Poll Reports on Global Religious Landscape

According to the recent analysis of a Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life poll, one in three people worldwide self-identify as Christians, about 2.2 billion people. Approximately half of these Christians are Catholic, and 37 percent of them are Protestant. The greatest share of the global Christian population is in Europe (26 percent) followed by Latin America/Caribbean (24 percent, representing a 90 percent majority of that region’s population) and sub-Saharan Africa (24 percent). Christians are also the majority in the Asia-Pacific and North American regions representing 13 and 12 percent of the world’s population, respectively.

Of the 232 countries included in the study, 157 have Christian majorities. The 10 countries in the world with the most number of Christians are, in order, the United States, Brazil, Mexico, Russia, the Phillippines, Nigeria, China, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Germany, and Ethiopia.

The poll also revealed that, although a majority of Muslims live in the Asia-Pacific region, only about a quarter of the population of that region are Muslim. The Middle East-North Africa region is more than 90 percent Muslim, but these represent only about 20 percent of the world’s Muslims. The countries with the largest number of Muslims are, in order, Indonesia, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Egypt, Iran, Turkey, Algeria and Morocco.

A little over a billion (one in six) people worldwide claim no religious affiliation. These are concentrated in the Asia-Pacific region (representing more than 75 percent of the world’s unaffiliated population). One in six people in Europe and North America claim no religious affiliation. There are six countries where the unaffiliated is the majority: Czech Republic (75 percent unaffiliated), North Korea (71 percent), Estonia (60 percent), Japan (57 percent), Hong Kong (56 percent) and China (52 percent). About 20 percent of the United States population claimed no religious affiliation in 2012, according to this poll.


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