Demographics of atheism
|Part of a series on|
A 2012 poll on the demographics of atheism by Gallup International, featuring over 50,000 respondents worldwide, recorded that 13% of those interviewed said they were "convinced atheists". Other studies have concluded that atheists comprise anywhere from 2% to 8% of the world's population, with irreligious individuals adding a further 10% to 20%. In Scandinavia and East Asia, and particularly in China, atheists and the nonreligious are the majority. Globally, atheists and the nonreligious are concentrated in Asia and the Pacific with over 76% of all the irreligious or nonreligious residing in those regions. In Europe, the nonreligious make up 12.5% of the population and in North America they make up 5% of the population. In Africa and South America, atheists are typically in the single digits.
Historical records of atheist philosophy span several millennia. Atheistic schools are found in early Indian thought and have existed from the times of the historical Vedic religion. Western atheism has its roots in pre-Socratic Greek philosophy, but did not emerge as a distinct world-view until the late Enlightenment.
Discrepancies exist among sources as to how atheist and religious demographics are changing. Social scientific assessment of the extent of "atheism" in various populations is problematic. First, in most of the world outside of East Asia most populations are believers in either a monotheistic or polytheistic system. Consequently questions to assess non belief often take the form of any negation of the prevailing belief rather than an assertion of positive atheism and these will then be accounted accurately to rising "atheism". According to the 2012 Gallup International survey, the number of atheists is on the rise across the world, with religiosity generally declining. However, other global studies have indicated that global atheism may be in decline due to irreligious countries having the lowest birth rates in the world and religious countries having higher birth rates in general.
- 1 Studies and statistics
- 2 Geographic distribution
- 2.1 Asia
- 2.2 North America
- 2.3 South America
- 2.4 Europe
- 2.5 Australasia
- 2.6 Africa
- 3 References
Studies and statistics
The demographics of atheism are substantially difficult to quantify. Different people interpret atheism and related terms differently, and it can be hard to draw boundaries between atheism, nonreligious beliefs, and nontheistic religious and spiritual beliefs. Furthermore, atheists may not report themselves as such, to prevent suffering from social stigma, discrimination, and persecution in some countries.
Because some governments have strongly promoted atheism and others have strongly condemned it, atheism may be either over-reported or under-reported for different countries. There is a great deal of room for debate as to the accuracy of any method of estimation, as the opportunity for misreporting (intentionally or not) a category of people without an organizational structure is high. Also, many surveys on religious identification ask people to identify themselves as "agnostics" or "atheists", which is potentially confusing, since these terms are interpreted differently, with some identifying themselves as being agnostic atheists. Additionally, many of these surveys only gauge the number of irreligious people, not the number of actual atheists, or group the two together. For example, research indicates that the fastest growing religious status may be "no religion" in the United States, but this includes all kinds of atheists, agnostics, and theists. Non-religious people make up 9.66%, while one fifth of them are atheists.
Statistics on atheism are often difficult to represent accurately for a variety of reasons. Atheism is a position compatible with other forms of identity. Some atheists also consider themselves Agnostic, Buddhist, Hindu, Jains, Taoist, or hold other related philosophical beliefs. Some, like Secular Jews and Shintoists, may indulge in some religious activities as a way of connecting with their culture, all the while being atheist. Therefore, given limited poll options, some may use other terms to describe their identity. Some politically motivated organizations that report or gather population statistics may, intentionally or unintentionally, misrepresent atheists. Survey designs may bias results due to the nature of elements such as the wording of questions and the available response options. Also, many atheists, particularly former Catholics and former Mormons, are still counted as Christians in church rosters, although surveys generally ask samples of the population and do not look in church rosters. Other Christians believe that "once a person is [truly] saved, that person is always saved", a doctrine known as eternal security. Statistics are generally collected on the assumption that religion is a categorical variable. Instruments have been designed to measure attitudes toward religion, including one that was used by L. L. Thurstone. This may be a particularly important consideration among people who have neutral attitudes, as it is more likely that prevailing social norms will influence the responses of such people on survey questions that effectively force respondents to categorize themselves either as belonging to a particular religion or belonging to no religion. A negative perception of atheists and pressure from family and peers may also cause some atheists to disassociate themselves from atheism. Misunderstanding of the term may also be a reason some label themselves differently.
For example, a Canadian poll released September 12, 2011 sampled 1,129 Canadian adults and collected data on the numbers of declared atheists. These numbers conflicted with the latest Canadian census data that pre-supposed that a religious affiliation predisposed a belief in a deity and was based on a poorly worded question. A quote from the study:
The data also revealed some interesting facts about Canadians beliefs:
- A majority (53%) of Canadians believe in God. What is of particular interest is that 28% of Protestants, 33% of Catholics, and 23% of those who attend weekly religious services do not.
- One quarter (23%) of those with no religious identity still believe in a God.
A study on personality and religiosity found that members of secular organizations (like the international Center for Inquiry) have similar personality profiles to members of religious groups. This study found that members of secular organizations are very likely to label themselves primarily as "atheists", but also very likely to consider themselves humanists. It was also found that secular group members show no significant differences in their negative or positive affect. The surveyed individuals also had similar profiles for conscientiousness (discipline or impulse control, and acting on values like "pursuit of truth"). Secular group members tended to be less agreeable (e.g. more likely to hold unpopular, socially challenging views), as well as more open minded (e.g. more likely to consider new ideas) than members of religious groups. Luke Galen, a personality researcher, writes "Many previously reported characteristics associated with religiosity are a function not of belief itself, but of strong convictions and group identification."
Though atheists are in the minority in most countries, they are relatively common in Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and in former and present communist states. A 2012 Pew Research study found 16 percent of the global population to be unaffiliated with a religion. It is difficult to determine actual atheist numbers. What is certain is that in some areas of the world (such as Europe and South America) atheism and secularization are increasing, and in other areas of the world (such as former Communist states like Russia), atheism is decreasing. This shifting data of these populations makes assessment difficult. Furthermore, the conflation of terms such as atheist, agnostic, non-religious and non-theist add to confusion among poll data.
A 2002 survey by Adherents.com, which estimates the proportion of the world's people who are "secular, non-religious, agnostics and atheists" at about 14%. In a 2010 global study, atheists and the nonreligious were concentrated in Asia and the Pacific with over 76% of all the irreligious or nonreligious residing in those regions. In Europe, the nonreligious made up 12.5% of the population and in North America they made up 5% of the population. A 2004 survey by the BBC in 10 countries showed the proportion of the population "who don't believe in God" varying between 0% (Nigeria) and 39% (UK), with an average close to 17% in the countries surveyed. About 8% of the respondents stated specifically that they consider themselves to be atheists. 65% of those polled in a 2011 survey by the British Humanist Association answered no to the question "Are you religious?". A 2004 survey by the CIA in the World Factbook estimates about 12.5% of the world's population are non-religious, and about 2.4% are atheists. A 2012 survey by the Pew Research Center showed that in the United States, one third of people under 30, 21% of people between the ages of 30-49, 15% of people between the ages of 50-64 and 9% of people over the age of 65 could be characterized as religiously unaffiliated, however, 68% of the unaffiliated expressed belief in God and out the whole US population, only 2.4% self identified as "atheist". A 2013 poll by UPI/Harris showed that three-quarters of U.S. adults say they believe in God, down from 82 percent in 2005, 2007 and 2009, a Harris Poll indicates. Just under 2-in-10 U.S. adults described themselves as very religious, with an additional 4-in-10 describing themselves as somewhat religious down from 49 percent in 2007. Twenty-three percent of Americans identified themselves as not at all religious, nearly double the 12 percent reported in 2007. A 2005 poll by AP/Ipsos surveyed ten countries. Of the developed nations, people in the United States were "most sure" of the existence of God or a higher power (2% atheist, 4% agnostic), while France had the most skeptics (19% atheist, 16% agnostic). On the religion question, South Korea had the greatest percentage without a religion (41%) while Italy had the smallest (5%).
Sociologist Phil Zuckerman's global studies on atheism have indicated that global atheism may be in decline due to irreligious countries having the lowest birth rates in the world and religious countries having higher birth rates in general.
Among the members of the National Academy of Sciences in the United States, 7% believed in the existence of God, 72.2% did not, and 20.8% were agnostic or had doubts. The study performed has been criticized, however, for defining God as "a God one may pray to in expectation of receiving an answer." In 1916, 1,000 leading American scientists were randomly chosen from American Men of Science and 41.8% believed God existed, 41.5% disbelieved, and 16.7% had doubts/did not know; however when the study was replicated 80 years later using American Men and Women of Science in 1996, results were very much the same with 39.3% believing God exists, 45.3% disbelieved, and 14.5% had doubts/did not know. However, these studies have been criticized for leaving lots of room for ambiguity in the questions. Statistical data on Nobel prize winners in science between 1901 and 2000 revealed that atheists, agnostics, and freethinkers have won 7.1% of the prizes in chemistry, 8.9% in medicine, and 4.7% in physics; while Christians have won a total of 72.5% of the prizes in chemistry, 65.3% in physics, 62% in medicine and Jews have won 17.3% of the prizes in chemistry, 26.2% in medicine, and 25.9% in physics.
East Asian cultures define religion differently from those in the West, making classification of certain adherents of Buddhism and Taoism particularly difficult, as belief in gods is generally absent in principle in these schools of thought except in syncretic outliers to the mainstreams of the belief system. Japan can be especially confusing, with most of the population incorporating practices from multiple religions into their lives (see Religion in Japan). In the People's Republic of China, 59% of the population are non-religious. However, this percentage may be significantly greater (up to 80%) or smaller (down to 30%) in reality, because some Chinese define religion differently. Some Chinese define religion as practicing customs (which may be done for cultural or traditional reasons), while others define it as actually consciously believing their religion will lead to post-mortem salvation/reincarnation. According to the surveys of Phil Zuckerman on Adherents.com in 1993, 59% (over 700 million) of the Chinese population was irreligious and 8% – 14% was atheist (from over 100 to 180 million) as of 2005. (see Religion in China). Officially, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam is an atheist state, as declared by its Communist regime. Census results record 81% percent nonbelief (2009) although this may be inflated because of Vietnam's official status as an atheist nation, or that many reported as "non-believers" in formal religions still have some adherence to informal religious customs and practices such as ancestor worship, or to non-State sanctioned Buddhist temples or Christian churches.
In Israel, around 50% of Israelis who were born ethnically Jewish consider themselves "secular" or hilonim, some of them still keep certain religious traditions for cultural reasons, but most are immersed within the secular Jewish culture. The number of atheists and agnostics is lower, and it stands at 15% to 37% respectively. The 2009 Avi-Chai study found 77% of Israeli Jews believe in a "higher power", while 46% define themselves as secular, of which 8% define themselves as "anti-religious". Conversely, the Fridman report for 2007 found that less than 20% define themselves as secular—and only 5% as anti-religious.
The exact number of atheists in Canada is disputed. (See the section "Statistical problems" above) The Canadian Ipsos Reid poll released September 12, 2011 entitled "Canadians Split On Whether Religion Does More Harm in the World than Good," sampled 1,129 Canadian adults and came up 30% who do not believe in a god. Interestingly, the same poll found that of the 33% of respondents who identified themselves as Catholics and Protestants, 28% said they didn't believe in a god.
An older poll shows 19–30% of the population holding an atheistic or agnostic viewpoint.[verification needed] The 2001 Canadian Census states that 16.2% of the population holds no religious affiliation, though exact statistics on atheism are not recorded. In urban centers this figure can be substantially higher; the 2001 census indicated that 42.2% of residents in Vancouver hold "no religious affiliation." A recent survey in 2008 found that 23% of Canadians said they did not believe in a god. The numbers do seem to suggest that the numbers of people in Canada who believe in a deity are dropping at a significant rate.
In a Pew Research Poll in 2013, it is estimated about 24%, consider themselves 'religiously unaffiliated.' Notably, the younger generation (those born between 1987 and 1995) are ranked at 29%.
Separation of church and state is guaranteed by Article 130 of the Mexican Constitution, which also designates religious leaders as ineligible for public office, while the majority of the population identifies as Roman Catholic (82%).
Although the demographics of atheism and irreligion in Mexico is hard to measure because many atheists are officially counted as Catholic, almost three million people in the 2000 National Census reported having no religion. Recent[when?] surveys have shown that only around 3% of Catholics attend church daily and, according to INEGI, the number of atheists grows annually by 5.2%, while the number of Catholics grows by 1.7%. The 2010 Mexican census by the INEGI shows that 4.9% of Mexicans have no religion, up from 0.6% in 1960 and 3.5% in 2000.
According to a 2011 Gallup poll, more than 9 in 10 Americans say "yes" when asked the basic question "Do you believe in God?"; this is down only slightly from the 1940s, when Gallup first asked this question. However, when given the choice to express uncertainties, the percentage of belief in God drops into the 70% to 80% range. When Americans are given the option of saying they believe in a universal spirit or higher power instead of in "God," about 12% choose the former.
A 2004 BBC poll showed the number of people in the U.S. who don't believe in a god to be about 9–10%. A 2008 Gallup poll showed that a smaller 6% of the U.S. population believed that no god or universal spirit exists. The most recent ARIS report, released March 9, 2009, found in 2008, 34.2 million Americans (15.0%) claim no religion, of which 1.6% explicitly describes itself as atheist (0.7%) or agnostic (0.9%), nearly double the previous 2001 ARIS survey figure of 0.9%. The highest occurrence of "nones", according to the 2008 ARIS report, reside in Vermont, with 34% surveyed. According to the Pew Forum, less than 2% of the U.S. population describes itself as atheist.
Overall, Americans who profess no religion or self-identify as atheist or agnostic are more likely to be white or Asian and less likely to be black or Hispanic, as compared to the general adult population in U.S. Men are more likely to be atheists and less religious than women. 55 percent of atheists in America are under age 35, while 30 percent are 50 and over (compared to 37 percent of the total population). As a group, agnostics are older than atheists, though still younger than the general population. A study on recent generations such as Millennials shows that of those between 18-29 years old, only 3% of these emerging adults self-identified as "atheists" and only 4% self-identified as "agnostics". Overall, 25% of Millennials are "Nones" and 75% are religiously affiliated. 
A 2012 study by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life reports that just 2.4% of the whole US population are atheists even though the number of religiously unaffiliated has grown from 15% to just under 20% from 2007 to 2012.
Legal and social discrimination against atheists in some places may lead some to deny or conceal their atheism due to fears of persecution. A 2006 study by researchers at the University of Minnesota involving a poll of 2,000 households in the United States found atheists to be the most distrusted of minorities, more so than Muslims, recent immigrants, gays and lesbians, and other groups. Many of the respondents associated atheism with immorality, including criminal behaviour, extreme materialism, and elitism. However, the same study also reported that, “The researchers also found acceptance or rejection of atheists is related not only to personal religiosity, but also to one’s exposure to diversity, education and political orientation—with more educated, East and West Coast Americans more accepting of atheists than their Midwestern counterparts.”
Irreligion in South America had increased for a period of 30 straight years, and it had a growing status in all countries in the first decade of the 21st century.
- Uruguay – 17.2% atheist or agnostic; 23.2% "believing in God but without religion"
- Argentina – 11.3% "indifferent towards religion" (including agnostic and atheists)
- Chile – 25% non-religious
- Ecuador – 7.94% atheist and 0.11% agnostic
- Brazil – 8.0% non-religious
- Colombia – 3% atheists, 12% atheists or agnostics
- Peru – 1.4% non-religious as of 1993
- Paraguay – 1.1% non-religious
- Venezuela – < 8%
In Brazil, non religious people rose from about 4% in the end of the 20th century to around 8% in the most recent reliable census and recent estimates put it in 10–14% of the population, being the 2nd largest group after Christianity. According to recent researches, Brazilians who profess no religion or self-identify as atheist or agnostic are more likely to be white Brazilian, Amerindian or Asian and less likely to be Afro-Brazilian or Pardo when compared to the general population.
There is evidence that the atheist minority is more likely to suffer prejudice than other groups: when asked for presidential candidates, in spite of major forms of racism, historical prejudices and racist-based classism against black people in the country, 83% of Brazilians would vote for an Afro-Brazilian; even with major forms of sexism present in Latin American societies (see machismo) 57% of Brazilians would vote for a woman president (the first one in the country's history is the present Dilma Roussef, elected in late 2010), and the historical homophobia (hate crimes practiced both by homophobic macho vigilantes and far-right skinheads as well, the latter widely common in White-majority Southern Brazil and São Paulo, for example) and major, widespread forms of heterosexism due also to the sexist machismo culture, 37% of Brazilians would vote for a gay candidate. Nevertheless, only 13% of Brazilians would vote for an atheist person to occupy the post of president without judging the candidate because of the candidate's religion. 6 in 10 Brazilians would not vote for an atheist president. A 2009 survey showed that atheists are the most hated demographic group in Brazil, among several other minorities polled, being almost on par with drug addicts. According to the research, 17% of the interviewees stated they feel either hate or repulse for atheists, while 25% feel antipathy and 29% are indifferent.
As happens with Brazilians of sexual minorities and/or members of traditional African diasporic religions — Umbanda, Candomblé and Quimbanda, collectively called Macumba, nowadays a pejorative term — or Spiritism, affiliation to some of the new rising Protestant churches in Brazil (mostly Evangelical or Pentecostal) can lead to even more negative social perceptions of atheist and irreligious people. Some critics present the widespread vision that Protestants are far less secularized, more intolerant and socially conservative than the Roman Catholic church as classist prejudice, an institution as large in Brazil as racism and sexism, although still not questioning that Catholic Brazilians are more tolerant and socially liberal.
According to a 2010 Eurostat Eurobarometer poll, 51% of European Union citizens responded that "they believe there is a God", whereas 26% answered that "they believe there is some sort of spirit or life force" and 20% that "they do not believe there is a spirit, God, nor life force". Results were widely varied between different countries, with 94% of Maltese respondents stating that they believe in God, on the one end, and only 16% of Czechs stating the same on the other.
According to another poll about Religiosity in the European Union from 2012 by Eurobarometer, 16% are Non believer/Agnostic, and 7% are Atheist. 72% of EU citizens believe in Christianity, and 2% are Muslim.
According to Pew Research Center survey in 2012 religiously unaffiliated (include agnostic and atheist) make up about 18.2% of Europeans population. According to the same survey religiously unaffiliated make up a majority of the population only in two European countries: Czech Republic (75%) and Estonia (60%).
there is a God"
|"I believe there is some
sort of spirit or life force"
|"I don't believe there is any sort
of spirit, God or life force"
|Croatia (joined EU in 2013)||69%||22%||7%|
|Iceland (EEA, not EU)||31%||49%||18%|
|Norway (EEA, not EU)||22%||44%||29%|
In 2001, the Czech Statistical Office provided census information on the ten million people in the Czech Republic. 59% had no religion, 32.2% were religious, and 8.8% did not answer. Next census in 2011 provided following figures: 34.2% not religious, 20.6% religious and 45.2% no answer.
In France, about 12% of the population reportedly attends religious services more than once per month. In a 2003 poll 54% of those polled in France identified themselves as "faithful," 33% as atheist, 14% as agnostic, and 26% as "indifferent." According to a different poll, 32% declared themselves atheists, and an additional 32% declared themselves agnostic.
Eastern Germany is perhaps the least religious region in the world.  Atheism is embraced by young and old, though more so by younger Germans. One study in September 2012 was unable to find a single person under 28 who believed in a god. The popular explanation for this is the aggressive atheist policies of German Democratic Republic's Socialist Unity Party of Germany. However, the enforcement of atheism only existed for the first few years. After that, the state allowed churches to have a relatively high level of autonomy. Also, the same high numbers of atheists don't exist in the other European countries that have a history of Soviet occupation, except for the Czech Republic and Estonia. Another explanation could be the secular movements during the Weimar Republic which were strongest in the states of Thuringia and Saxony. Also, it was the Protestant areas of the Eastern Bloc that tended to turn irreligious under Communist rule the most. The most atheist parts of the former Soviet bloc were usually once the most Protestant (East Germany, Estonia, and most of Latvia), and the Czech Republic is the only one that was once mainly Catholic (although having the largest Protestant share following the above three).
Christianity still has a presence in the rest of Germany, although there is an atheist majority in Hamburg.
A 2006 survey in the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten (on February 17), saw 1,006 inhabitants of Norway answering the question "What do you believe in?". 29% answered "I believe in a god or deity", 23% answered "I believe in a higher power without being certain of what", 26% answered "I don't believe in God or higher powers" and 22% answered "I am in doubt". Still, As of December 2010[update], 78% of the population are members of the Norwegian state's official Lutheran Protestant church. All Norwegians with at least one parent who is a member are automatically registered as members at birth, so most members have done nothing actively to join, effectively creating an opt-out system where membership is not considered a serious statement of faith in Christianity, and one where many keep themselves enrolled for the sake of possibly wanting to have a ceremony in the church at some point in their life, without this necessarily implying belief.
According to a surveys of Levada Center, 22% of those surveyed self-described as non-religious, agnostic or atheist, with 69% describing themselves as Orthodox and 5% as Muslims. Although just 10% visit a church at least once a month, the fact that there has been a substantial increase in the Orthodox proportion of the population, along with the fact that those who identify themselves Christian are more likely to go to church, suggests that atheism and irreligion has greatly waned in Russia since the Soviet collapse.
In Spain, 70.7% are religious believers (68.8% catholic and 1.9% others), 16.4% are non-believers and 9.7% are atheists, according to the April 2014 poll of the public Centro de Investigaciones Sociológicas.
Several studies have found Sweden to be one of the most atheist countries in the world. 23% of Swedish citizens responded that "they believe there is a God", whereas 53% answered that "they believe there is some sort of spirit or life force" and 23% that "they do not believe there is any sort of spirit, God, or life force". This, according to the survey, would make Swedes the third least religious people in the 27-member European Union, after Estonia and the Czech Republic.
According to a study carried out by doctor in political science Simon Geissbühler, Swiss atheists tend to be more left-leaning, even accounting for age and income, than the average Swiss population.
A poll in 2004 by the BBC put the number of people who do not believe in a god at 39%, while a YouGov poll in the same year put the percentage of non-believers at 35% with 21% answering "Don't Know". In the YouGov poll men were less likely to believe in a god than women, 39% of men and 49% of women, and younger people were less likely to believe in a god than older people. In early 2004, it was announced that atheism would be taught during religious education classes in England. A compilation of some sociological studies indicates that roughly 30-40% of the British population does not have a belief in a god, but only 8% self identify as convinced atheist.
A YouGov poll in 2013 showed that 38% of British youth (18-24 years old) did not believe in the concept of God or a "spiritual greater power", 25% identified as believing in God, 19% believing in no god but a "spiritual greater power", and 18% of those surveyed did not know. Those surveyed also had a generally negative view of religion, with 41% of those surveyed agreeing with the statement that "religion is more often the cause of evil in the world".
In the Australian 2011 Census of Population and Housing, in the question which asked "What is the person's religion?" 22.3% reported "no religion", which is a growth of 7 percentage points since the 2001 Census. This question was optional and 9.4% of the population did not answer the question. There are often popular and successful campaigns to have people describe themselves as non-mainstream religions (e.g. Jedi).
In New Zealand's 2013 census, 42 per cent of people said they had no religious affiliation - an increase of more than 7 percentage points since the previous census, in 2006. The proportion of the population identifying as Christian fell below 50 per cent for the first time since records began. Similarly to Australia, many New Zealanders have identified themselves as Jedi and Pastafarian in censuses. These responses are treated as illegitimate.
Irreligion in Egypt is uncommon among Egyptians and Islam is the predominant faith. There are no official figures for irreligion, and there is media speculation that younger people are leaving Islam. In November 2013, it was estimated that up to 3 million Egyptians were atheists.
Atheism in Ghana is difficult to measure in the country, as although many citizens claim Christian faith, many atheists in Ghana are afraid to openly express their beliefs due to real or imagined threats of intimidation.
In the Ghana census taken in 2010, Christians make up 71.2% of the population, Islam 17.6%, Irreligion 5.3%, Traditional religion 5.2%. Other faiths include Hinduism, Buddhism and Nichiren Buddhism, Taoism, Sōka Gakkai, Shintoism and Judaism.
- "Global Index of Religion and Atheism". WIN/Gallup Interational. Retrieved 13 January 2015.
- "UK among most secular nations". BBC News. 2004-02-26. Retrieved 2005-03-05.
- "The World Fact Book: Religions". World Fact Book. Retrieved 8 June 2013.
- "The Global Religious Landscape". Pew Research Center's Religion & Public Life Project. 18 December 2012. Retrieved 14 February 2015.
- "The Global Religious Landscape - Religiously Unaffiliated". Pew Research Center.
- Pandian (1996). India, that is, sidd. Allied Publishers. p. 64. ISBN 978-81-7023-561-3. Retrieved 2011-04-09.
- Baggini 2003, pp. 73–74. "Atheism had its origins in Ancient Greece but did not emerge as an overt and avowed belief system until late in the Enlightenment."
- "Millennials Losing Faith In God: Survey". Huffingtonpost.com. Retrieved 2014-02-27.
- "Section 6: Religion and Social Values | Pew Research Center for the People and the Press". People-press.org. Retrieved 2014-02-27.
- "Not All Nonbelievers Call Themselves Atheists | Pew Research Center's Religion & Public Life Project". Pewforum.org. 2009-04-02. Retrieved 2014-02-27.
- Rieke Havertz (2012-08-15). "Atheism on the rise around the globe". CSMonitor.com. Retrieved 2014-01-06.
- Zuckerman, Phil (2007). Martin, Michael, ed. The Cambridge Companion to Atheism. Cambridge Univ. Press. p. 59. ISBN 0521603676.
- International Humanist and Ethical Union. "The Fate of Infidels and Apostates under Islam". Iheu.org. Retrieved 2012-02-05.
- "American Nones: The Profile of the No Religion Population". American Religious Identification Survey. 2008. Retrieved 19 October 2012.[dead link]
- "No Religion on the Rise: One-in-Five Adults Have No Religious Affiliation". Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. 9 October 2012. Retrieved 19 October 2012.
- Calvin, John: Institutes.
- "Canadians divided on whether religion does more harm than good: poll - WorldWide Religious News". Wwrn.org. 2011-09-12. Retrieved 2014-01-06.
- "Canadians divided on whether religion does more harm than good: poll". Shaw Media Inc. Retrieved 31 December 2011.
- "Center Stage Podcast, Episode 104 - Profiles of the Godless: Results from the Non-Religious Identification Survey, Luke Galen". Centerforinquiry.net. 2011-12-05. Retrieved 2012-02-05.
- [Personality and social integration factors distinguishing nonreligious from religious groups: The importance of controlling for attendance and demographics, 2011, Luke Galen and Jim Kloet, Archive for the Psychology of Religions]
- Goodstein, Laurie (18 December 2012). "Study Finds One in 6 Follows No Religion". The New York Times. Retrieved 29 January 2013.
- "Major Religions of the World Ranked by Number of Adherents". Adherents.com. Retrieved 2006-03-05.
- "Two-thirds of Britons not religious, suggests survey". BBC News. 2011-03-21.
- "CIA World Factbook". Retrieved 2006-03-05.
- ""Nones" on the Rise". Pew Research Center. Retrieved 2012-10-09.
- "U.S. belief in God down, belief in theory of evolution up". 2013. Retrieved 2013-12-22.
- "AP/Ipsos Poll: Religious Fervor In U.S. Surpasses Faith In Many Other Highly Industrial Countries". 2005. Retrieved 2006-03-05.
- Larson, Edward J.; Larry Witham (1998). "Leading scientists still reject God". Nature (Macmillan Publishers Ltd.) 394 (6691): 313–4. doi:10.1038/28478. PMID 9690462.
- Larson, E. J. & Witham, L., "Scientists are still keeping the faith,", Nature 386, 435-436 (1997).
- Scott, Eugenie (1998). "Do Scientists Really Reject God?". Reports of the National Center for Science Education 18 (2): 24–25.
- Shalev, Baruch Aba (2005). 100 Years of Nobel prizes (3rd ed., updated for 2001-2004. ed.). Los Angeles, CA: Americas Group. ISBN 0935047379.
- "China – People". World Desk Reference. Retrieved 2007-01-01.
- "Adherents.com". Adherents.com. Retrieved 2012-02-05.
- "Atheist Statistics | Agnostic". Adherents.com. Retrieved 2014-02-27.
- Jan Dodd, Mark Lewis, Ron Emmons The Rough Guide to Vietnam 4 - - 2003 Page 509 "After 1975, the Marxist–Leninist government of reunified Vietnam declared the state atheist while theoretically allowing people the right to practice their religion under the constitution. In reality, churches and pagodas were closed down,
- Asia & Pacific Review 2003/2004: Economic and Business Report - Page 373 Kogan Page - 2003 "Religions: Although the country is officially atheist, many Vietnamese profess to be Buddhists.
- The Cambridge Companion to Atheism - Page 57 Michael Martin - 2006 "Table 3.1 ... Of course, there are anomalies, such as Vietnam (81% nonbelievers in God) and Ireland (4%–5% non-believers in ... "
- Đâu là con số thực về tín đồ Phật giáo Việt Nam?
- Kerry Walters Atheism: A Guide for the Perplexed 2010 - Page 11 "The only obvious exceptions to this correlation are relatively poor Vietnam, which reports an astounding 81% nonbelief rate (although this may be inflated because of Vietnam's official status as an atheist nation), .."
- Vietnam 10 - Page 55 Nick Ray, Yu-Mei Balasingamchow, Iain Stewart - 2009 "ancestor Worship - Vietnamese ancestor worship dates from before the arrival of Confucianism or Buddhism. Ancestor worship is based on the belief that the soul lives on after death and becomes the protector of its descendants."
- "80% מהיהודים בישראל: מאמינים באלוהים" [80% of Jews Believe in God] (in Hebrew). Ynet. 1995-06-20. Retrieved 2012-02-05.
- Zuckerman (2005). "Top 50 Countries With Highest Proportion of Atheists / Agnostics". Adherents.com.
- [dead link]
- "Religion data from the 2001 Canadian census". Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance. Retrieved 2007-10-17.
- "2001 Community Profiles". statcan.ca. 2002-03-12. Retrieved 2012-02-05.
- Timothy Avery (2008-05-31). "One in four don't believe in God, poll finds". Toronto: Thestar.com. Retrieved 2012-02-05.
- "Canada’s Changing Religious Landscape". Pew Research Center's Religion & Public Life Project. 27 June 2013. Retrieved 14 February 2015.
- CIA MSN Encarta, Mexico. Archived from the original on 2009-10-31. Retrieved 2007-07-06.
- "Religión" (PDF). Censo Nacional de Población y Vivienda 2000. INEGI. 2000. Retrieved 2 August 2009.
- Roderic Ai Camp (1997). Crossing Swords: Politics and Religion in Mexico. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-510784-5.
- "Aciprensa". Aciprensa. 2012-01-25. Retrieved 2012-02-05.
- "Mexico still Catholic, but number of atheists on the rise". Catholic News Agency. 2008-03-26. Retrieved 2012-02-05.
- "Características culturales de la población". inegi.org (in Spanish). INEGI. 3 March 2011. Archived from the original on 13 November 2011. Retrieved 16 February 2015.
- "More Than 9 in 10 Americans Continue to Believe in God". Gallup.com. Retrieved 2014-01-06.
- "Belief in God Far Lower in Western U.S". Gallup.com. Retrieved 2012-02-05.
- "American Religious Identification Survey". Retrieved 2006-03-05.
- "American Religious Identification Survey(ARIS 2008)". Retrieved 2009-03-20.
- "Statistics on Religion in America Report - Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life". Religions.pewforum.org. 2007-08-13. Retrieved 2012-02-05.
- Barry Alexander Kosmin; Ariela Keysar (2007). Secularism & Secularity: Contemporary International Perspectives. ISSSC. p. 33. ISBN 978-0-9794816-0-4. Retrieved 2014-02-27.
- "The Stronger Sex — Spiritually Speaking". Pew Research Center's Religion & Public Life Project. 2009-02-26. Retrieved 2014-02-27.
- "American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS 2001)". Prog.trincoll.edu. Retrieved 2014-02-27.
- "Religion Among the Millennials". Pew Research Center. Retrieved 24 February 2015.
- "Atheists identified as America’s most distrusted minority, according to new U of M study". UMN News. Retrieved 2006-03-22.
- "2006 State-sponsored National Survey on Religion" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-02-05.
- "Recent national official statistics" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-02-05.
- "Disminuyen los católicos y crecen los agnósticos en Chile". LaSegunda.com. Retrieved 14 February 2015.
- (Spanish) El 80% de ecuatorianos es católico
- (Spanish) El 80% de los ecuatorianos afirma ser católico, según el INEC
- "2010 Census data" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-06-29.
- Glottman, Dora. "Probablemente Dios no existe, eso cree el 3% de los colombianos". Noticias Caracol. Retrieved 8 June 2013.
- "1993 census data". Inei.gob.pe. Retrieved 2012-02-05.
- "2002 census data". Dgeec.gov.py. Retrieved 2012-02-05.
- "Venezuela - International Religious Freedom Report 2008". Retrieved 2013-03-20.
- (Portuguese) How can be the everyday life of a family with no faith. iG web portal citing Folha de S. Paulo data, 2011.
- (Portuguese) Study Panorama of religions. Fundação Getúlio Vargas, 2003.
- (Portuguese) Veja magazine – How faith resists unbelief. Veja magazine, edition 2040, 2007.
- "Ateus e drogados são os mais odiados pelos brasileiros". Paulopes.com.br (in Portuguese). May 3, 2009. Retrieved August 4, 2013.
- (Portuguese) The hard life of atheists in an increasing "Evangelical" (Protestant) Brazil. Época, 2011.
- (Portuguese) Rafael Galvão – these "differentiated people" and their oh-so-not amicable religions. Rafael Galvão's critic blog, 2011.
- "Special Eurobarometer: Biotechnology" (PDF). October 2010. p. 381.
- "Discrimination in the EU in 2012", Special Eurobarometer, 383 (European Union: European Commission), 2012: 233, retrieved 14 August 2013 The question asked was "Do you consider yourself to be...?" With a card showing: Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, Other Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, Buddhist, Hindu, Atheist, and Non-believer/Agnostic. Space was given for Other (SPONTANEOUS) and DK. Jewish, Sikh, Buddhist, Hindu did not reach the 1% threshold.
- "Discrimination in the EU in 2012", Special Eurobarometer, 383 (European Union: European Commission), 2012: 233, retrieved 14 August 2013
- "Religiously Unaffiliated". Pew Research Center's Religion & Public Life Project. 18 December 2012. Retrieved 14 February 2015.
- "Obyvatelstvo podle náboženského vyznání a pohlaví podle výsledků sčítání lidu v letech 1921, 1930, 1950, 1991 a 2001". Retrieved 2007-02-23.
- "Obyvatelstvo podle náboženské víry podle krajů". Retrieved 2013-03-18.
- U.S. Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. "International Religious Freedom Report 2004". Retrieved 2006-03-05.
- "Religious Views and Beliefs Vary Greatly by Country, According to the Latest Financial Times/Harris Poll". Financial Times/Harris Interactive. 2006-12-20. Retrieved 2007-01-17.
- "WHY EASTERN GERMANY IS THE MOST GODLESS PLACE ON EARTH". Die Welt. 2012. Retrieved 2009-05-24.
- "East Germany the "most atheistic" of any region". Dialog International. 2012. Retrieved 2009-05-24.
- "Only the Old Embrace God in Former East Germany". Spiegel Online. 2012. Retrieved 2009-05-24.
- Thompson, Peter (2012-09-22). "East German atheism can be seen as a form of continuing political and regional identification – and a taste of the future.". London: guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-09-24.
- "Eastern Germany: the most godless place on Earth". theguardian. 2012. Retrieved 2009-05-24.
- "KOSTRA: kirke, 2010" (in Norwegian). Statistisk sentralbyrå. 2011-06-20. Retrieved 2011-12-30.
- "Религиозная вера в России". Levada.ru. 2011-09-26. Retrieved 2012-02-05.
- Centro de Investigaciones Sociológicas (April 2014). "Barómetro Abril 2014". p. 26. Retrieved 6 April 2014.
- "Religion, no political values? political attitudes of atheist comparison". Jsri.ro. Retrieved 2012-02-05.
- "What The World Thinks Of God" (PDF). BBC News.
- "Telegraph YouGov poll" (GIF). The Daily Telegraph (London). Archived from the original on March 4, 2006. Retrieved 2006-03-05.
- Hinsliff, Gaby (2004-02-15). "Children to study atheism at school". London: The Observer. Retrieved 2005-03-05.
- Zuckerman, Phil. "Atheism: Contemporary Rates and Patterns". Cambridge Companion to Atheism. Retrieved 2007.
- "British Youth reject Religion". yougov.co.uk. YouGov. Retrieved 16 February 2015.
- Australian Bureau of Statistics, Census of Population and Housing, 2011, Cultural Diversity in Australia
- "2013 Census QuickStats about culture and identity". Retrieved 14 February 2015.
- "No spaghetti monster here". Stuff. Retrieved 14 February 2015.
- Mohamed Abdelfattah (January 24, 2013). "Leaving Islam in the age of Islamism". Daily News Egypt.
- Mustafa Akyol (March 19, 2014). "How oppressive Islam triggers atheism". Hurriyet Daily News.
- Khaled Diab (October 27, 2013). "A Christopher Hitchens dream: Atheism on the rise in Egypt". Salon.com.
- "Egypt: Are there really three million atheists?". BBC News. 2013-11-19. Retrieved 2014-11-15.
- Phil Zuckerman (21 December 2009). Atheism and Secularity [2 volumes]. ABC-CLIO. p. 75. ISBN 978-0-313-35182-2. Retrieved 2014-01-06.
- "Humanists call for African age of "Enlightenment"". Reuters. Retrieved 2014-12-26.
- Government of Ghana (2010). "Ghana - 2010 Population and Housing Census". Ghana Statistics Service. Retrieved 26 December 2013.