This article was originally published by Big Think
by Frank Jacobs
26 March 2019
photo above: Devotees try to form a human pyramid to break a clay pot, to mark the Hindu festival of Janmashtami in Mumbai; Image: REUTERS/Danish Siddiqu
WN: A fascinating series of infographics with commentary tells the story.
A picture says more than a thousand words, and that goes for this world map as well. This map conveys not just the size but also the distribution of world religions, at both a global and national level.
Strictly speaking it’s an infographic rather than a map, but you get the idea. The circles represent countries, their varying sizes reflect population sizes, and the slices in each circle indicate religious affiliation.
The result is both panoramic and detailed. In other words, this is the best, simplest map of world religions ever. Some quick takeaways:
- Christianity (blue) dominates in the Americas, Europe and the southern half of Africa.
- Islam (green) is the top religion in a string of countries from northern Africa through the Middle East to Indonesia.
- India stands out as a huge Hindu bloc (dark orange).
- Buddhism (light orange) is the majority religion in South East Asia and Japan.
- China is the country with the world’s largest ‘atheist/agnostic’ population (grey) as well as worshippers of ‘other’ religions (yellow).
- The Americas are (mostly) solidly Christian
But the map – based on figures from the World Religion Database (behind a paywall) – also allows for some more detailed observations.
Yes, the United States is majority Christian, but the atheist/agnostic share of its population alone is bigger than the total population of most other countries, in the Americas and elsewhere. Uruguay has the highest share of atheists/agnostics in the Americas. Other countries with a lot of ‘grey’ in their pies include Canada, Cuba, Argentina and Chile.
All belief systems represented on the scale below are present in the US and Canada. Most other countries in the Americas are more mono-religiously Christian, with ‘other’ (often syncretic folk religions such as Candomblé in Brazil or Santería in Cuba) the only main alternative.
Guyana, Suriname and Trinidad & Tobago are the only American nations with significant shares of Hindus, as well as the largest share of Muslim populations – and consequently have the lowest share of Christians in the Americas (just under half in the case of Suriname).
Please click on: World’s Major Religions in One Map