New Poll Shows Atheism Up, Religiosity Down

A new poll called “Global Index of Religion and Atheism” shows atheism is gaining ground around the globe and in the United States. The same poll shows that the percentage of people identifying as religious is on the decline. To be clear, religion still rules the day with 59% of the world identifying as religious. The percentage of the world identifying as not religious was 23% and as atheist, 13%. The poll was conducted in 57 countries with interviews of 50,000 people.

Poll question: Irrespective of whether you attend a place of worship or not, would you say you are a religious person, not a religious persons or a convinced atheist?

The percentage of Americans who identified as religious was 60%, down from 73% in 2005, the last time the poll was conducted.

The seven years between the polls is notable because 2005 saw the publication of “The End of Faith” by Sam Harris, the first in a wave of best-selling books on atheism by Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett and other so-called “New Atheists.”

“The obvious implication is that this is a manifestation of the New Atheism movement,” said Ryan Cragun, a University of Tampa sociologist of religion who studies American and global atheism.

Still, Cragun does not believe the poll shows more people are becoming atheists, but rather that more people are willing to identify as atheists.

Another possible factor may be the number of atheists within organized efforts by American atheist groups to encourage those who do not believe in God to say so publicly. The Out Campaign, a project of the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science, was launched in 2007 and has since been endorsed by several national atheist groups. – The Washington Post

Some more stats from the poll:

Top Ten Atheist Populations

  • 47% – China
  • 31% – Japan
  • 30% – Czech Republic
  • 29% – France
  • 15% – South Korea
  • 15% – Germany
  • 14% – Netherlands
  • 10% – Austria
  • 10% – Iceland
  • 10% – Australia
  • 10% – Ireland

Top Ten Religious Populations

  • 96% – Ghana
  • 93% – Nigeria
  • 92% – Armenia
  • 92% – Fiji
  • 90% – Macedonia
  • 89% – Romania
  • 88% – Iraq
  • 88% – Kenya
  • 86% – Peru
  • 85% – Brazil

Globally, those claiming to be religious, drops by 9%, while atheism rises by 3%.

Top Ten Countries Experiencing Decline In Religiosity (since 2005)

  • -23% – Vietnam
  • -22% – Ireland
  • -21% – Switzerland
  • -21% – France
  • -19% – South Africa
  • -17% – Iceland
  • -15% – Equador
  • -13% – United States
  • -12% – Canada
  • -10% – Austria
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Human Interest

#atheism#Atheist#Christopher Hitchens#Daniel Dennett#poll#religion#religiosity#Richard Dawkins#Sam Harris

  • Steve

    Interesting. Are any countries showing an *increase* in religiosity during that same period?

    • Yes, according to the poll/report, these countries saw an increase in religiosity: Macedonia, Romania, Peru, Pakistan, Moldova, Malaysia, Serbia, Italy, Ukraine, Finland, Netherlands. Most are only a few percentage point increases.