MANILA – Asia’s bastion of Catholicism is one of the most religious countries in the world, a study by international polling group Gallup International showed.
The 2017 study, which explored the religious beliefs of over 66,000 people in 68 countries, found out that 6 out of 10 people (62 percent) worldwide consider themselves to be religious.
The Philippines, with over 80 percent of its population baptized as Catholics, ranked fifth among the most religious countries with a rating of 90 percent.
Southeast Asian neighbor Thailand emerged as the most religious country with almost its entire population (98 percent) declaring to be religious.
This was followed by Nigeria at 97 percent; Kosovo, India, Ghana, Ivory Coast, and Papua New Guinea next, all with a rating of 94 percent); and Fiji and Armenia, both with 92 percent.
China, meanwhile, was deemed as the least religious country, where almost 7 out of 10 people are atheists, more than double that of any other country. Some 23 percent of the Chinese consider themselves non-religious people.
Next to China are the countries Sweden, Czech Republic, and United Kingdom.
Worldwide, a quarter (25 percent) think of themselves as non-religious while 9 percent consider themselves as atheists.
HIGHER EDUCATION, LESSER RELIGIOSITY
The study also found that as the education level of respondents increased, their levels of religiosity decreased.
Eighty-three percent of people with lower education levels were religious compared to the 49 percent of people with higher education who identified themselves as religious.
A majority of religious people can also be found among low-income earners at 66 percent, compared to high-income earners at 50 percent.
“Those without education express more beliefs than those who reached higher levels of education and those who have less available income express more beliefs than those with higher income,” the association said.
A majority of people worldwide also believe that we have a soul (74 percent), and believe in God (71 percent).
More than half of the global population meanwhile, believe in heaven (56 percent) and that there is life after death (54 percent), while nearly half (49 percent) believe in hell.
Religiosity also decreases as people age, with the younger ones (18 to 24 years old) having the most number of people who believe in God at 74 percent.
This drops to 67 percent among those aged 65 and older.
Countries that believe the most in the existence of God, soul, life after death, hell and heaven are Bangladesh, Indonesia, Ghana, Pakistan and Papua New Guinea.
“The survey confirmed that religion is a relevant aspect in the lives of individuals at a worldwide level, even though the history of each country and the levels of education have a considerable influence on the perception of these values,” said Vilma Scarpino, interim President of the Gallup International Association.
text ARIANNE MEREZ
This article was originally published on ABS-CBN NEWS.