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Irreligious Countries

Name the countries that have the highest percentage of people who say they are "not a religious person".
According to a WIN/Gallup poll, 2017
Quiz by relessness
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Last updated: July 23, 2019
First submittedJanuary 16, 2013
Times taken38,150
Rating4.09
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%
Country
90
China
73
Sweden
72
Czech Republic
69
United Kingdom
66
Netherlands
64
Azerbaijan
64
Belgium
%
Country
63
Australia
63
Vietnam
62
Norway
61
Denmark
60
Japan
60
Germany
60
South Korea
%
Country
60
Estonia
58
Israel
58
Switzerland
57
Spain
57
Canada
56
Ireland
+1
level 66
Jun 7, 2013
Huh, the ones I missed were surprising - France, Vietnam, Azerbaijan.
+1
level 78
Jan 18, 2017
Why is Vietnam surprising?
+19
level 58
Apr 25, 2018
I find Vietnam surprising. Nearly all of the Vietnamese homes I have been in have altars. I have an altar in my house because I have a Vietnamese wife. I have been to temples in Vietnam full of people burning incense and fake money, praying for wealth, good health and good fortune. I have known people who have invited Buddhist monks around to their house to exorcise spirits or to contact the spirits of their ancestors. Many Vietnamese may not see themselves as practising Buddhists though, even though they go to the pagoda to pray and burn incense. My wife still goes to the pagoda to burn incense and pray sometimes, but she says she is not religious. I say I am not religious, but I haven't set foot inside a church to worship in over 30 years.
+2
level 78
Apr 25, 2018
It might depend on how the question is asked. I find Vietnamese people highly superstitious, and yes reverent of ancestors, but not religious. You might call this religion. But maybe others, including the Vietnamese, would not.
+13
level 32
Apr 25, 2018
Vietnamese people living overseas are probably more likely to be religous as they were fleeing communism.
+2
level 35
Nov 14, 2018
I teach English in Vietnam and religion usually comes up after a few lessons. I have only met a few people, out of the few dozen I have asked, that said they are not religious. Then I ask about the burning incense and ancestor worship type things and they always say that they do them. So even most of the ones that don't claim to be religious seem to still participate in religious ceremonies.
+2
level 70
Aug 23, 2019
@kalbahamut - pretty much the same as in China. Most people don't describe themselves as religious, however, yet they still follow a ton of superstitions and visit temples etc.
+5
level 60
Jan 18, 2017
Living in France, I'm not surprised at all and I'm always amazed by how much foreign country tend to see us as an ultra-religious country. Here even the catholic are not so church-going and are sometime anticlerical.
+2
level 73
Sep 29, 2019
And yet France has now disappeared... interesting
+1
level 65
Jan 19, 2017
French Revolution and 1905 "Laicism bill" don't suggest you anything, do they? ;)
+5
level 76
Jan 22, 2017
Laicism has nothing to do with whether people are religious. It is merely the separation of state and religion.
+7
level 76
Nov 13, 2018
Ireland is surprising seeing the power the Catholic Church has over law, although that is slipping.
+20
level 42
Nov 14, 2018
Israel, really?
+3
level 76
Jul 23, 2019
And speaking of power over law, how does Israel bend to renewing the 11th Century Crusades if 58% of people are thoroughly without religion?
+1
level 81
Sep 4, 2019
I find South korea surprising. Reportedly 29% are Christian, 23% are Buddhist and according to this 60% without religion so something is wrong there.
+5
level 59
Aug 5, 2014
Good quiz. I can say jokingly that the religion of (my home country) Estonia is singing, but that's not exactly what you want to hear. @ Stigni: North Korea has Juche, that means they "believe" Kim is a god. @ PorcNBeanz: Irreligion isn't the same as intellect. Finland, Switzerland and Taiwan aren't on this list, but yet they're in the top 10 of every PISA test.
+1
level 67
Oct 4, 2014
This is my favorite comment on this website so far
+3
level 72
Nov 22, 2016
Switzerland actually is there on the list, though…
+1
level 58
Jan 18, 2017
Also not part of the poll
+1
level 59
Jan 18, 2017
Wow, good job mashing three comments into one!
+9
level 46
Jan 18, 2017
Wow, good job congratulating yourself!
+2
level 68
Jan 24, 2019
Does the PISA test gauge which way they are leaning?
+3
level 63
Sep 27, 2014
Not many warm countries.
+1
level 56
Jan 20, 2017
...ok?
+16
level 65
Apr 21, 2017
Cold sucks so badly that people living there know there can be no god. If a generous and loving god exists, he wouldn't make people live in the climate of Finland/Sweden
+1
level 65
Jan 24, 2019
That doesn't mean anything, Sweden and Finland are two places that I would most like to live
+1
level 65
Jan 24, 2019
Plus, Norway and Iceland are just as cold and they are not on the list
+1
level 81
Sep 29, 2019
@TinklePork Wouldn't that also apply to people who live in extremely hot temperatures, like the Middle East?
+2
level 67
Sep 29, 2019
@Jacktheguy No, there it’s so hot that they constantly see mirages of God(s), causing them to start religions in the first place.
+1
level 81
Sep 29, 2019
I guess, but The Empire Strikes Back tells me visions can happen in extremely cold temperatures as well.
+2
level 67
Oct 4, 2019
@Jacktheguy Yeah, but that vision was total BS anyway, as Obi Wan couldn’t even remember that Qui Gon was his master, not Yoda 😁
+2
level 66
May 13, 2017
most tropical countries are poor or at least not rich, and most poor people are religious. I'm not saying that religious people are idiots and cannot make any money or a living, I'm just saying that secular countries are more developed. May or may not be a coincidence.
+21
level 66
Oct 25, 2014
A bit surprised not to see the Vatican though...
+1
level 31
Nov 13, 2015
Christianity in uk 72%,Russia ,73%,Latvia 89%,Denmark,86% and Ukraine ,83%.while North Korea ,Mongolia and turkey is not religious .
+6
level 73
Nov 17, 2015
Christianity... In France, each baptized person is christian, according to christian leaders. I presume it's the same in other so-called christian countries. Your percentages must be the official ones ! I've been baptized when I was a few days old. I don't believe in any god, and my parents or my brother don't. But four french "christians"... Sorry for my english.
+1
level 45
Jan 2, 2017
this refers to how religious they are as opposed to actual atheism. Many European people may be religious but very secular at the same time.
+2
level 50
Jan 18, 2017
'Not religious' is an ambivalent term. Does it mean 'I believe in god but don't go to church' or does it mean 'I don't believe in god', or it may be 'I'm not affiliated with an official relgion but I am spiritual'. Everyone is free to choose their interpretation, of course, so it's difficult to draw any conclusions whatsoever from this quiz :)
+2
level 63
Jan 18, 2017
In the source it says the numbers are for people who answered as "not a religious person" or "a convinced atheist". Everyone knows what an Atheist is so I'd say non-practicing believers (e.g. a Christian who's not praying or going to church or doing anything other than carry that "title" Christian) would fall into the category of "not a religious person". But it's very difficult to say because not everyone thinks alike and polls are just representative numbers.
+1
level 40
Jan 24, 2019
As a Dutch guy i can say the dutch number isn't the same as the percentage of "Atheïsts" that was published here. cause that was 59% in 2018
+1
level 43
Jan 19, 2017
Turkey is majority Muslim.
+1
level 68
Apr 24, 2018
@MyOriginalLife, it looks like your figure for 71% Christain in the UK is out of date. The 2001 census had a figure of 72%, but the most recent census in 2011 showed only 59% identifying as Christain. Most of the surveys I have heard or seen in the last few years comment on the rise of those identifying as 'non religious, agnostic or atheist' so I suspect (and accept that is nothing more than supposition on my part) that the downward trend in those identifying as Christian will have continued.
+1
level 63
Nov 13, 2018
Turkey is 98% muslim and aside from istanbul and the western part, very religious.
+1
level 58
Nov 13, 2018
@MyOriginalLife, as the survey shows, your numbers are wrong. People just put down "Christian" on the census and stuff (often on the behalf of others including very young children who can't possibly have decided) because they might, for example, have a wedding in a church.
+1
level 51
Apr 3, 2019
In the uk most people would consider themselves Christian because its taught from birth and is in the culture, but no one ever actually goes to church and people only celebrate Christian holidays for commercial reasons
+1
level 73
Jul 24, 2019
Yep, I remember filling in a census with a group of housemates at university. Most ticked "Christian" despite being nothing of the sort and knowing very little about the faith. They never planned on going to church except to get married. Last study I saw had church attendance in the UK at 6% and predicted to fall to 4% in the next few years.
+3
level 61
Dec 17, 2015
I'd like to see the sources for this quiz because these results seem quite dubious. I imagine the discrepancy comes down to definitions of "belief" and "deity" as I know first hand that Japan has an overwhelming majority of religiously apathetic citizens. Some may counter that their fusion of Shinto and Zen Buddhism favors belief in a deity but I don't think it's a fair comparison to compare the spiritual avatars of Buddhism to the monotheistic god of Islam, Judaism, and Christianity. Additionally, Azerbaijan and Albania are Muslim majority countries and while the latter is likely filled with nonpracticing Muslims, I doubt the integrity of the intel regarding Azerbaijan.
+2
level ∞
Nov 20, 2016
Here's the source. It's based on a poll.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_irreligion
+3
level 78
Jan 2, 2017
A large number of countries skipped in the poll.
+1
level ∞
Jan 2, 2017
True. If every country was polled, the European microstates might make the list. The poor third world countries probably wouldn't, though.
+3
level 67
Jan 18, 2017
New Zealand would most likely make the list. Typically less conservative than Australia.
+1
level 75
Jan 19, 2017
Self-perception is just one criterion about religiousness and varies widely between cultures.

Czech Republic is traditionally regarded as the most atheist European country and is also high on this list, but I have a friend who moved there from Slovenia and to him CZ seems more religious. Simply put – Slovenes might go to church only on Christmas, Easter, funerals, weddings etc, not care much about God but consider themselves religious in a poll. Czechs would do the same but claim they're not religious.
+1
level 66
May 13, 2017
I thought Estonia was the most secular.
+3
level 73
Nov 21, 2016
I started typing Israel...typed "ISR" and deleted it thinking that's a stupid guess. Dang it!
+2
level 71
Nov 21, 2016
I was very surprised to see Israel on this list too. Didn't even consider trying it because it felt absurd.
+1
level 63
Jan 18, 2017
Same!
+4
level 71
Nov 23, 2016
I live in Israel, typed it just for fun. I think the issue here is what is "religious." With so many very strictly observant Jews, Muslims and Christians, anyone who is not very observant probably defines themselves as "not religious" though nearly everyone observes the holidays and traditions and probably most of them believe in God. In the U.S. most of those people would be more likely to say they are religious, because they are comparing themselves to atheists. .. . .. the sliding scale.
+1
level 71
Nov 23, 2016
Reminds me of an old joke about a first-year University of Chicago student who goes home for the holidays. His mother asks, "how are you son?" He replies, "relative to what?"
+2
level 65
Dec 11, 2016
I am shocked to not see the Vatican on here. I doubt that more than 10% of its citizens are religions.
+8
level 81
Jan 18, 2017
Wait, if you live in Vatican, you can become a religion?
+1
level 45
Apr 10, 2017
Lol
+2
level 33
Jan 18, 2017
Flawed quiz. There's no way Sweden can be in second place, when Norway is not even mentioned. Such small (population) and neighboring countries are usually not THAT different, and I am Norwegian, so I know. I know for sure, that not ~50% is Christian or religious. That percent is much lower, and irreligious percent is much higher!
+1
level 75
Jan 19, 2017
Take an issue with the people answering the poll.
+4
level 48
Jan 20, 2017
These polls must be a joke or something. Finland and Norway not at least 80% irreligious? Yeah right. And no, it's not about "boo hoo that's what the people answered" - if you've lived in these countries you know that believers are very, very rare. Walking on the streets you're probably more likely to run into a convicted murderer than a religious person. It's a shame that people behind these polls decided to take a shortcut and just make up numbers out of their heads.
+1
level 58
Nov 13, 2018
It is possible that people just took the question to mean something different to what you took it to mean. Whether someone is "a religious person" is a very subjective question. For some people it is clear, but not for others.
+2
level 28
Jan 24, 2019
22% of people in Norway believe in God. Yet over 50% is religious? I agree, that sounds weird. I'm wondering whether they even did that poll in Norway. The only reason I can think of, with not having Norway up there, is if the survey was not done in every country. Being from Norway, and being interested in religion, I know there are no surveys done where over 50% of the population said they were religious. That would be insane.
+1
level 55
Jan 18, 2017
This quiz is good. I liked it.
+1
level 57
Jan 18, 2017
Israel ? is VERY religious
+2
level 33
Feb 6, 2017
No it's not... Most of the israelis are secular, and all of my friends are atheists, just like me.
+1
level 22
Jan 18, 2017
guys, just sayong but im 3 and from china and i dont speak english ( as you telll bi mi speling) i av finish with 2 minutes spair, so yeh
+1
level 34
Jan 18, 2017
Israel?! Really?? I was not expecting that
+2
level 58
Jan 18, 2017
Mostly first world countries. Says something about education maybe.
+2
level 37
Jan 18, 2017
Organized Religion and Absolute Power: One and the same.
+6
level 48
Jan 18, 2017
Please stop being casually offensive.
+2
level 64
Jan 18, 2017
How's making an observation "casually offensive"?
+1
level 68
Apr 24, 2018
@Antofagasta, please stop being a snowflake!
+1
level 65
Jan 18, 2017
I'm very surprised that Israel made the list considering that they are supposed to be a Jewish country and that it is in the Middle East making the rest of the population likely to be Muslim.
+2
level 53
Dec 7, 2017
I don't think the kind of religion followed has any effect on the quiz.
+1
level 66
Jan 18, 2017
How come North Korea is not on the list, being a Communist country?
+2
level 68
Jan 18, 2017
Juche has many aspects of a religion. In my mind, it reaches past a political ideology. In any case, they North Koreans didn't take this poll and aren't included in the source. How many Koreans in the North genuinely believe in Juche is an unknowable question, but I imagine most of them would say they have absolute faith in Great Leader
+1
level 20
Jul 11, 2018
They were not allowed to answer the survey.
+1
level 34
Jan 18, 2017
65% israel? im guessing whoever conducted the poll only asked people from tel aviv... i wish it was 65% out of all israelis, maybe 25% these days
+2
level 47
Jan 18, 2017
WTF Spain, Israel and Ireland? Thought it would be full of Catholics and Jews
+1
level 73
Apr 19, 2017
same here
+2
level 52
Jan 18, 2017
Surprised not to see Vatican City on this list.
+1
level 58
Jan 19, 2017
No Iceland? Everyone's an atheist there.
+1
level 65
Jan 24, 2019
That's an apriorism
+1
level 24
Jan 19, 2017
There is a country in europe with 100% Catholic It's Called Vatican City :)
+1
level 65
Apr 21, 2017
I wonder if there's any closet Protestants or atheists living there. I bet they're scared to "come out"
+1
level 66
May 13, 2017
With a population of around 800, most of them not immigrants, I'd imagine that all people there believe what their parents believe in.
+4
level 63
Jul 1, 2017
What? Everyone in Vatican is an immigrant. There are no people born in Vatican at all. The people living in Vatican are clergymen, monks, nuns and such who should not be into babymaking. There has been a few babies born in Vatican though during the WW2 when pregnant jewish women were hiding in Vatican., but those kids for sure did not get a Vatican citizenship.
+1
level 48
Jan 22, 2017
I got all of them with only 4 seconds left!
+2
level 48
Jan 27, 2017
Somehow the Vatican wasn't a correct answer...
+1
level 45
Sep 27, 2018
Are you being sarcastic, or do you actually not know what the Vatican is?
+1
level 45
Jul 1, 2017
Finished with just one second left!
+3
level 43
Nov 3, 2017
Some countries I expected to be on the list but were not: Cuba, Russia, North Korea, Finland, Norway, Iceland, Belguim,
+3
level 51
Apr 24, 2018
Yeah, as a Finn myself, I'm totally questioning Finland's absence on this list. We're not religious, I'd know that. Approx. 71% of Finns belong to Evangelical Lutheran Church, yet ≤10% of them are active church goers. The reason for this is that were born as members of the church (as our parents most likely were members) and then we're just too lazy to leave/resign/whateververbissupposedtobecorrect the church.
+1
level 28
Jan 24, 2019
I agree. I expected Finland, Norway, Iceland to be on the list. But not necessarily Russia, Belgium, Cuba - I'd expect to find Uruguay and Taiwan above those. Norway has about 22% who believes in God, so how over 50% can be religious is a mystery. My only guess is that the survey this quiz was based on, was not conducted in all countries. Norway and Finland's absent might just have been due to them not being surveyed. Anything else makes little sense to me. As a Norwegian interested in religion, I would have know if there were any survey's where the majority of Norwegian identify as religious.
+3
level 45
Feb 12, 2018
What! No Vatican City??????
+2
level 59
Apr 7, 2018
Surpised not to see North Korea in this one
+1
level 66
Apr 24, 2018
I think it would be high on the list, but getting good stats out of North Korea is futile. They have largely replaced religion with a cult of personality for the Kim dynasty. According to Wikipedia, about 64% of the citizens might be considered irreligious, but that has to be mostly speculation.
+2
level 69
Apr 24, 2018
I was surprised not to see New Zealand on the list
+1
level 31
Jul 24, 2019
Me too. I clicked one of the firsts
+1
level 37
Apr 25, 2018
Religion is truly the "Opiate of the masses", as they struggle to survive and strive to purchase eternity in heaven while their leaders bleed them dry so that THEY might live a life of luxury here on earth. I am not being "casually offensive", I am being a realist.
+1
level 66
May 24, 2018
I like how the majority of these countries is doing pretty well in terms of freedom, economy, wealth, technology, etc. etc. Religious countries are obviously still lacking in most of these factors.
+1
level 45
Sep 27, 2018
I salute China can I move there, my mom hates me for being non-religious
+1
level 76
Nov 13, 2018
So the intelligent, well-developed, advanced countries....
+1
level 60
Nov 13, 2018
Israel surprised me and I never remembered answering this.
+1
level 78
Nov 13, 2018
Of all the former Soviet SSRs, apart from Estonia, Azerbaijan is the one I'd expect to show up here the least. Interesting. Is that new following the update? [edit: looking at the stats apparently I've taken this twice before, and I've missed Azerbaijan every time while usually getting all the others. Maybe it will finally sink in this time.]
+1
level 78
Apr 8, 2019
I got it this time. and now I find it curious that I would make this statement in late 2018 which was after I had visited Moldova, Georgia, and Armenia all of which are extremely religious. ..hmm... oh well at least it finally sank in.
+1
level 68
Jan 24, 2019
Very interesting quiz: What actually is 'Religion'?..... it means different things to different people. Some people are religious because they truly believe that their God is somehow aware of everything and is capable of deciding the fate of the world and all within. Many others say they are 'Religious' because their parents say they are and everyone they know says they are, they don't want to be a troublemaker and the rituals and ceremonies keep them playing along with the crowd. Some people are fence-sitters, they have no real faith or belief in any deity, but when asked about religion answer one that they choose, much like the way some people say they support football teams although they know nothing about them and don't watch them. Then there are those that say they are religious out of fear, fear of being ostracised for not believing, fear of being the odd-one-out, fear of upsetting the status quo or fear of giving offence to all the others that are the same: Which are you?
+1
level 68
Jan 24, 2019
PS This is also true of people that say they have no Religion.
+4
level 59
Jan 24, 2019
I messed up completely I though it was a quiz about counties with no regions.
+1
level 49
Apr 8, 2019
Norway does, by the last count, belong on this list.
+1
level 35
Apr 8, 2019
Did the question in question refer to holding religious beliefs, the degree of religious devotion, or both?
+1
level 31
Jul 24, 2019
What about Poland? lol :)
+2
level 78
Jul 24, 2019
Poland is one of the most Catholic countries in Europe, and among the most religious and conservative. I think they only get beat out by Romania, Moldova, and maybe the Vatican.
+1
level 33
Sep 29, 2019
i got them all. i threw azerbaijan in there just because it was the only country i could think of, was surprised to find it was correct!
+1
level 57
Sep 29, 2019
I know the feeling, I guessed Kazakhstan out of boredom (not suprised it wasn't listed)...when I saw Azerbaijan I was like 'ah man, closer than I thought I would!'. :P
+1
level 76
Sep 29, 2019
Israel surprised me a bit
+1
level 57
Sep 29, 2019
Israel? the most arch religious of all
+1
level 57
Sep 29, 2019
Isn't it that the remaining religous parts are like hyper-orthodox or something? From what i've learned a good part is more into 'cultural judaism' (taking part out of tradition and bonding, not out of belief in any supernatural). If this is indeed correct, than Israel seems a bit bipolar to me. :P
+1
level 43
Sep 29, 2019
I tried typing in Vatican, just for fun. Surprinsingly didn't work.
+1
level 57
Sep 29, 2019
Always tricky how it is determined, the Netherlands is according to its own central bureau for statistics only 51% or 52% irreligious, per 2019. It considers this as not being in a deity (mainly focussing on christianity, judaism and islam), quite a bit around here are spiritual though. Given what i've understood about irreligiousity I thought Iceland would have been in the list, but apparently not.
+1
level 24
Sep 29, 2019
So where is North Korea?
+1
level 40
Sep 29, 2019
Lol I was guessing Israel as a joke, I wasn't actually expecting it to be on here
+1
level 35
Sep 29, 2019
I've noticed that many people in Protestan countries believe that Catholic countries are very religious. Probably true for Poland but not Spain, France or Ireland. I've never met a religious person in Spain who was born after the 70's
+1
level 66
Sep 30, 2019
I was particularly surprised by the inclusion of Ireland and Spain on this list, as well as there not being more former-USSR countries.
+2
level 33
Sep 30, 2019
Azerbaijan surprised me af! MY COUNTRY! <3
+3
level 28
Oct 1, 2019
The Progress of civilization... ;)
+1
level 48
Oct 5, 2019
Why did I try to type the VATICAN, that's very stupid of me
+1
level 46
Jan 16, 2020
Should the title be unreligious instead of irreligious. Or am I being stupid?
+1
level 68
Jan 16, 2020
A better title would be 'Non Religious'
+1
level 46
Jan 17, 2020
Yeah that works too