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Religion Statistics

Religious Landscape Worldwide

Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religious & Public Life conducted their Global Religious Landscape survey in 2012. Below, you can see a map with their findings on Majority Religions, by country. Some other notable findings are:

  • Worldwide, more than 8 in 10 people identify with a religious group. Of theseGlobal Religious Landscape_Pew Research Center
    • 32% are Christians,
    • 23% are Muslims,
    • 15% are Hindus,
    • 6% practice folk or traditional religions,
    • 7% are Buddhists,
    • .2% are Jews,
    • And .8% belong to “other religions,” including Baha’i, Jainism, Sikhism, Taoism, Wicca, and others.
  • Worldwide, roughly 1 in 6 people (just over 16%) have no religious affiliation. This makes the unaffiliated the 3rd largest “religious” group worldwide. Three-fourths of the unaffiliated live in the Asia-Pacific region.
  • Almost three-fourths (73%) of people live in countries where their religion holds the majority.

Majority Religion By Country

Religious Landscape of America

Based on interviews with more than 35,000 Americans age 18 and older, the U.S. Religious Landscape Survey finds that religious affiliation in the U.S. is both very diverse and extremely fluid.major_religious_traditions_pew

  • 28% American adults have left the faith in which they were raised in favor of another religion or no religion at all.
  • 44% of adults have either switched religious affiliation, moved from being unaffiliated with any religion to being affiliated with a particular faith, or dropped any connection to a specific religious tradition altogether.
  • Of Americans ages 18-29, one-in-four say they are not currently affiliated with any particular religion.


  • The Midwest most closely resembles the religious makeup of the overall population. Much of the rest of the country is concentrated:
    • South: Concentration of evangelical Protestants
    • Northeast: Concentration of Catholics
    • West: Largest proportion of unaffiliated people (including atheists and agnostics)

Age, Gender, and Race Factors

  • People not affiliated with any particular religion and Muslims stand out for their relative youth compared with other religious traditions.
  • By contrast, members of mainline Protestant churches and Jews are older, on average, than members of other groups.
  • Men are significantly more likely than women to claim no religious affiliation (approx 20% vs. 13%).
  • Of all the major racial and ethnic groups in the United States, black Americans are the most likely to report a formal religious affiliation.

Conversion and Retention

  • In sharp contrast to Islam and Hinduism, Buddhism in the U.S. is made up primarily of whites and converts: nearly 3 in 4 Buddhists say they are converts to Buddhism.
  • Jehovah’s Witnesses have the lowest retention rate of any religious tradition.
  • The Landscape Survey confirms that the United States is on the verge of becoming a minority Protestant country. The number of Americans who report that they are members of Protestant denominations now stands at barely 51%.

Family and Marriage

  • Among people who are married, nearly four-in-ten (37%) are married to a spouse with a different religious affiliation. (This figure includes Protestants who are married to another Protestant from a different denominational family.)
  • Hindus and Mormons are the most likely to be married and to be married to someone of the same religion, and Mormons and Muslims have the largest families.

Source:  Pew Forum’s U.S. Religious Landscape Survey — 2007

Religious Distribution per State

American Religious Bodies per State

Christianity remains the largest religious tradition in every U.S. state. Islam is most prevalent non-Christian faith in 20 states in South and Midwest while Judaism is the second biggest religion in 14 states and Washington D.C. Buddhism is the second largest religion in 13 states in the West and Hinduism is second in Arizona and Delaware. Baha’i is listed as the second most prevalent in South Carolina.

Source: Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies

© 2019 CYS

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