Religious or not, you should definitely know about the top 15 atheist or least religious countries in the world, so make sure to read until the end.
The number of religious people around the world is in decline, and for the first time, there is a country that can be marked as the “officially atheist country”, with more people who marked themselves as nonbelievers. As you probably already suppose or have read somewhere, this is also the least religious country in Europe – her Majesty Norway. In this country, even 39% of people say that they are non-believers, while only 37% say they are believers. We even discussed the similar issue, in our list of 11 Countries with Highest Atheist Population, so it might be interesting to compare. What is also interesting is that the number of believers in the United States of America is also decreasing, as one recent survey has shown that the number of atheists has doubled over the last 25 years, and the number of those who no longer pray has risen five times. An interesting research has also been conducted by Pew Research Center regarding the atheism in America, and among all interesting statistics it provided, it also said that about 53% say it is not necessary to believe in God to be moral.
Even atheists have certain philosophies that they follow and rely on, and there are certainly many philosophers that are a must read for everyone who declares as atheists. In that spirit, we also have a list that deals with Top 10 Ancient Atheist Philosophers and Their Quotes. Only if you open it, you will get the know who said:“All things are from water and all things are resolved into water.”
However, besides these nonreligious countries and nonreligious people, atheists and philosophers, there also those countries that can be marked as most religious in the world. Incredibly, as the Telegraph reports, five of the countries are on the top when it comes to this since 99% of their residents answered affirmatively on the question whether or not they are religious. Those are Ethiopia, Malawi, Niger, Sri Lanka and Yemen. Additionally, not every religion is equally popular and equally followed, which is obvious, but we also have a list that reveals the 11 Most Popular Religions in The World, and expectedly, Christianity and Islam are at the first two places.
Generally speaking, in the world of the awful history of wars in the name of God, it is interesting to think about one thing – are these least religious countries more peaceful? If you think a little bit, you’ll see that countries without religion, such as Sweden, Denmark, Norway, and Belgium are among the most peaceful and most prosperous countries in the world. On the other side, what is also quite appealing to check are the statistics about these atheist countries and crime rates. For example, as OSAC reports, crime rates in Belgium are relatively small, even decreasing from 2014. On the other side, almost the same thing goes for Norway, and the report, in this case, marks the country also as a very safe one, with the decrease of crime from 2015 in more than 4.5 %. So, although these things may be a pure coincidence when it comes to these nonreligious countries, we still must ask ourselves about the connection between the religiosity in one country and its crime rates and safety. Are religions doing their actual job, spreading love and peace all around, or simply making us hate and kill each other? The answer does not need to be black and white of course, but one thing is sure – there are many people today who misuse and misinterpret sacred texts, being one of the main reasons to have a bad picture about religions in general. Nevertheless, there are so many religious shows and documentaries that may answer some of these questions, and there is actually a list of Best Religious/Atheist Documentaries on Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, so check it out. Eventually, both believers and nonbelievers like to see a beautiful church; first group for the purpose of praying, while the latter would be more into taking photographs and admiring the architecture, being the reason why you should also check the list of Biggest Churches in Asia.
To make the list, it was more or less obvious that the best starting point is WIN-Gallup International Global Index of Religiosity and Atheism, in order to check all the tiny details and numbers when it comes to believers and nonbelievers. Additionally, if some data was missing for certain countries, I managed to find demographics on their official websites and take it from there. Most importantly, all of the information is taken from credible sources. The final ranking was made according to the number of those people who marked themselves as nonreligious and atheists and the overall number of those two categories affected the position on the list. Since many of you may wonder; what is actually the difference between being nonreligious and atheist, I will try to provide a simple explanation. Those people who regard themselves as nonreligious may be atheists, but that is not always the case. At times, they mark themselves as nonreligious, for the purpose of showing that they have certain spiritual belief, not strictly related to any religion. It can be complex, but as long as people proclaim as such, we can’t neglect it and we must take it into consideration while making the list.
So, let us see what are the top 15 atheist or least religious countries in the world.
Denmark is the country where nonreligious people count around 20% of the whole nation, while there are around 11% of declared atheists. However, it is important to know that Evangelical Lutheran is the most spread religion in this country.
There are a lot more of those people who marked themselves as nonreligious in Belgium, reaching the percentage of 32, while the atheists in this country count 9.2%. In the majority of cases, those who declared as believers belonged to some form of Christianity, although there are other religions, too.
Nonreligious people in Iceland count 31% of the whole population, while the 10% are atheists. Most of those Icelanders who are believers belong to the Lutheran State Church.
12. South Korea
We are continuing our list of atheist or least religious countries in the world with South Korea, also not a very religious country, with the number of people who marked themselves as nonreligious reaching 31%, while the number of atheists count for 15%. However, even though this country has a lot of people with no religion, it is also a home to all the world’s major religions, such as Christianity, Buddhism, Confucianism, and Islam.
Germany has the similar situation like the previous country, and the number of nonreligious people here counts for 33%, while atheists make up for the 15% of the population. Other religious people are usually Christians in this country, although it is also very diverse in that sense.
Altogether, there are more than 50% of those people who are not religious in this country, with 43% claiming they are nonreligious and 10% being atheists. Believers in this country mostly belong to Roman Catholic Church.
Ireland has literally the same position as Austria among the other atheist or least religious countries in the world: nonreligious people count 43% of the whole population, while the atheists make up for the 10% of the country’s population. The predominant religion in this country is Christianity, and the biggest group among them are Roman Catholics.
With France, we are coming to those countries with the significant percentage of atheists, that is, even 29, while the percentage of nonreligious people is slightly bigger, namely 34. It is why France is on the list of top 15 atheist or least religious countries in the world, with the strong secular system, also known as laicism, being very strict when it comes to religion in the public sphere.
In comparison to France, Netherlands still has a smaller percentage of atheists, reaching 14, but the percentage of nonreligious people being 42 is still quite significant. Regarding believers, the biggest group are Roman Catholics, counting around 11.7%.
It’s no wonder that Australia is on the list of atheist or least religious countries in the world when almost half of the population is nonreligious since there are 48% of them who declared as such, while the atheists count for 10%. However, the biggest group among those who declared as believers are Roman Catholics and Anglicans.
It is interesting that the percentage of nonreligious people and atheists in Japan is equal – 31. That makes 62% of the whole population without religion, which is a huge percentage you have to admit. Regarding the religions, Shinto and Buddhism are two major in this country.
Sweden brings us to a completely new level, with the percentage of nonreligious of “only” 18, while the atheists in this country make up for the 46%. Those who believe, in most cases, follow the Church of Sweden that professes the Lutheran faith.
Norway is also one of the leading atheist or least religious countries in the world since there are 28% of nonreligious people and 39% of atheists. Religion in Norway is in most cases Evangelical Lutheran Christianity.
2. Czech Republic
Apparently, there are only 27% of religious people in the Czech Republic, since there are 43% of nonreligious and 30% of atheists here! Among believers, Catholic Church is very dominant in this country.
China is definitely beating this, with 30% of nonreligious people and 47% of atheists. However, there are formally five religions present here; Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Protestantism, and Catholicism, but the number of believers is very small. It is why it deserves the first place among the top 15 atheist or least religious countries in the world.