muslims (23%), 1 billion Hindus (15%), nearly 500 million Buddhists (7%) and 14 million Jews (0.2%) around the world as of 2010. In addition, more than 400 million people (6%) practice various folk or traditional religions, including African traditional religions, Chinese folk religions, Native American religions and Australian aboriginal religions. An estimated 58 million people – slightly less than 1% of the global population – belong to other religions, including the Baha’i faith, Jainism, Sikhism, Shintoism, Taoism, Tenrikyo, Wicca and Zoroastrianism, to mention just a few.1

    At the same time, the new study by the Pew Forum also finds that roughly one-in-six people around the globe (1.1 billion, or 16%) have no religious affiliation. This makes the unaffiliated the third-largest religious group worldwide, behind Christians and Muslims, and about equal in size to the world’s Catholic population.

  5. I don't buy Greenland and Iceland...

    being darker Red than the US. Who are they counting. Just the USAF personnel working the airports on our military bases?

    • Lot of local Lutherans in both places

      Here’s Iceland:

      and Greenland:

    • Affiliation, not religiosity

      Percentage of population who identify as or affiliate with a particular religion is not the same as *how* religious they are. You’re thinking of the fact that religiosity is much higher in the US than it is on northern European countries, but you’re forgetting the fact that diversity is also much higher in the US. Almost all of those very-weakly-religious people in northern European countries are Christian (Lutheran, mostly), even if they’re less religious than most Americans.

      • That's a good premise

        for North America and Europe, but the largest growth in Christianity is in Africa, and South America has expanding Evangelical and Pentecostal Christian populations (mostly at the expense of Catholicism).

        It will be interesting to see how things trend over the next few decades.

        • Big issues with this map

          It’s a big mistake to lump all Christians together when there is significant diversity and cross conversion. Also are Mormons, by some accounts the fastest growing religion considered Christian here? “Unaffiliated” might also include a lot of variety beyond atheism, including agnostics, and those belonging to smaller faiths. Level of religiosity measured by church attendance instead of mere affiliation, etc. Muslim differences would also be important Sunni v Shia etc. Perhaps supplementary maps could show these differences, regional breakdown or heat maps.

          I find it interesting that atheists and fundamentalists both want to portray their respective world views as under attack or marginalized by mainstream culture. It seems Catholics and the mainline are the only groups trying to assert strength in numbers/affiliation with mainstream culture.

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Wed 29 Mar 6:54 PM