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  1. Opinion

The Godless and the God-fearing

Published Aug. 18, 2012

Gallup International polled a global audience on a simple question: Irrespective of whether you attend a place of worship or not, would you say you are a religious person, not a religious person or a convinced atheist? Here are some highlights of the poll, released last week.

In the world

Of 51,927 people polled in 57 countries around the world:

59 percent of the world said that they think of themselves as religious;

23 percent think of themselves as not religious;

13 percent think of themselves as convinced atheists;

5 percent didn't know or wouldn't answer.

In the United States

Often thought of as a very religious country, the United States didn't poll anywhere near the top of nations of believers. It ranked only 34th. America is slightly more religious than Belgium, slightly less so than South Africa and nowhere near Ghana, the most religious country in the poll. Americans' responses to polling showed:

60 percent said that they think of themselves as religious (it was 73 percent in 2005);

30 percent think of themselves as not religious;

5 percent think of themselves as convinced atheists (it was 1 percent in 2005).

5 percent didn't know or wouldn't answer.

Top 10 largest atheist populations (percent atheist)

China 47%

Japan 31%

Czech Republic 30%

France 29%

South Korea 15%

Germany 15%

Netherlands 14%

Austria 10%

Iceland 10%

Australia 10%

Ireland 10%

Top 10 largest religious populations (percent religious)

Ghana 96%

Nigeria 93%

Armenia 92%

Fiji 92%

Macedonia 90%

Romania 89%

Iraq 88%

Kenya 88%

Peru 86%

Brazil 85%

Read the complete results at tinyurl.com/tbtimes- religion