Religious/Atheist surveys: results and looking for participants

The Pew Forum released it’s report on The Global Religious Landscape, with data pulled from a variety of different surveys taken all around the world, a few days ago. I’ve only read through the executive summary but it looks like the report contains all sorts of maps and numbers to satisfy anyone’s curiosity. According to current data, the biggest religious group is Christian (31,5%), Muslim (23,2%), unaffiliated (16,3%) and Hindus (15%). No other group had more than 10%. The unaffiliated are not necessarily atheist though as it includes people who are religious but not part of any organised religion. I’m not sure if the full report has more information on the prevalence of atheism or not but there are two projects I’m aware of that are trying to look global atheism in more detail.

The first is very basic. The Atheist Census is collecting just a tiny bit of information and counting the atheists in each country. Currently it’s counted a little over 89 000 atheists globally with the US contributing the most. Rather surprisingly, to me anyway, is that Brazil currently has the second highest number of atheists. South Africa just has 900 counted so far, though that’s more than the rest of Africa combined. Their data also shows atheists are fairly young, well-educated, male and with a Christian or irreligious background.

There’s a more detailed survey that needs participants over here which I found out about on Pharyngula. The results from that survey are not available live but there is a blog that has some information on their results. It can’t really hurt to answer the survey and just a few minutes of time will help people learn more about atheism.


2 thoughts on “Religious/Atheist surveys: results and looking for participants

  1. The country specific data of the Pew “Research” Report is useless. Probably the Global estimate of 16 % Atheists is not too far off, but take a country like Denmark, – (I am Danish). The data says 83 % of us are Christians, which is a joke, since more than 80 % of us are self-defined Atheists ! – The mistake is due to the fact that church and state are still not seperated, and most of us can’t be bothered to “sign out” from our Church-membership, that none of us asked for when we were born. – Take another country: Israel: The data says nearly all Israelis are “affiliated” with the Jewish FAITH, which, again, is nonsense, but because of it, the number of atheists, or “unaffiliated” are a fraction only of the real numbers. I haven’t studied the report in detail, but these two examples alone are enough for me to take figures with a bit more than just a grain of salt !
    My own last three blog-posts are about atheism and the religious / religulous.. landscape:

    Ps. Which BEAUTIFUL city is it I see at the top of your blog ? – South Africa ?

  2. I haven’t gone through all the country-specific data, nor would I know what to expect there, but that does sound like a rather serious error. It’s worth bearing in mind where they’ve made mistakes like that but I just can’t go through and check everything.

    Their number for South Africa (14,9%) does match the 2001 census data (15,1%) but I’m not sure how they got their figure. From what I’ve heard the census is the only reliable count available here so I’m guessing that was where they got the majority of their data.

    Yes, it’s Cape Town and Table Mountain at the tip of South Africa. It’s where I live.

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