- Religionists account for 88.4% of the world’s population in 2013, up from 80.8% in 1970, according to the book.
- The world is becoming increasingly religious, from about 80% in 1970, projected to be over 90% by 2030.
Muslims were the largest religious community in Asia by the year 2000 at 24%, growing to 26% by 2013, and expected to grow to 29% by 2030, largely through growth in Western and South-eastern Asia.
In Latin America. Spiritists are the third-largest religious group (2.2% in 2013), rising from 1.6% in 1970.
Large numbers of Muslims, Buddhists, and Hindus have moved to Northern America, especially in the latter half the twentieth century. By 2013, Muslims grew to 5.3 million, Buddhists to 4.6 million, and Hindus to 1.9 million in the region.
And, nearly every major world religion present in Oceania experienced significant growth in the twentieth century (in terms of numbers of adherents). Between 1970 and 2013, the number of Christians in Oceania grew substantially, from 18.2 million to 28.2 million, with projected growth to 33 million by 2030.
The Yearbook of International Religious Demography presents an annual snapshot of the state of religious statistics around the world. Every year, large amounts of data are collected through censuses, surveys, polls, religious communities, scholars, and a host of other sources. These data are collated and analyzed by research centers and scholars around the world. Large amounts of data appear in analyzed form in the World Religion Database (Brill), aiming at a researcher’s audience. The Yearbook presents data in sets of tables and scholarly articles spanning social science, demography, history, and geography. Each issue offers findings, sources, methods, and implications surrounding international religious demography. Each year an assessment is made of new data made available since the previous issue of the yearbook.
POINTS OF INTEREST:
- In 2013, Asia had 5 times as many atheists and agnostics as Europe.
- Muslims are expected to grow twice as fast from 2013 to 2030 in Africa as they are in Europe.
- Protestantism and Catholicism are reported as likely independent predictors of fertility rates in Nigeria, with women from those traditions reporting lower rates of children ever born. Muslim women were more likely to report high fertility, early marriage and childbirth, and non-use of any modern contraceptives.
- Christians in Europe are relatively old, with a median age of 41.7 years; among 25–44 year olds, 72% are Christian, compared to 84% of the 65+ population. Muslim age-relation in Europe goes the other way since most Muslims are fairly recent migrants.
- In Mongolia, both Buddhist and non-religious women experienced fertility decline in the early 1990s and 2000s; however, in the mid-2000s Buddhist women reached a lower level of fertility than those from non-religious households and have fewer children.
- Each of the continents is becoming more religiously diverse over time.
- Religious affiliation is likely to have independent influence on childbearing behavior in Nigeria: Affiliation with Protestantism and Catholicism might not significantly predict childbearing behavior among women in Nigeria, but affiliation with Islam is a significant independent predictor of childbearing behavior.
- In 2013, in Buddhist-majority Thailand there were 4,977 churches and 391,138 Christians.
- After experiencing dramatic growth in the early twentieth century, followed by significant declines later in the century, both agnostics and atheists are found in nearly every country today.
- The largest non-religious population in the world is in China, and North Korea is the most non-religious country by percentage.
Part 1: The World by Religion (19 religions)
Part 2: Religions by Region (6 UN regions)
Part 3: Case Studies and Methods
- Measuring Jewish Populations
- Correlates of Religion and Childbearing Behavior in Nigeria
- What Made Jews a Demographic Avant-Garde
- The Size and Demographic Structure of Religions in Europe
- Integrity and the Counting of Christians in Thailand
- Fertility Trends by Religion in Mongolia
- Residential Patterns by Religion and Ethnicity in Vienna
- Methodology of the Pew Research Global Religious Landscape Study
Part 4: Data Sources
* Editors: Brian J. Grim, Ph.D. (2005), Pennsylvania State University, is President of the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation. He was previously Director of Cross-National Data and Senior Researcher in religion and world affairs at the Pew Research Center’s religion & public life project. Todd M. Johnson, Ph.D. (1993), William Carey International University, is Associate Professor of Global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He is co-author of the World Christian Encyclopedia (Oxford, 2001) and of the Atlas of Global Christianity (Edinburgh, 2009). Vegard Skirbekk, Ph.D. (2005), Rostock University, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), is head of the Age and Cohort Change Project, Professor at Jacobs University, and Senior Researcher at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. His research is on religious fertility differentials and the global distribution and future of religion. Gina A. Zurlo (Ph.D. candidate), Boston University, is a Research Associate at Boston University’s Institute of Culture, Religion and World Affairs and Assistant Director of the Center for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.
The book can be purchased here.