Atheism around the world: Map reveals the least religious countries

Joe Vesey-Byrne
Tuesday 18 July 2017 15:30
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Data: WIN/Gallup International.(Picture: indy100/Datawrapper)

62 per cent of people on earth define themselves as religious.

This is according to the WIN/Gallup International poll for 2016, published in mid 2017.

The study surveyed citizens of 68 countries.

In addition, many people held religious beliefs without necessarily defining themselves as being religious. These beliefs included:

  • Souls (74 per cent)
  • Life after death (54 per cent)
  • Heaven (56 per cent)
  • Hell (49 per cent)

Participants were asked "Independently of whether you go to a place of worship or not, would you say you are..."

  • A religious person
  • Not a religious person
  • A convinced atheist
  • Do not know/no response

The nature of the question is worth noting, as for instance Norway has a high church attendance rate, despite the relatively high proportion of convinced atheists.

Explaining the double-think required, is another matter.

Convinced atheists

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China had 67 per cent ‘convinced atheists’, followed by Hong Kong on 30 percent, and Japan on 29.

Most religious countries are Thailand (98 per cent) and Nigeria (97). The least religious by these standards were China where 23 per cent of people define themselves as ‘non religious’.

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Agnosticism was also alive an well in Japan, with 26 per cent answering ‘Don’t know’.

Fiji, Thailand, and Azerbaijan had 0 per cent agnostics.

In the UK, 58 per cent described themselves as ‘non religious’, and 11 per cent were ‘convinced atheists’. Only 27 per cent thought of themselves as ‘religious’.

More: The atheist map of the UK

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