Skip to comments.Poll: Christians Most Numerous Worldwide; 'Nones' Majority in Six Countries
Posted on 12/19/2012 9:37:49 AM PST by SeekAndFind
An international Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion & Public Life poll has found that Christianity remains the religion with the most adherents worldwide, while roughly one-third of people around the globe have no religious affiliation.
The comprehensive poll examined more than 230 countries worldwide, and asked respondents to identify which religion, if any, they belong to. The results determined that 32 percent of the world's population, 2.2 billion people, are Christians, 23 percent or 1.6 billion are Muslim, 15 percent or 1 billion are Hindu, and that 7 percent or 500 million are Buddhists. African, Asian, Native American and other folk religions are still practiced by 6 percent or 400 million people. Close to 1 percent belong to other established groups like the Baha'i faith, Jainism, Sikhism, Shintoism, Taoism, Tenrikyo, Wicca and Zoroastrianism, while Jewish people account for only 0.02 percent, or 14 million of the population.
The Pew poll found that almost half of the world's Christians are Catholic, while 37 percent identify as one of the Protestant traditions, which includes Anglicans. The Orthodox Communion numbers 12 percent, while minority denominations, sometimes referred to as "cults" like Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses only make up around 1 percent of the global Christian population.
"The 10 countries with the largest number of Christians account for about half (48 percent) of the global Christian population. The largest share of all Christians live in the United States (11 percent), followed by Brazil (8 percent), Mexico (5 percent), Russia (5 percent), the Philippines (4 percent), Nigeria (4 percent), China (3 percent), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (3 percent), Germany (3 percent) and Ethiopia (2 percent)," Pew explain.
Almost all religions were heavily concentrated in one geographical region or another except for Christianity, which was spread almost evenly across six continents. Hindu, Buddhists, Folk and Other religious groups were found almost exclusively concentrated in the Asia-Pacific region. The "Unaffiliated" were also heavily concentrated in the Asia-pacific region, though had a significant presence in Europe as well. Christians, however, made the majority of Europe, North America, Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa, though had only a minimal presence in the Middle East region, where Muslims dominated.
Hindus and Christians were also the two religious groups that are concentrated almost entirely in places where they are the majority. Ninety-seven percent of Hindu adherents live in India, Mauritius or Nepal, where they have the majority, while 87 percent of Christians are found in 157 Christian-majority nations.
The religiously unaffiliated, on the other hand, are the majority population in six countries, namely China, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hong Kong, Japan and North Korea.
Pew defined "religiously unaffiliated" simply as people who did not select a specific religion, which includes but is not limited to atheists. Also called the "nones," their numbers have been rising particularly in America, where one in in five adults said in another Pew poll in October that they have no religion.
In terms of median age of representatives of religious groups, Muslims were the youngest at 23, with Jews the oldest at 36. Christians were the third youngest, with a medium age of 30.
The Pew poll's data was taken from more than 25,000 national censuses reflecting people's opinions in 2010, with Pew noting that more recent poll data coming out from specific countries could present more updated statistics.
Considering how this study analyzes 2,500 different sources of data from 232 countries, it’s about as rigorous as a study can get. Keep in mind that since it relied on self-identification of your religious group, there may still be a large percentage of people who called themselves, say, Catholic, without actually believing any of the doctrine. In other words, the “1-in-6-are-non-religious” headline is very likely an underestimate.
Still, the 1-in-6 number is the big takeaway from the study:
Something that may surprise a lot of people, said Conrad Hackett, a primary researcher on the report, is that the third-largest religious group, after Christians and Muslims, is the religiously unaffiliated. There may have been some guesses floating out there before, but this is the first time there are numbers based on survey data analyzed in a rigorous and scientific way.
Where do the Nones live? According to “The Global Religious Landscape,” as the study is called, most of us live, not surprisingly, in Asia and the Pacific (mostly China):
In fact, the Unaffiliated constitute the majority of the population in six countries: the Czech Republic (76%), North Korea (71%), Estonia (60%), Japan (57%), Hong Kong (56%), and China (52%).
In the U.S., the number (circa 2010) is around 16.4%, though more recent Pew studies put the percentage a little higher, closer to 20%.
Though the U.S. only has about 4.5% of the global unaffiliated population, that still amounts to 50,980,000 people. Imagine how much political clout we could have if even a fraction of that number decided to advocate for church/state separation and socially liberal policies…
Could you please explain your last sentence to all of us here at FR?
Here is the link where I got the chart and map from:
The comments are entirely the author’s and NOT MINE.
“Christians, however, made the majority of Europe, North America....”
‘Christians’ are not of much use when they vote for Obama.
Many Catholics tell us that those aren’t really Catholics, for instance in America, about 54% of the Catholics don’t really exist, and can’t be counted.
>> Though the U.S. only has about 4.5% of the global unaffiliated population, that still amounts to 50,980,000 people. Imagine how much political clout we could have if even a fraction of that number decided to advocate for church/state separation and socially liberal policies <<
The author obviously didn’t see the last election results. The religiously hostile DID vote as a block.
If you are comparing the religious adherence of Catholics to any given Protestant group, you need to consider that those brought up as Catholics identify as Catholic until they find some other broad category to identify with. This is in contrast to say someone who was brought up as a Southern Baptist. The moment he dissents from the Baptist faith enough to quit going to weekly services, he will instead identify himself as a “Baptist,” a “Protestant,” a “Christian,” or “unaffiliated.”
When pollsters ask the political choices of Catholics, they find that 25% of Americans identify themselves as Catholics. This is roughly equal to the proportion of Americans who affiliate with all Protestant churches combined. Does that mean that Catholics are as numerous as Protestants? Of course not. They are outnumbered 2 or 3 to 1! But all those religiously inactive Protestants no longer identify themselves by their former church, as ex-Catholics tend to do, unless they go evangelical.
To get a sense of comparing religious convictions, you need to compare church-going Catholics to say, evangelicals. Or you need to compare Catholics to Western-culture non-Catholics. But you can’t compare self-identified Catholics to self-identified evangelicals because their reasons for identifying themselves are different.
What a load of nonsense.
Pollsters ask your religious identity, if you are a current member of the Catholic denomination then you are counted as Catholic, if you are a Christian who is not a Catholic, or a Catholic who is still a Christian but no longer identify as Catholic, then they lump you in as a Protestant, with no interest in your denomination whether it is the gay lesbian church, a black denomination like Reverend Wrights, Episcopalian or Southern Baptist, or even if you have never been baptized and don’t belong to any church.
The “Protestant” category is more than twice as large as the members of the Catholic denomination.
The “protestant” vote has gone democrat 3 times in history, the Catholic vote all but 5 or 6 times depending on the source.
The point is, that when it is pointed out how Catholics vote, such as for Obama in both elections, Clinton and Gore, many Catholics start claiming that those voters are not Catholics.
My question is, where are they on a thread like this, shouldn’t those posters be pointing out that the world’s Catholic numbers are vastly, humongously, over-inflated?
Either the majority of Catholics vote for abortion and the homosexual agenda, or this articles numbers on Catholics need to be corrected.
>> What a load of nonsense. <<
Sorry, I mistook you for someone who could handle complexities of thought. My mistake. I won’t let that happen again.
Oh, fer crisakes! We used to call ‘em the “little pagan babies.” I think we got this in the bag.
Nonsense is nonsense, calling it complexities of thought, is just more nonsense.
These Pew findings differ so significantly from other widely-cited sources - e.g., the CIA World Factbook - that I think Pew’s methodologies and analyses must be closely examined to see if their conclusions have any correlation to reality.
BTW, it’s interesting that while Jews constitute only two hundredths (!) of one per cent. of the world’s population, we control the entire globe and everything that happens on it. Whoo-Hoo!
Did you think that Catholics should have been separated from the other Christian denominations?
Really, you are puzzled? Why are you puzzled?
U.S. Protestants established an anti-clerical, socialist regime in Mexico which killed 20,000 priests, nuns and catechists. Nonetheless, the traditions of Catholicism survived: abortion is almost unheard of in Mexico; its court-ordered legalization in Mexico City resultes in an infinitessimal number of abortions. Marriage and family life are very strong. Divorce is rare. But socialism is still prevalent.
Of the Mexicans who leave their homeland, Only 38% affiliate with the Catholic church in any way. Only 12% ever attend church. 89% of them vote Democrat, if they can legally vote at all.
This horribly skews the “Catholic vote.”
The truth is that while the overwhelming majority of Protestants in New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, etc., vote Democrat; the majority of Catholics in all those states vote Republican. The only states where a majority of Catholics voted Democrats are in the southwest and Maine.
In North Carolina, Romney won by 10% among Protestants, but by 32% among Catholics.
Romney won among Catholics in Connecticut, but lost by 18% among Protestants.
He won by 6% among Catholics in New York, but by 38% among Protestants. (And yes, that’s despite the Puerto Rican vote!)
Among Catholics, he won by 11 points in Ohio, 12 points in Wisconsin, 10 points in Virginia, 11 points in Michigan, 8 points in New Hampshire. Romney even won among Catholics in Illinois.
And this counts non-church-going Catholics as Catholics, but does not count unaffiliated Protestants as Protestants. Among the unaffiliated, Obama won North Carolina by 48 points, Wisconsin by 48, Ohio by 47, Michigan by 59, Virginia by 54, Florida by 46, and Pennsylvania by 49. 80%+ of these unaffiliated come from PROTESTANT traditions.