Religions of Today's World

a geographic tally

TOP POPULATIONS PATTERNS

 

POPULATIONS OF THE WORLD ACCORDING TO RELIGION
  Africa Asia Europe Latin
America
Northern
America
Oceania WORLD %
Baha'i 1,851,000 3,010,000 93,000 719,000 356,000 75,000 6,104,000 0.11
Buddhist 36,000 320,691,000 1,478,000 569,000 920,000 200,000 323,894,000 5.67
Mahayana, 56% . . . . . . 181,380,000 3.17
Theravada, 38% . . . . . . 123,080,000 2.15
Tantrayana, 6% . . . . . . 19,434,000 0.35
Chinese folk religion 12,000 224,828,000 116,000 66,000 98,000 17,000 225,137,000 3.94
Confucian (non-Chinese) 1,000 5,220,000 4,000 2,000 26,000 1,000 5,254,000 0.09
Christian 348,176,000 306,762,000 551,892,000 448,006,000 249,277,000 23,840,000 1,927,953,000 33.73
Roman Catholic, 50% 122,108,000 90,041,000 270,677,000 402,691,000 74,243,000 8,265,000 968,025,000 16.93
Protestant, 21% 109,726,000 42,836,000 80,000,000 31,684,000 123,257,000 8,364,000 395,867,000 6.93
Orthodox, 11% 29,645,000 1,4881,000 165,795,000 481,000 6,480,000 666,000 217,948,000 3.81
Anglican, 4% 25,362,000 707,000 30,625,000 1,153,000 6,819,000 5,864,000 70,530,000 1.23
other, 14% 61,335,000 158,297,000 4,795,000 11,997,000 38,478,000 681,000 275,583,000 4.82
Ethnic 72,777,000 36,579,000 1,200,000 1,061,000 47,000 113,000 111,777,000 1.96
Hindu 1,535,000 775,252,000 1,522,000 748,000 1,185,000 305,000 780,547,000 13.65
Vaishnavite, 70% . . . . . . 546,383,000 9.56
Shaivite, 25% . . . . . . 195,137,000 3.41
neo / reform, 2% . . . . . . 15,611,000 0.27
Jain 58,000 4,804,000 15,000 4,000 4,000 1,000 4,886,000 0.09
Jewish 163,000 4,294,000 2,529,000 1,098,000 5,924,000 91,000 14,117,000 0.25
Mandean 0 44,000 0 0 0 0 44,000 0.00
Muslim 300,317,000 760,181,000 31,975,000 1,329,000 5,450,000 382,000 1,099,634,000 19.24
Sunni, 83% . . . . . . 912,696,000 15.97
Shia, 16% . . . . . . 175,942,000 3.08
other, 1% . . . . . . 10,996,000 0.19
New religions (founded since 1800) 19,000 118,591,000 808,000 913,000 956,000 10,000 121,297,000 2.12
Parsee (Zoroastrian) 1,000 184,000 1,000 1,000 1,000 1,000 189,000 0.00
Sikh 36,000 18,130,000 490,000 8,000 490,000 7,000 19,161,000 0.34
Shinto 0 2,840,000 1,000 1,000 1,000 1,000 2,844,000 0.05
Spiritist 4,000 1,100,000 17,000 8,768,000 300,000 1,000 10,190,000 0.18
Other religions 88,000 98,000 443,000 184,000 1,068,000 42,000 1,923,000 0.03
Secular 3,000,000 875,349,000 134,415,000 18,528,000 26,720,000 3,462,000 1,061,474,000 18.57
Agnostic / indifferent 2,573,000 701,175,000 94,330,000 15,551,000 25,050,000 2,870,000 841,549,000 14.72
Atheist 427,000 174,174,000 40,085,000 2,977,000 1,670,000 592,000 219,925,000 3.85
TOTALS 728,074,000 3,457,957,000 726,999,000 482,005,000 292,841,000 28,549,000 5,716,425,000 100.00
  Africa Asia Europe Latin
America
Northern
America
Oceania WORLD %
all Christian 348,176,000 306,762,000 551,892,000 448,006,000 249,277,000 23,840,000 1,927,953,000 33.73
all non-Christian 379,898,000 3,151,195,000 175,107,000 33,999,000 43,564,000 4,709,000 3,788,472,000 66.27
all religious 725,074,000 2,582,608,000 592,584,000 463,477,000 266,121,000 25,087,000 4,654,951,000 81.43
all secular 3,000,000 875,349,000 134,415,000 18,528,000 26,720,000 3,462,000 1,061,474,000 18.57


Data source: Encyclopædia Britannica Book of the Year 1996

 

 

TOP POPULATIONS PATTERNS

 

PATTERNS

(Revised 14 May 2001)

If we examine modern-day religion in a global context, some interesting patterns come to light:

  • No religious group even comes close to enjoying a global majority. The largest single group, consisting of all the various Christian sects, is outnumbered two-to-one by non-Christians worldwide.
  • Christians vastly outnumber non-Christians in Europe, the Americas, and Oceania. In Asia, however, where the majority of the world's population resides, non-Christians outnumber Christians more than ten-to-one.
  • Muslims are the second-largest religious group, and Hindus the fourth-largest. The Muslim population is perhaps the most evenly distributed about the globe, whereas 99 percent of the world's Hindu population is concentrated in southern Asia.
  • The third-largest group, making up almost one fifth of the world's population, comprises unbelievers and disbelievers. Secularists make up about 1/3 of Asians, 1/5 of Europeans, 1/8 of the population of Oceania, and 1/10 of people in the U.S. and Canada. They are most outnumbered in Africa and Latin America.
  • Though a minority in the U.S., Roman Catholics account for fully half of all Christians worldwide, Protestants and Anglicans together for only about a quarter.
  • Roman Catholics are the world's largest individual religious sect, yet they are slightly outnumbered by secularists.
  • Spiritual non-theists — e.g., Buddhists, Confucians, spiritists, etc. — number about twice those who classify themselves as atheists. If this number is added to the number of secularists, we find that the number of people who do not believe in a god in the conventional sense of the term make up between one fourth and one third of the world's population. Spiritual and secular non-theists together number more than any single theistic group except Christians.