World Population by religions

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According to David Barrett et al, editors of the “World Christian Encyclopedia: A comparative survey of churches and religions – AD 30 to 2200,” there are 19 major world religions which are subdivided into a total of 270 large religious groups, and many smaller ones. Most people in the world follow one of the religions listed in the table below. Included is the name of the religion, the approximate date of its origin, its main sacred or ethical texts (if any) and its estimated numerical strength (both in absolute numbers and as a percentage of the world’s population.)

These data are based on census or public opinion data. Thus, a person is considered to be of a particular religion if they say that they are of that faith. 

Statistics of the world’s religions are only very rough approximations.

Religion Date Founded Sacred Texts Members % of World
Christianity 30 CE The Bible 2,015 million 33% (dropping)
Islam 622 CE Qur’an & Hadith 1,215 million 20% (growing)
No religion * No date None 925 million 15% (dropping)
Hinduism 1,500 BCE The Veda 786 million 13% (stable)
Buddhism 523 BCE The Tripitaka 362 million 6% (stable)
Atheists No date None 211 million 4%
Chinese folk rel. 270 BCE None 188 million 4%
New Asian rel. Various Various 106 million 2%
Tribal Religions Prehistory Oral tradition 91 million 2%
Other Various Various 19 million <1%
Sikhism 1500 CE Guru Granth Sahib 16 million <1%
Judaism No consensus Torah, Talmud 18 million <1%
Shamanists Prehistory Oral Tradition 12 million <1%
Spiritism     7 million <1%
Confucianism 520 BCE Lun Yu 5 million <1%
Baha’i Faith 1863 CE Most Holy Book 4 million <1%
Jainism 570 BCE Siddhanta, Pakrit 3 million <1%
Shinto 500 CE Kojiki, Nohon Shoki 3 million <1%
Zoroastrianism No consensus Avesta 0.2 million <1%

* Persons with no religion, agnostics, freethinkers, humanists,  secularists, etc.


The map shows concentration of Muslim population by region.
There are about 6 – 7 million Muslims in the US.


J.W. Wright, Editor, “The Universal Almanac, 1996“, Andrews & McMeel, Kansas City.
Greg H. Parsons, Executive Director, “U.S. Center for World Mission,” Pasadena, CA; quoted in Zondervan News Service, 1997-FEB-21.
Quoted in Religion Today‘s Current News Summary for 1999-OCT-19.
2000-JAN data from the Global Evangelization Movement as reported in ReligionToday on 2000-JAN-10. Based on a total world’s population of 6,091.351,000 people.