Where the world’s atheists live

This map shows the results of a survey of 40 countries that measures the percentage of atheists in each.


China and Japan had the largest percentage, which is not a surprise. The numbers in general are not large but what I find interesting is that the media now treats the issue of atheism as noteworthy and worth following.

It turns out that there are significant number in Saudi Arabia, of all places. Not surprisingly, they live secret lives, maintaining a façade of belief while sharing smuggled atheist works.


  1. UnknownEric the Apostate says

    I’m interested in that Eastern European nation colored blood red. Is it Austria?

  2. Trebuchet says

    Are the gray countries simply “no data”? They don’t even clarify in the article. It’s rather disappointing that they leave out a good portion of the world, including such countries as the UK, Mexico, Brazil, and nearly all of Africa.

    China doesn’t seem surprising. France does, a bit. More atheist than Sweden.

  3. MNb says

    Suriname is a grey country and I happen to know the data: 4% according to the census of 2006.

  4. Lassi Hippeläinen says

    The alternatives were “religious”, “not religious” or “convinced atheist”. In Nordic countries, where religion is not a burning issue, probably 20..40% of people would choose “not religious”.

    Gallups like this are always doubtful, because their starting point is Christian. In Asia there are people who don’t believe in gods, but are still “spiritual”, e.g. most Buddhists.

  5. henry gale says

    I wouldn’t trust the China numbers. China is officially atheist but churches all over the country are packed during mass.

  6. birgerjohansson says

    Hmm… the map seems off for Sweden.
    I recall hearing that about a third of Swedes believes in some religion or other, another third belive in some kind of paranormal influences (including horoscopes) and the ret are outright atheists.

  7. Payne Hertz says

    It is odd that Saudi Arabia appears to have more atheists than Turkey, a country that has had a strong secularist tradition for decades. Ireland has more atheists than Sweden, and France more than the rest of Europe except for what looks like the Czech Republic and Slovakia. With the exception of the Czech Republic surprising results all around.

  8. Bored man says

    Uh, thats understandable. First, the Czech Republic was run over by christians, then by islam invaders many centuries ago, steamrolled by Germany in WW2, steamrolled by the Soviet Union, steamrolled by EU. and each one of these took away part of that magical old man sitting on a cloud, watching us all and making sure we are not bad.Church in the Czech Republic is now claiming back large portions of lands and real estates which were taken away from it 200 years ago. 90% of people here consider this a theft because bribed corrupted politicians agreed to it on the last month of their terms. I think its about 10% believers max nowadays, most people here hate any kind of religion as it only tries to sell BS, steal, murder, manipulate.

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