84% of world have religious belief

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WORLDWIDE, more than eight-in-ten people identify with a religious group.

A comprehensive demographic study of more than 230 countries and territories conducted by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life estimates that there are 5.8 billion religiously affiliated adults and children around the globe, representing 84% of the 2010 world population of 6.9 billion.

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

The geographic distribution of religious groups varies considerably. Several religious groups are heavily concentrated in the Asia-Pacific region, including the vast majority of Hindus (99%), Buddhists (99%), adherents of folk or traditional religions (90%) and members of other world religions (89%).

Three-quarters of the religiously unaffiliated (76%) also live in the massive and populous Asia- Pacific region. Indeed, the number of religiously unaffiliated people in China alone (about 700 million) is more than twice the total population of the United States.

The Asia-Pacific region also is home to most of the world’s Muslims (62%). About 20% of Muslims live in the Middle East and North Africa, and nearly 16% reside in sub-Saharan Africa.

Of the major religious groups covered in this study, Christians are the most evenly dispersed. Roughly equal numbers of Christians live in Europe (26%), Latin America and the Caribbean (24%) and sub-Saharan Africa (24%).

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13 thoughts on “84% of world have religious belief

  1. Obviously it can’t be coincidental, since there’s no such thing as ‘coincidence’: (“84% of world have religious belief);but I think it’s noteworthy that almost exactly the same percentage people have an ‘average’ or below-average IQ.

    This might well be the strongest evidence yet of an Intelligent Designer, mightn’t it ?

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    • Remembering maths, average is 50 % so at least 34% of people who believe in God are above average. That is assuming all atheists are above average …… BWAHAHAHA sorry couldn’t keep a straight face,

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      • You remind me of someone, Dom; it’s a worry.
        (But there’s hope; / grew out of it.)

        HOWEVER, thanks for confirming my comment.
        In IQ rankings, ‘average’ is considered to be 100.

        Wonderful thing, the English language. 😉

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      • …..If you reconvert to christianity you get an introductory offer of Free Will (Fine-print: ‘though be aware that the offer itself isn’t free ~ it costs one sou l’)
        ….but the upside, apparently, is that you’re free to choose what size eyebrows you want. 🙂

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      • “Remembering maths, average is 50 %…”

        No offence but either your maths or memory is out of whack.

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