Religion is a belief system that governs faith and worship towards the Almighty. Additionally, it provides guidelines for human life on Earth. Across the globe, various religions exist, ranging from Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, to Hinduism.
The number of adherents varies greatly, with some boasting billions of followers. In this article, we will explore the five largest religions in the world and the approximate number of their adherents.
The World’s Five Largest Religions
According to the Pew Research Center, nearly 84% of the global population adheres to some form of religion, while approximately 1.2 billion people identify as non-religious.
- With around 2.4 billion adherents, Christianity is the largest religion in the world. It can further divide into six major branches: Catholicism, Protestantism, Eastern Orthodoxy, Anglicanism, Oriental Orthodoxy, and the Assyrian Church of the East.
- The United States has the largest Christian population, with 253 million adherents, followed by Brazil with 185 million, and Mexico with 118 million.
- Islam is the second-largest religion globally, with 1.8 billion followers. It has a significant presence in countries like the Maldives, Saudi Arabia, and Mauritania, where nearly 100% of the population adheres to Islam.
- In several Middle Eastern countries such as Kuwait, Iran, Sudan, Pakistan, Turkey, and Afghanistan, around 95% of the population practices Islam.
- Projections indicate that the number of Muslims may reach 3 billion by 2060.
- Hinduism ranks third among the world’s largest religions, boasting 1.2 billion adherents. The majority of Hindus reside in India, Nepal, and Mauritius.
- India stands out with nearly 80% of its population practicing Hinduism, followed by Nepal with 79%, and Mauritius with 48%.
- Hindu communities can also be found in the Caribbean, Southeast Asia, North America, and South America.
- Buddhism, the fourth-largest religion, has over 500 million followers worldwide. Notably, approximately 18% (around 250 million) of Buddhists are in China.
- Other significant Buddhist populations are located in East and South Asia, including countries like Thailand, where nearly 93% of the population follows Buddhism. Thailand is the second-largest Buddhist nation after China.
- Shintoism, which originated in Japan around the 8th century CE, is the fifth-largest religion in the world. As of 2022, there are approximately 104 million adherents worldwide.
- Shintoism plays a fundamental role in Japanese culture and traditions, influencing many aspects of daily life.
These five major religions shape the beliefs and practices of a significant portion of the world’s population. Each religion has its unique teachings, traditions, and cultural influences. Understanding the diversity of faiths across the globe is essential for fostering tolerance and promoting peaceful coexistence among different religious communities.