NZ bucks religiosity trend

New Zealand is one of only three countries in which religiosity is predicted to decline between now and 2050.

The other two are France and the Netherlands.

These are some of the predictions made by Washington-based think-tank, Pew Research Centre, in a recently published report.

The report predicted that by 2050

  • In the Asia Pacific region, the proportion of freethinkers will decline from 21% in 2010 to 17%
  • The proportion of Christians in New Zealand will decline from 57% to 44.7 %
  • The proportion of unaffiliated in New Zealand will reach 45.1%, making this category the largest “religion,” by a whisker.
  • In North America the proportion of people unaffiliated with any religion will increase from 19% to 23%
  • In Europe the proportion of unaffiliated will increase from 17% to almost 26%.

These projections, which take into account demographic factors such as fertility, age composition and life expectancy, forecast that people with no religion will make up about 13% of the world’s population in 2050, down from roughly 16% as of 2010.

This is largely attributable to the fact that religious “nones” are, on average, older and have fewer children than people who are affiliated with a religion.

Listen to Radio New Zealand’s “The Panel” discussion, Decline of religion

Other predictions include:

  • 40 million people are predicted to switch to Christianity, while 106 million are predicted to leave.
  • The number of Muslims will grow from 1.6 billion in 2010, to 2.76 billion by 2050.
  • The growth in those choosing Christianity will grow far slower, rising from 2.17 billion, to 2.76.
  • The percentage of Christians remains at 31.4 %, while the percentage of Muslims rises from just  23.2% to 29.7%
  • Atheists, agnostics and other people who do not affiliate with any religion – though increasing in countries such as the United States and France – will make up a declining share of the world’s total population.
  • The global Buddhist population will be about the same size it was in 2010, while the Hindu and Jewish populations will be larger than they are today.
  • In Europe, Muslims will make up 10% of the overall population.
  • India will retain a Hindu majority but also will have the largest Muslim population of any country in the world, surpassing Indonesia.
  • In the United States, Christians will decline from more than three-quarters of the population in 2010 to two-thirds in 2050.
  •  Judaism will no longer be the largest non-Christian religion in the United States. Muslims will be more numerous in than people who identify as Jewish on the basis of religion.
  • Four out of every 10 Christians in the world will live in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • The number of countries with a Christian majority is expected to decline from 159 to 151 by 2050.

Pew’s researchers took six years to analyse information from about 2,500 data sources, including censuses, demographic surveys, general population surveys and other studies.


Additional reading

News category: New Zealand.

Tags: , , , , ,