World Population by religions

Category: Faith & Spirituality, Life & Society Topics: Christianity Views: 87474

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.

  Category: Faith & Spirituality, Life & Society
  Topics: Christianity
Views: 87474

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Older Comments:
Hindu relegion is older one but can not explain why a human have
come in this world and where is the catalogue which can guide a
human being for a right path to live. Is the god so week that he can
not explain the human being that what is the proper way to perform
his puja(prayer). In hindu relegion nobody knows what is the perfect
way to perform puja because hindu relegion has no book which has
been revealed by god. All of the books are written by hindus itself.
while in islam there is only one book quran worldwide. this book is
revealed by god itself over to muhammad(saw).One miracle of this is
that from its revelation till now a single word had not been changed
while 1435 years has been passed. One more miracle is that In this
book god itself revealed and claimed that untill dooms day no body
can change a single word in this book means god itself protects this
book.this book fully explains a human being existence in this world
and also explains that after death where he should have to dwell.

from darkness to light, Islam the solution for humanity.... So please gain knowledge about Islam....

I am Muslim so Islam is great for me

The first religion is islam (adam)another name adam avva (Eswara

I believe in islam. Islam is a religious religion we believe in God. Wuran.Amd. prophet there is facts of the world in islam islam teaches us the right way of the life

Islam is a holy and rapid growing religion of the world.

Think which is the first Religion on the Earth. The HINDU. called
sanatan (Oldest and perfect for mankind). So adopt it.

I am a Christian convert, and to me, i love christianity, because this is about my friendship with God who provide me endless love and guidance in the midst of trouble. Jesus is only preach about love, and i don't see this Great Love in others.

The greatest 2 commandments Jesus has taught are: 1) to love God (Jehovah) and 2) to love humans (including our enemies). Don't you think that if we do, we accomplish the will of God?

To Greg Howard!

Blessings of Allah are not measured by our standards of economic success. Just because somebody is poor, does not make them cursed. As for violence, there is violence in every part of the world, including US. There is poverty in US too. Is US cursed?

Instead of worrying about if somebody else is cursed or not, why not thank Almighty God for all that he has given you and that you are not facing any hardships?

To Greg Howard, Islam is the fastest growing religion in Europe and America. The future also looks extremely bright among the Hispanic communities as some of them already have started to learn how brutally Christians treated the American Indians and Moorish people in Spain.

more prnter-friendly formats would be helpful. Great site. Cannot thank you enough.

I teach Church History in a Catholic high school, and am completing a MS degree in teaching history. The focus of my thesis project is Islam. I am very grateful to have found The site's direct content, as well as your links to others sites, has proven most helpful to me. I hope that my small effort will be an aid to better understanding of Islam among Christians. Thanks.

The highlighted regions showing Muslim countries appear to be the places that have the highest poverty rate, highest violence and most disasters. How can Allah be blessing those highlighted countries - they appear to be cursed not blessed.

Bluesgang Ref 2593 quoted some examples in Malaysia where references were made to 'crazy' ulama's. Perhaps he should also ask himself like he did to Jill Smith - Have you ever thought about the truth?

hello.i think that religion is not to be meddled with and a person has the right to express their worship but in no circumstances by the concept of violence pain or war!
politics are intervened with religion.muslims are not hated and we do get along god knows i live study and am in love with 1 but i mingle with many asian cultures white black sikh and as i am hindu i oppose to war or any hatred to each other!!!!???

In response to Jill Smith who is quoted as
"Maybe if people understood each other they
would be enlightened, but the muslims I know
don't want to learn about anyone else, they
think they know it all..."
My question: Could that quote be any more
stereotypical? I'm sorry but I disagree with
your assertion. While there are many Muslims
guilty of what you claim, there are many more
that are not. There are many Muslims who
know much about Christianity and give it its
fair share. (I personally always aim to be as
objective and educated as possible, mainly
asking educated Christians about their
religion). Some Muslims were even educated
Christians at one point in their lives. Perhaps
it is not just ignorant Muslims that need to
better understand others? Please do not take
this personally, I am attacking your ideas and
not you. May God bless us all.

With such great statistics by our side, it's really a pity that we were not even able to stop US bombing of Afganistan during Ramdan month. Inspite of suffering for years and Kuwait, Arabia Bahrain virtually goung bankrupt in paying US war costs, the Muslim countries are nowhere on talking terms to sort their issues out peacefully. Who is guiding spirit and is there someone we follow. We are Shias, Sunnis, Wahhabis, Salaafis, Ahl-e-sunnas, Ismailis...but WHERE ARE THESE 1215 Million Muslims? We are all "kaafirs" to one another.

Message 2560 below by Labina, speaks a million words in hundred.

This message to Sir Jill Smith & Baroness LauraP

I know that some of the non-muslims/western can't accept the facts about this matter, but you must remember this survey is done by a non-muslim : David Barrett et al, editors of the "World Christian Encyclopedia.

So don't get angry easily, if you want to get angry get angry at the surveyor not this islamicity website....ok.

And one more message....Have you ever thought about the truth?

I beieve the world out there is danger to those don't know the real world that they are living in today.

A friend told me to look at this site, I find it interesting, but this article is misleading as someone put "dropping" in the Christianity column. It is a fact that it is not, that born again Christians are growing and that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) is the fastet growing church in the WORLD. It is sad that people still have not lerned the GOLDEN RULE - DO UNTO OTHERS AS YOU WOULD HAVE THEM DO UNTO YOU! So, when people hurt and kill others, I guess that means they would have it done to them. I suggest the book I am reading called "The Unholy War" It is a journalistic approach to what is happening in our world. Maybe if people understood each other they would be enlightened, but the muslims I know don't want to learn about anyone else, they think they know it all, but by the missionary tract that I was given, with the completely wrong biblical quotes, I know they DO NOT!

In the United States the Muslim population has been increasing since the early 1970's; even with all the negative comments by our news media and our United States government about the religion of Islam. There are still people here in the United States that are interested in learning about Islam and are amazed to find out that we have the same prophets that the Christian and Jewish religions have; except of course the last prophet of Islam, the Prophet Muhhamed (pbuh). I think Dawah needs to be done on a daily basis here in the United States and we as Muslims must not be quiet or scared to speak the truth about our religion of Islam. We must make the United States people understand what our religion is really about. That we have been protrayed as terrorist in the West viewpoint and they consider our way of life not being the same quality as theirs. When we come across non-muslims talking about Islam we should take part in their conversations to try to explain the truths about the current situation in the world.And try to make them realize that there is not just one way of life (the American way), but that Islam has it's own way of life that should not be interfeared with by the western cultures. That a lot of our muslims countries still have extended family units, that our women still remain modest in appearance and action, that we consider Allah to worship and love. That Allah is the God of Abraham, the same God that Moses(pbuh)worshiped, and the same God that Jesus worshiped. We must show by our life example also, not to get caught up in there way of life. We Must remain strong in our Islam and not compermise our belief system at any cause.
Camilla Khan (an American Muslim)

It is very informative to know the statistics of religions. After all the humanity is seeking ways to find peace, and that is probably the reason as to why Islam has been growing in spite of negative media coverage. It is the fastest growing religion in USA, Canada, France and England. And out of all the factors contributing to this rise is conversion. So many people are embracing Islam around the world after knowing the truth about it. But, the point is how much we muslims are contributing to the proper understanding of Islam when the world population is starving to learn its authenticity amid media onslaught. See, Islam would grow any way as it has been growing even now in spite of all our incompetence. While figures are there to inspire us, it is not the number that does the job, it is faith, devotion in Allah ( almighty ), proper understanding and following Islam that would carry the day. This was clear even at the time of Prophet ( peace be upon him ). History reveals that so many times muslims performed far better while living in minority. And that can happen even now. Let us see how many Iqbals, Ibn Sinas, and Ayyubis are there now in a population of more than a billion.
May Allah bless us so that we may lead the suffering humanity out of darkness and thereby succeed here and hereafter.

The map is missing North and South America. Also, in reply to LauraP, I would like to say that your statement "I wonder how many of the world's Muslims would be Muslim if they were free to choose. Very few, I suspect. " is conjecture and an attempt to mislead. Most Muslims in the world really do think that Islam is a great religion and are happy that they are Muslims. I hope this clarifies your doubts.

Thanks to Allah for also bringing me in this life as a muslim... This study shows clearly that Islam is the number one in fact the only growing religion in the world... It is time for the true guidance to save this world from demise... I think we muslims should be very grateful about our Islam and go back to its priniciples and teach others about it.

The statistics by itself does not matter much, although they are indeed a solace, keeping our pitiable condition in the world politics and technology endeavours.
With Quran as our guiding force and Eeman in the Day of Judgement, even if we belong to a group of double digit millions instead of three digits, we would be much better off and have more say in the World.
Let's not be complascent and find refuge in theses figures but strive to emulate this Quranic verse in our lives: "You are the best of peoples, evolved for mankind, enjoining what is right, forbidding what is wrong, and believing in Allah...(Al Imran:110)"

..and then see, the difference we make on this planet! Afterall, We have done it once.

Quite interesting, for me Islam should do better...Muslims must start to realize that the end is near, numbers are not so important the quality is important, Allah doesn't want any money or anything from you just loyalty.

And Islam have been tainted with fanatism and splitting among the brothers. I hope muslims could use their mind and brains to bring back Islam where it should be, don't just simply follow crazy ulama's with crazy fatwa's.

Pretending to be ulama's and create new fatwa's and shouting jihad in order to split and chaos inside the Islam Ummah is not new. In our country, one pious guy shouting jihad and even call our prime minister an anti-christ and the victim is the youngsters and university student. He ask them not to go to school and knowledge is not important only destroying the government is jihad. But when our authority caught him, he actually works for the foreigners, just to delay and stop our progress and development.Just imagine using Islam to split us, Lucky Allah saved us for now. In Malaysia we don't care whether he is an ulama or whatever, if he is trying to split our people he will go to jail without trial.

I hope the Arab world could learn from us, and just simply catch the ulama's with the crazy fatwa's, and u might shock when you know his true colors.

I'm still wandering who is actually Osama Ben Laden.....still remain undead...and still wandering around...Is US really serious about this guy or it just something else......Think about it...Allah want us to think...not just to follow

Please muslims, be careful....wild world outhere

Assalam alaikum,
It is surprising to note that the most influential religion in the world is missing there.I am talking about the religion called 'capitalism'.All the other religion except Islam do not have the sophistication to deal with todays problems.Islam is the most comprehensive religion for all times.But since the last khilafah was destroyed Islam has been reduced to a set of individuals rituals thanks to the work done by the christian missioneries.The religion of capitalism appeared in the scene after the muslims had lost supremacy in the world political arena.I call capitalism a religion because it affects every sphere of our practical life.There is no point of talking about other religions(except Islam)since their domain is the so called 'spiritual' domain.Lets examine in detail about this religion called capitalism.The kalimah of this religion is 'Interest is everything,there is no diety other than interest'.Consumerism have to be on the minds of the followers(like Taqwa) of this religion all the time since the mass production and mass consumerism are the sustainers of this religion.UN headquarters is the Grand mosque of this religion and also the Qibla for other nations to seek solutions for their problems.Imam W.George Bush and Imam Blair are the current grand Muftis of this religion.Their pilgrimage can be seen 24 hours a day through CNN which also happens to be the tool which capitalism uses to make the azaan for their prayer.The fatwas made by these 2 Imams can be most devastating for it can create employment on one part of the region it can destabilize another region.The shariah of this religion is written by the mullahs of Multi national corporation .Here are some of the azaans(call for prayer) of capitalism:
1.Just Do It(Nike commercial)
2.Obey Your Thirst(American commercial for Sprite)

Here is an authentic Hadith by the one of the junior Imams of this religion:

"I would'nt give a damn if Kuwait grew carrots"

I must make some correction to the year when you say that Islam was founded. Islam was founded the day that the universe was created. It was practiced by humanity's first prophet, Adam and the religion was not founded but rather completed by Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace. Please change the time founded to unknown. Thanks.

Misleading map. It's missing all of North and South America. Your stat of 6 million Muslims in the Americas is controversial, and unsupported by any valid study. (

I wonder how many of the world's Muslims would be Muslim if they were free to choose. Very few, I suspect.


very informatic for all of us

Islam is the best religion in the religion and it is a religion ideal for an ideal living in the wicked temporary world.
Thank you Almighty Allah for making me a Moslem.
May you guide me in the correct path.