Which are the most religious countries?

June 15, 2009 38 comments , , , ,

This map shows the importance of religion in different countries of the world.

Importance of religion in different countries
Image: Wikipedia

It’s based on a Gallup survey and counts the number of people in each country who said religion is an important part of their daily lives.

The most religious countries are found in Africa and Southeast Asia.

Gallup’s post about the survey points out that while on average the USA is less religious than many countries, ‘religiosity’ varies a lot between different states. So people from Alabama are as likely as Iranians to say religion is an important part of their lives.

And since everyone is talking about Iran this week, let’s also note that according to this poll Iranians are less religious than their secular neighbours in Turkey.

Another interesting chart shows belief in creationism in various countries (via Common Sense):

acceptance of evolution across countries

Read More:
Iran as you don’t see it on the news
Turkey debates the role of religion in daily life
Religion in the USA
Wired Africa? Internet use in Africa is surging

About the author

Lucy (Liz) Chatburn
Lucy is English and first ventured out of the UK she was 19. Since then she has lived in 4 different countries and tried to see as much of the world as possible. She loves learning languages, learning about different cultures and hearing different points of view.
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  • WOW thats so interesting!

    Africa is one of the most religious yet we have so much turmoil and conflict here :(

    • Sorry Laura but Ghana is a different nation when it comes to African nations. Ghana enjoys more peace and stability than most nations in the Western World. Ghana obviously isn’t the whole of Africa. It represents a small part but at least there is hope.

  • It’s very interesting. Sad too. It should be the other way round shouldn’t it?

    Thanks for dropping by Laura. Nice to hear from you!

  • senem

    it is really interesting…i cannot believe iranians are less religious than turkish..bravo to them…
    In Turkey it is getting day by day worse….
    believe me 10 years ago you can behave more relaxed than today…nowadays the rules are getting stronger about religion..especially social pressure is very high…:(

  • Hi Senem and thanks for your comment. It’s interesting that you write that… in many places it seems being religious is seen as a good thing. Can you see any good effects from the religion in Turkey?

  • It’s good to find that India is in Average position
    neither too high nor too low…

    Peace to all
    jai hind. jai karnataka



  • Yes, India is right in the middle isn’t it? Thanks for commenting Abhi!

  • how do u think that being religious is abad thing!! all religions encourage people to be good persons and to improve themselves because they believe that they will be repayied because having good religious manners and moral background are what spiritualy help them to overcome hard times and difficulties they face in life

  • problems in africa are not because being religious in fact they are because of the people who act like religious but indeed they are not

  • Nora religions don’t generally teach people to be good. The morals that they instil are more often outdated by about 3000 years, and misleading to the less educated. You’ll find that generally, the more educated a country, the more atheist. Africa’s situation is 60% location, and 40% foreign involvement. Since AIDs began religion has not been a help at all, and the popes telling people not to use condoms certainly hasn’t done any good. I don’t mean to sound rude or less than passionate, but I think it’s quite clear that religion is a bad thing.

  • @lmao: we have a comment policy and I’ve had to enforce it here.

    Everyone is welcome on PocketCultures, regardless of background, culture, religious and other beliefs. However we do ask that you respect other points of view, even when you don’t agree.

  • yahya

    we should not talk about religion in a general way.for exaple, Islam insites muslims to be a good person (and by the way Ian ,condoms are lawful ;) )

  • I think I know why the richest countries are less religious than the more poor countries. You know why people were so religious in the medieval period? Because life was hard, and they needed to have some sort of comfort, some sort of promise that there was a life after death. In the richest countries, life isn’t so hard anymore, and therefore they’re getting less religious. And as for what the others have said here about religion being a bad thing, I don’t completely agree with that. While I do agree that a lot of conflicts are caused by religion, religion in itself isn’t really a bad thing, it’s just when people start getting too religious – fanatics – that it starts becoming bad, because then they go crazy whenever someone says anything bad about their religion, and they try to force their views on others, which only leads to conflicts and fighting. And about the outdated stuff in religions, that is partly true. Some of the stuff in the bible is very outdated and shouldn’t be followed, but some other things, like for example that stuff about “love thy neighbour” and all that is very good. Too bad the most religious people tend to not follow that one, and instead tell people that they’ll go to hell if they don’t share their opinion. = In any case, most of the stuff in the bible should not be taken literally, as there are many metaphores and such. Many people take it literally, though, which is not so good…

  • Oh, also forgot the fact that religious leaders also have a lot to do with wether a country is religious or not (and it’s partly why people in the medieval period were so religious).

  • Belief in evolution or creationism should not be used as a barometer to determine the level of someone’s faith. evolution vs. creationism is something only the abrahamic religions face..majority of the eastern religions hold evolution to be true…with God’s will and in accordance to God’s laws.

  • I disagree that religion (or at least spirituality) is a bad thing. Fundamentalism is a bad thing, but if a 3000 year old religion teaches you to be good to others and yourself (most do), how can that be bad? Only some bad apples ruin the message. And also, just because one lives in a rich, developed country doesn’t mean that he or she is immune to devastating things happening in life- death, loss of loved ones, divorce, loss of money, job or home, serious or chronic incurable illness, the list goes on- any of these things could happen in a second and just show how impermanent life is. In those cases- especially facing one’s own mortality, for example- spirituality and/or religion becomes a necessary, unless you can fill that void with a better substitute like food, drugs, alcohol, family support, therapy etc. But often those aren’t enough to handle all the pain and give hope.

  • Carlos

    I believe In God and I try to follow his will… and principles. But I`m not religious. I believe in evolution and I`m not catholic but protestant, but if the pope told about not to use condoms it`s because “sex” is only for married people… but if we act like animals sex is very important and we can do it whenever we want which is sad, only for animals sex is important they just follow their instinct and not control themself… a real human would know and follow real values and would domain itself to be an excellent person, anyway… if we do it to satisfy a pleasure, we would become empty people or some sort of animal

  • otherworld

    hopefully with ion a few years we’ll see the end of religion and therefore the end of war. proverty,and most other ills

  • Enrikas Kucys

    lets imagine that there is no religion. A neighbor comes over to you, gives you a hug, helps out in the backyard, gives you a kiss and wishes you a good day.
    next day he curses at you, takes your car, lies to you about something and stabs with the knife in the back.

    now you meet another person, who you really like and want to have him as a friend. do you hug him or stab him?
    do you need religion, bible and god to understand that one is bad and painful and the other one is not?

  • I agree whole hardheartedly with what Nora and “A” said. I think people like Ian and otherworld base their beliefs on bias and ego without truly looking at the enormous amounts of good that religion and spiritual development give to human beings! EVERY major study shows extremely good health benefits of people who are more religious and spiritual, that is a fact and done by Universities such as Harvard. Just because someone has faith that genuinely helps their lives, has nothing to do with how well educated they are whatsoever! It’s no secret that our Universities are filled with mostly very liberal left of center Professors who only spew one point of view, and just like many religions, expect the youth the accept it as scripture, very sad!!

  • anonymous

    In responde to laura at the top:

    A world without religion now would be fantastic.
    Back in the day, people needed to explain things that were otherwise unexplainable by science, they needed hope of life after death, because death was so common.
    And hence, people created what would later be the most devastating thing to plague humanity – religion.
    It’s interesting that the most intelligent/wealthy countries are majority atheist. It makes perfect sense.
    My uncle is a firm believer in god. He lost his life as a result of saying “god will heal me” and refusing to let the hospital deal with it.
    Religion is a burden we no long need to bare.
    The world would no doubt be considerably better without religion.

  • Bernard Kumwenda

    I fail to understand GOD’s ways! why on earth should Africa be deprived of so many basic things when we are the most GOD fearing continent? GOD help us…Does GOD still love HIS people or He only loves white people

  • mohammad

    To anonymous
    It’s the nature of human beings that forget the creator when they found some sort of power.
    Dead IS common in any time and every one dies once not more, It’s the Satan’s game that keeps you busy in this mundane temporary world and show it to you so glamorous and gaudy in order to stop you from thinking about your death and that’s why you can imagine death of everyone except yourself. If you look at your past, you see, It went so fast and YES the rest of it will pass so fast too.
    Pleasures of this world are mixed with pain, the pleasure are temporary but pain are permanent, and all the pleasures have a lot of side effects, so don’t be happy about denying god and stick to this world.

    To Bernard Kumwenda
    This is the God’s way:
    It doesn’t matter where you born. You can ask yourself why I,m not the son of Bill Gates or some rich guys. Getting richer and more powerful is not the goal of life (even though you have work hard in this world).
    Buddy, The whole life is a test. When you are in poverty you have to keep your dignity and immaculacy, When you are rich to have to help others and spot yourself of doing sin cause you are powerful and you can do whatever you want.

    And for all people It’s necessary to connect themselves to god, be happy when he’s happy be unhappy when he’s so. Be God,s will. When you connect yourself to the supreme power of god you don’t get mad cause of some problems.
    Don’t see some rich people kill themselves or get heart attacked in some economic recession or don’t see how poor people thieve or sell their dignity. All because they don’t truly believe in GOD.

  • Steady

    @Mohammed, thanks so much for your write up.

    God made both the rich and the poor. And nothing ever last forever. Ask the people of the first empire if they had known they’ll be gone by today. Everything was born in an appointed time and for a reason.
    Also, God never made a world that He never wanted to be part of: just like every man who builds a house with a desire to be part of the house.
    The world is in phases by time and season, controlled by one God. Man needs Him to live and not Him needing us to survive. Even the great scientist Charlse Dorwin who never believed in the existence of God confessed before death that there was a God who made the heavens and the earth.
    Because you are rich today does not make you better than the poor neither had you the power to create even a life. And one being religious does not mean he/she knows all that is inside his/her holy book to make him/her all he/she can ever be.
    America’s constitution was enshrined under some of the principles of God found in the holy book via the founding fathers. May God help the children of our fathers and, friends of hope understand the principles of the One who has been in all the regimes of the empires of this world.

  • I thought India is the most religious country in the world. India is a free land and anybody can believe in any religion and anybody can spread their religion. I am proud to be the citizen of such a great country

  • Subhash

    India is the most religious conutry in the world

  • vineet

    This sensus does not make any sense. India is the most religious country in the world in their result there is not evena glimpse of India. People in India wake up,go to work after taking the name of god so there is no doubt India is worlds most religious country in the world and also India is not Poor but had bad goverment.

  • Believer


    You have said it all,I agree completely with you.its up to somebody to believe or not but know that there is heaven and hell.God exists and he is the creator of the universe.its you who need God and His protection,He doesn’t need your protection.There are poor & rich people worshipping this God so you must not harden your heart otherwise you’ll perish eternally in hell.You might be rich but know that your money can not buy life, even a second of breath,you can be poor also but its not an excuse.I like wat mahommed said, thinkng of other people’s death than yours_and wher wil yu be? Receive JESUS!

  • GreatApe2

    Interesting enough often the countries with the highest crime rate are also the most religious. I think that humans can be good for the sake of being good. We do not need a supervisor or a book to tell people how to behave. If a person wants to believe in god, magic or unicorns then let them. However, I cannot say that all of the good that religious people (mostly Christians) claim can be completely justified by the wrongs. Does it take god to feed people, or does it take food? Does it take god to give medicine, or does it take doctors? I think the greatest answers are right in front of our faces, but the primitive and superstitious minds our ancestors gave us prevent us from seeing past our own ego which in the end is about getting other people to believe what we believe so that we may or may not perish in a scary place for eternity based solely on ancient literature lacking evidence or reason. Good people will do good things, bad people will do bad things, but only with religion will good people do bad things and feel good about it.

  • Khaled Rahman

    How about Saudi Arabia?

  • that s y im proud to be a fil. even if we r on a global economic crisis or on a tragedy we dont erase god in our daily life and beliefs..we’re not a rich country but we are rich in god’s love and caring..

  • Dorothea

    The world system will always challenge sprituality, Dating back to biblical times. That’s becasue of human nature. Humans want to be free to do what ever they want without consequences. Humans are self centered, its whatever makes you feel good. Spirituality brings accountability, boundaries, and consequences. The world system is to destroy or outlaw biblical guidiance for humans. Has the outcome of a spoiled child ever been positive?

  • aHuman

    A person’s belief in the supernatural should be a private matter. It seems to me that the existence of so many organized religions on planet earth, should tell us something about ourselves. We crave meaning. Even when someone else gives it to us. Politically, religion is the most divisive force on earth and seeing a map like this makes me think its like watching our species fighting for a lucid clarity after spending so many centuries in a superstitious childhood. look forward, not backwards into time. Try and free yourself of indoctrination for a minute, if you can and feel the freedom and confidence that comes with basing your seeds of your thoughts in reality.

  • AnithaNagarajan

    Hi, I am from India.I wanted to share a story on religions and religious beliefs.A person was standing alone and watching things happening in front of him.He saw a religious leader in a horse and many followers going behind him,like wise at a small distance second set of people were going behind their own leader,like wise third,fourth.etc..they were all teasing at one another and were telling their groups are the best.But nobody minded the person standing alone or came nearer to the person.The fact is the person standing alone was GOD.This is what is happening now.How much of religious conflicts is going on in this world?Problem comes only when others try to prove that they are superior of each other and only very few realises the depth of the religion and reason behind the religious formations..For example In India “marketing religion”is happening.Missionaries are targeting the poor people and they are telling that we will pay your family some money but you have to come behind our religion.What is this?is there any divinity behind this?Dragging people behind them by misusing their poverty..exact meaning of “help”is doing something to others without expecting any returns.But only to increase the count of the people in their religion why this missionaries have become as a “marketing agency”.This is not right way to spread a religion.I am not mentioning any particular religion.In all religions many other bad things are happening.I dont know when everybody is going to realise the fact that the creator is common to all of us and conflicts are useless.

  • Rightly said above . Now a days gods r being created and followers are being made by the rascals, by following hypocrites as people are not directly approaching to the revealed scripturs completly. . Ask among your friends how many of them have read Kuran/bible/bhagwat gita/or respective one . These scriptures if followed are sure source of happiness,harmony,decipline,love,prosperity all togather that these man made laws will never be able to give.. We all know the unrest in world . Dont follow any hen or cock take a serious attempt towards your scripture,try to follow then feel the difference. May krisna bless u all.

  • Justin Smith

    Oh what I wouldn’t give to be at the top of that list. It’s interesting that the countries at the top tend to be more accepting of people the way they are then in the United States, when Christianity teaches you to accept everyone in the first place.