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12.11: Religious Demographics

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  • Major_religions_distribution.png
    Figure \(\PageIndex{1}\) - Major Religions of the World (2009)

    The five largest religious groups by world population, estimated to account for 5.8 billion people and 84% of the population, are Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism (with the relative numbers for Buddhism and Hinduism dependent on the extent of syncretism) and traditional folk religion.

    Five largest religions 2010 (billion)[10] 2010 (%) 2000 (billion)[62][63] 2000 (%) Demographics
    Christianity 2.2 32% 2.0 33% Christianity by country
    Islam 1.6 23% 1.2 19.6% Islam by country
    Hinduism 1.0 15% 0.811 13.4% Hinduism by country
    Buddhism 0.5 7% 0.360 5.9% Buddhism by country
    Folk religion 0.4 6% 0.385 6.4%
    Total 5.8 84% 4.8 78.3%

    A global poll in 2012 surveyed 57 countries and reported that 59% of the world’s population identified as religious, 23% as not religious, 13% as “convinced atheists”, and also a 9% decrease in identification as “religious” when compared to the 2005 average from 39 countries.[64] A follow up poll in 2015 found that 63% of the globe identified as religious, 22% as not religious, and 11% as “convinced atheists”.[65] On average, women are “more religious” than men.[66] Some people follow multiple religions or multiple religious principles at the same time, regardless of whether or not the religious principles they follow traditionally allow for syncretism.[67][68][69]


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