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Decline in Religion

DECLINE IN RELIGION

A century ago the majority of Europeans would have quickly identified themselves as Christians.  In 1900, about two-thirds of the world’s Christians lived in Europe; yet, in 2015, they represented only about 25%.  In 2010, a Eurobarometer opinion poll showed that 27% of the citizens of France and 37% of England’s did not ‘believe there is a God.’  The poll showed 49% of EU citizens did not believe in God; yet in a 2011 Eurostat Census, 48% checked on their census that they were ‘Catholic,’ and 72% labeled themselves as ‘Christian.’

Research by the French Institute of Public Opinion (2011-12), stated only 2.9% of the population actually practices the Catholic faith, compared to 3.8% who practice the Muslim faith.

In 2015, Dalil Boubakeur, rector of the ‘Great Mosque of Paris’ and president of the French Council of Muslim Faith, who immigrated from Algeria, said on Europe 1 radio that the current ‘2,500 mosques and 300’ under construction fell well short of what was needed for Europe’s largest Muslim population – those in France.  He added that as many as ‘5,000’ of the ‘country’s abandoned Catholic Churches’ could be converted into Mosques to meet the need.

Although the French Institute of Public Opinion found that only 41% of France’s 6 million Muslims actually ‘practice’ Islam, 75% responded that they were ‘believers.’  (2015, France: 66 million citizens, 6 million Muslims = 9.1% x 41% = 3.7% of the French practicing)  This self-identification on censuses and surveys is very common.  And it is for this reason that number of adherents (followers or believers) of denominations and religions and cults should not be taken simply at their face value; other factors must be examined.

Why Christianity is on the decline in America  Gregory Paul, known for a 2005 statistical survey… ‘The nonreligious are the fastest growing group in America, he says; non-believers having tripled as a percentage of the population since the 1960s…   A third factor is technology. Young people’s reliance on the newly emergent digital world is quickly replacing the kind of pre-TV, pre-computer, social “club” that churches provide.’

Surveys: moving to non-religious

Quantitative Analysis: the World

WIN/Gallup International ‘is the leading association in market research and polling’ and ‘is made up of the 75 largest independent market research and polling firms in their respective countries… covering 95% of the world’s market.’   A 2012 poll by WIN/Gallup International surveyed over 50,000 people in 40 countries whether they considered themselves ‘religious’, ‘not religious’ or ‘convinced atheist’.

The 2012 poll found that ‘nearly 47% of people living in China describe themselves as atheists compared to an average of 13% across the world…  One of the most surprising figures is in the Islamic country of Saudi Arabia where 5% of the population described themselves as atheists, despite this is considered a crime…’  The poll reported 31% of Japan’s population consider themselves ‘atheists,’ as did more than 30% French and Czech Republic citizens.

In a 2015 WIN/Gallop article called Losing our religion? Two thirds of people still claim to be religious, reported China with 61% atheists, Japan (31%), Czech Republic (30%), and Spain (20%).   Their research states, 22% of the world’s people say explicitly that they are ‘not religious.’  The survey covered 65 countries, surveying about 64,000 people.   The study found that ‘the most religious regions are Africa and MENA (Middle East and N. Africa) where 86% and 82% of the people consider themselves to be religious.’  However, remember it is a crime not to be Muslim in many Islamic nations.  Moreover, the presence of religion does not indicate Christianity.

The 2015 study also stated, ‘Western Europe (51%) and Oceania (49%) are the only regions where approximately half of the population is either not religious or convinced atheists.’   Throughout this work will be facts addressing the ‘non religious’ or not affiliated and non-practicing.

A better indicator of the non-Christian and even proof of those ‘practicing’ their religion can be seen in a WIN-GALLOP with Global Barometer Study.  In 2012 they released Global Index of Religiosity and Atheism.  They found 36% of the people surveyed across the world considered themselves ‘Not a religious person’ or ‘a convinced atheist.’

Yet, these do not include those who did not respond or ‘don’t know,’ which in itself says something.  Nor did the study examine practices of those surveyed. Thus, to say 31% of the Japanese call themselves atheist, falls well short of saying 85% of the people in Japan are atheist, non-religious, don’t know their religious condition or would not response when surveyed.  Moreover, of the 15% that call themselves religious; a very small percent are practicing Christians.

Additionally, when the Global Study says that Austria, Czech Republic, Iceland and Ireland are among the top ten Atheist populations by percentage tells of trends in those countries, but says little to what that means on a global scale; together the four nations only makeup .33 of 1% of the world’s population.

Other problems are the difficulty of getting current statistics.  So the World Factbook put out by the CIA may say 2011 on the cover, but notes under India (2001). According to India’s Ministry of Statistics in 2001 they had 1.028 billion people of which 828 million Hindu; 429 million males and 399 females.  They also had at that time 138 million Muslims, 71.4 million males and 66.8 million females; and 24.1 million Christians, 12 million males and 12.1 million females; and 19.2 million Sikh.  Therefore, if the 2011 official census is not available, numbers could be a decade old.  And estimates will be off.  For example, the 2011 India Census show a 24% increase in Muslims from the previous 2001 census.  Additionally, through the number of non-religious people in India rose by 6% from 2005 to 2012, it is hard to guess the nature of their Hindu population, which has been reported to be vastly secular, agnostic and/or non-practicing.  The Population Reference Bureau (PRB) had India at about 1,300 million people June 2015.

The following Table, Percent of Non-Christians in >91% of the World’s Population, seeks to identify the percent of Non-Christians in the world.  The Non-religious column may have a % (percentage) greater, even much greater, than simply adding the percentage of the ‘professed’ religious people and subtracting it from 100.  For example, those in China who stated they were Buddhist, Christian and Muslim in their census and surveys totaled about 25%, but in the WIN-Gallop Global Index of Religiosity and Atheism Poll only 14% identified themselves as ‘a religious person.’

In the last few years WIN/Gallup International stated China was 86% non-religious. However, a more recent survey by Gallup International and the WI Network of Market Research, based on 64,000 interviews, found ‘although China’s society has deep religious traditions, decades of Communist rule have installed a widespread atheistic materialism’ which has resulted about 90% of all Chinese considering themselves to be atheists or non-religious.  About 80% of the Chinese do not live in a city; and it is hard to estimate home churches.

The 2010 census, the CIA World Factbook and Pew Research Center studies, shows the United States has about 73% ‘professing’ Christians, including about 50% Protestants and 23% Catholics; yet, when asked 32% recently identified themselves as non-religious. Although Sweden and China rank significantly high in non-religious, even nations such as Israel are very secular.  By certain studies, Israel has 50% to 65% of their citizens identified as non-religious or atheists.  According to the U. S. Census Bureau International Data Base (IDB), the world population was 7.25 billion in mid-2015 or 7.3 by the PRB.  Sources list the world Christian population at 33%; yet 23% is more accurate.  About 5.6 billion or 77% of all people are non-Christians.  Between 3.7 and 4.2 billion are non-religious in that they do not practice a religion at all, or do not attend a religious service once a month.

 

Percent of Non-Christians in > 91 % of World’s Population

(CIA: World Factbook; Pew Research; UN Statistics; US Census IDB; WIN-Gallop)

 

 

Country

 

% Top Religions

Mid 2015

Population

% Non-Religious* % Non-

Christian

China B 18; C 5; M 1.8 1,365 M 89 95
India H 80; M 14; C 2 1,300 M Likely most 98
USA C 73; M 1; Jew 2; B1 321 M > 32 > 38
Indonesia M 87; C 8; H 2 255 M Likely most 92
Brazil C 89 (64% Catholic) 210 M Likely most > 20
Pakistan M 96; C 1; H 1 199 M > 15 99
Nigeria M 50; C 40 181 M > 15 > 60
Bangladesh M 88, H 9 169 M > 15 99
Russia C 40, M 10 142 M Likely most > 65
Japan Shintoism55; B 40; C 1 127 M > 85 99
Mexico C 87 (80% Catholic) 122 M Likely most > 20
Philippines C88 (81% Catholic); M 5 101 M > 10 > 15
Ethiopia C 60; M 32 99 M > 10 > 40
Vietnam B 16; C 7 94 M > 70 93
Egypt M 86; C 8 88 M > 10 92
Germany C 55 (1/2 Catholic) M3 81 M > 70 > 45
Iran M 99 81 M > 15 > 99
Turkey M 98 79 M > 17 99
Congo C 70 (50% Cath.); M10 79 M Likely most > 30
Thailand B 93; M 5; C 1 68 M > 25 99
France  C 40; M 7 66 M > 80 > 70
United Kingdom C 45; M 5; H 1 64 M > 70 > 65
Italy C 79 (most Catholic); M1 62 M Likely most > 30
Burma B 80; C 5; M 4 56 M Likely most > 95
South Africa C 79; M1 54 M > 20 > 25
Tanzania M 30; C 30 51 M Likely most > 75
South Korea C 29; B 22 49 M Most > 75
Spain C 70 (95% Catholic); M1 48 M Likely most > 35
Colombia  C 88 (90% Catholic) 47 M > 25 > 20
Kenya C 83, M 10 46 M > 10 > 20
Ukraine C 80, M 1 44 M > 25 > 25
Argentina C 76 43 M > 70 > 25
Algeria M 98 40 M > 20 99
Sudan M 70; C 5 39 M > 40 95
 

Country

 

% Top Religions

Mid 2015

Population

% Non-Religious* % Non-

Christian

Poland C 90 38 M > 20 > 20
Uganda C 82; M 11 37 M > 25 > 25
Iraq M 99 36 M > 20 > 99
Canada C 64; M 3; H 1 35 M Most > 40
Morocco M 98 C 1 33 M > 20 99
Afghanistan M 99 32 M > 20 > 99
 Peru C 86 30 M > 25 > 15
Malaysia M 62; B 19; C 9; H 6 30 M > 40 > 91
Nepal H 80; B 10; M 4 30 M > 20 > 99
Venezuela C 86 29 M > 30 > 20
Uzbekistan M 93; C 6 29 M > 20 95
Saudi Arabia  M 99 28 M > 20 > 99
Yemen M 99 27 M > 20 > 99
Ghana C 72; M 16 26 M > 40 > 30
North Korea (Juche); C1 25 M > 75 > 99
Mozambique C 55; M 18 25 M > 30 > 50
Madagascar C 50; M 10 24 M > 65 > 55
Cameroon C 50; M 21 24 M > 65 > 55
Australia C 55; B 2; M 2; H 2 23 M > 55 > 50
Cote d’Ivoire M 37; C 33 23 M > 40 > 70
Romania C 75; M 1 22 M > 30 > 20
Sri Lanka B 69; 8 H; 8 M; 6 C 22 M > 15 > 94
Angola C 60 20 M Likely Most > 40
Burkina Faso M 62; C 22 19 M > 30 > 80
Malawi C 83; M 13 18 M > 10 > 20
Niger M 95; C 1 18 M > 20 99
Kazakhstan M 70; C 25 18 M > 20 > 75
Syria M 90; C 5 17 M > 25 > 95
Chile C 80 17 M Likely Most > 30
Netherlands C 40; M 5 17 M > 65 > 65
Ecuador C 85 16 M > 20 > 20
Guatemala C 90 15 M > 20 > 20
Greece C 90; M 5 11 M > 10 > 10
Czech Rep. C 12 10.7 M > 85 > 85
 

WORLD

 

C 23 M 24 H 14 B 6

 

6.7 of 7.3 B

 

45 to 60 %

 

77%

* % Non-religious: atheist, agnostics, non-religious; Global Index, surveys, country reports

Populations are in M = Millions; B – Buddhist, C – Christian, H – Hindu, M – Muslim

Non-Christian % estimated and adjusted by studies/surveys; World Christians adjusted.

Secularism (Atheists, Agnostics & Non-religious) vs. Christian Religion: Part 1

Why the Generation Z Population will be Non-religious   

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