Study: “Nones” third-largest religious group worldwide

A new report on global religious identity shows that while Christians and Muslims make up the two largest groups, those with no religious affiliation — including but not limited to atheists and agnostics — are now the third-largest “religious” group in the world.

The study, released Tuesday (Dec. 18) by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, found that more than eight in 10 (84 percent) of the world’s 7 billion people adheres to some form of religion. Christians make up the largest group, with 2.2 billion adherents, or 32 percent worldwide, followed by Muslims, with 1.6 billion adherents, or 23 percent worldwide.

Close behind are the “nones” — those who say they have no religious affiliation or say they do not believe in God — at 1.1 billion, or 16 percent. That means that about the same number of people who identify as Catholics worldwide say they have no religion.

“One out of six people does not have a religious identity,” said Conrad Hackett, a primary researcher and demographer on the study.

Read more at Religion News Service.

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