The 10 Most Widespread Religions in the World - Official Ranking 2022

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Joel Fulleda

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Which are the most popular religions in the world?

Religious traditions have accompanied man and peoples since the most remote times, it is not by chance that there are many religious cults in the world. But which are the most widespread religions? To answer this question, we have analyzed some parallel studies carried out from 2002 to the present day. Through our research we have found that it is impossible to know the exact number of adherents to each religion, since in many countries of the world there is no religious classification in official censuses. Therefore, the following classification is the result of a combination of censuses and unofficial surveys, the results of which give an approximate idea of the diffusion of the various cults.


  1. Top 10 most practiced religions
  2. Number of non-believers in the world

The 10 most practiced religions worldwide are:

10 - Judaism, 14 million followers.

Judaism is the ancient doctrine of Abraham, Jacob and Isaac, was born in 1300 BC and is one of the oldest religions in the world. The term Judaism indicates not only a religion but also a way of life and a cultural tradition referred to the Jewish people, present in various communities around the world. The reference text of Judaism is the Torah, together with the Tanach and a series of orally transmitted teachings, namely the texts of the Mishnah and the Talmud.

Continents or nations where it is widespread: Judaism is widespread in more than 100 countries, Israel being the only nation with a Jewish majority. Important communities are also widespread in Europe, the United States, Russia, Asia, Latin America and Australia.

9 - Spiritism, 15 million followers

It is a religious movement that originated in the United States and then spread to Europe as well. The followers of this religion claim to be able to contact the souls of the deceased through so-called "séances", or meetings where a medium (a person with particular extrasensory gifts) can communicate with some souls. They, who possess special knowledge of otherworldly truths, are asked for instructions on how to discover the answers to some of humanity's fundamental riddles. Spiritualists believe that the fear of death and the pain of losing a loved one can be overcome in this way. Important personalities of modern spiritualism were AJ Davis and Allan Kardec, who later founded the Kardecist movement.

Continents or nations where it is widespread: Canada, Great Britain, France, Germany, Jamaica, Japan, Portugal, Spain, United States and particularly in Latin America, including Argentina, Uruguay, Cuba, Puerto Rico and Brazil.

8 - Sikhism, 30 million followers

Sikhism was founded by Guru Nanak between 1469 and 1539 AD in the Punjab region of India. It is the most widespread dharmic religion and its followers are called Sikhs. The holy book of this religion is the Guru Granth Sahib, which was originally written in the Gurmukhi alphabet. Sikhs can be recognized by the typical turban, especially the one worn by men.

Continents or nations where it is widespread: Indian region of Punjab, some communities are located in North America (United States and Canada) and Great Britain.

7 - African religions, 100 million followers

There are as many African religions as there are diverse populations. If the northern part of the continent has an Islamic majority, the populations of sub-Saharan Africa have developed a specific religion, which is part of their cultural heritage. Since the concept of proselytism is absent in these doctrines, it is difficult to find a common historical origin, as well as a single geographical extension. Therefore, the term "traditional" indicates those religions that originate on the African continent and have not been imported, such as Islam or Christianity. African traditional religions do not refer to a written text, but the custody of the doctrine is entrusted to the memory of the elders and to oral transmission, sometimes through proverbs and stories.

Continents or nations where it is widespread: Sub-Saharan Africa.

6 - minor ethnic religions, 300 million followers

Ethnic religions are closely related to an ethnic group and are distinguished from religions such as Christianity or Islam. Japanese Shintoism are ethnic religions but also some numerically important cults, such as Hinduism, Judaism and Chinese folk religion. These three have been included separately in the ranking. If we had combined all ethnic religions, we would have more than 1 billion and 700 million adherents.

Continents or nations in which it is widespread: India, Middle East, China, Japan

5 - Buddhism, 376 million followers

Buddhism was founded in 600 BC by Siddhartha Gautama, also known as "the Buddha". It is also part of the Dharmic religions and, like Hinduism, its teachings are based on the concepts of life after death, karma and reincarnation. The sacred book of this religion is Tripitaka, written in the Pali language. There are some schools of Buddhism, such as Mahayana, Vajrayana and Hinayana. Many Asian regions also follow Tibetan Buddhism, which is part of the Vajrayana school.

Continents or nations where it is widespread: China and Southeast Asia, Tibet, Mongolia and part of Russia.

4 - Traditional Chinese religion, 394 million adherents

By Chinese folk religion we mean a set of beliefs, superstitious gestures and good luck rituals followed by most Chinese. From these beliefs various Taoist schools were born, which enriched the doctrine of concepts, rites and divinities. Also known as shenism, it refers precisely to the worship of "shen", or "gods" or "spirits" that may coincide with elements of nature or a particular place, ancestors of a certain clan, a village, a city, or even of the same nation.

Continents or nations in which it is widespread: China

3 - Hinduism, 1 billion followers

It is the oldest religion in the world and almost the entire Hindu population lives in South Asia or India. The interesting aspect of this religion is that there is no founder, although the birth of this religion can be dated back to 1500 BC The sacred books of Hinduism are the Upanishands and the Vedas.

Continents or nations in which it is widely spread: India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bali

2 - Islam, 1.6 billion adherents

Islam was founded in 610 AD by the Prophet Muhammad. The followers of this religion firmly believe in the teachings of the prophet, in Allah, in the tradition of the Sunnah (a series of behaviors and traditions that are often transmitted orally) and in what is written in the Koran, the holy book. Muslims are divided into two groups: Shiites (10%) and Sunnis (90%). Islam is a monotheistic religion which, in countries where it is particularly widespread, does not distinguish between worship and civil life. Political life is also regulated by doctrine. The term Islam means "submissive to God" and the word by which the followers are called, Muslim, means "he who does the will of God".

Continents or nations in which it is widespread: especially in Asia and Africa; among the states with the largest number of Muslims are Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Turkey, Iran, Egypt, Nigeria

1 - Christianity, 2.2 billion adherents

Christianity is part of the Abrahamic religions and is the most widespread religion in the world. Christians believe that Jesus is the son of God and await the day of his return.
The sacred book is the Bible, divided into Old and New Testaments. There are three types of Christian communities: Orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism and Protestantism. Each section has different beliefs, prayers and traditions.

Continents or nations in which it is widespread: Europe, part of Asia, some African states, United States, Latin America.

Number of non-believers in the world

Non-believers are approximately 1.1 billion people, or 15.35% of the world population. However, it should be specified that there are different types, among them:

  • Secularists: people who declare their independence and deviate from any religious confession;
  • Atheist: people who do not believe in the existence of any deity;
  • Irreligious: those who show indifference or even hostility towards any religion;
  • Agnostic: adhering to the philosophy that holds that the human mind is incapable of knowing the absolute, so the individual suspends his judgment regarding the problem of the existence of God, since he does not or cannot have sufficient knowledge of it.

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