Agnosticism statistics

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Below are some agnosticism statistics covering a variety of topics.

Global agnosticism statistics

See also: Global agnosticism and Desecularization and Global atheism

Secular Europe has one of the highest rates of agnosticism rates in the world. According to the agnostic scholar Eric Kaufmann, in the Europe of tomorrow, immigration and religious fertility will increase the proportion of committed Christians in Europe, many from the developing world.[1]

In 2015, Pew Research indicated in their report The Future of World Religions: Population Growth Projections, 2010-2050 that agnostics and atheists “will make up a declining share of the world’s total population.”[2]

The Center for the Study of Global Christianity (CSGC) at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary estimated that agnostics made up 9.5% of the global population in 2015. CSGC projects that agnosticism will be 8.71% of the global population in 2025 and 7.19% of the global population in 2050.[3]

Secular Europe has one of the highest rates of agnosticism rates in the world. In 2014, the Pew Research Forum indicated that Europe will go from 11% of the world's population to 7% of the world's population by 2050.[4]

The agnostic Eric Kaufmann is a professor of politics at Birkbeck, University of London and author. His academic research specialty is how demographic changes affect religion/irreligion and politics.

Kaufmann wrote in 2010:

Worldwide, the march of religion can probably only be reversed by a renewed, self-aware secularism. Today, it appears exhausted and lacking in confidence... Secularism's greatest triumphs owe less to science than to popular social movements like nationalism, socialism and 1960s anarchist-liberalism. Ironically, secularism's demographic deficit means that it will probably only succeed in the twenty-first century if it can create a secular form of 'religious' enthusiasm." [5]

According to Kaufmann, in the Europe of tomorrow, immigration and religious fertility will increase the proportion of committed Christians in Europe, many from the developing world.[6] See also: Desecularization

Frequency of agnosticism in Western World Countries

Financial Times (FT)/Harris Poll among adults in 5 countries in 2006

Agnosticism has become a fairly common belief system in Western culture with 14% of people in the United States, 32% of people in France and 35% of people in Great Britain self-identifying as agnostics.[7]

Europe and agnosticism statistic

See also: Secular Europe

According to a poll measuring religious identification in the European Union in 2012 by Eurobarometer, 16% identify as non-religious/agnostic and 7% of EU citizens identify as atheists.[8][9]

The 2010 eurobarometer poll found that on total average, of the EU27 population, 51% "believe in a God", 26% believe in "some sort of spirit or life force" and 20% had neither of these forms of belief.[10]

World agnosticism map

American agnosticism: Race and gender statistics

See also: Western agnosticism and race and Western atheism and race and Atheism and women

Pew Research reported in 2012:

Atheists and agnostics are particularly likely to be non-Hispanic whites. Fully eight-in-ten atheists and agnostics (82%) are white, 3% are black, 6% are Hispanic, and the remainder is of some other race or of mixed race.

Atheists and agnostics are much more likely to be male (64%) than female (36%).[11]

Agnosticism and religiosity statistics

According to a 2007 Harris poll, 89% of agnostics describe themselves as not very religious or not religious at all. Merely 11% of agnostics describe themselves as somewhat religious or very religious.[12]

Agnosticism and morality statistics

Barna Group studies: Atheism and morality

Barna Group study on behavior of agnostics vs. evangelical Christians:

Richard Deem wrote:

A random sample of 1003 adults were surveyed in May, 2008 by The Barna Group for their participation in a number of negative behaviors within the previous week. The results showed that there were vast differences in the behaviors of evangelicals compared to agnostics/atheists.

These results show that atheists/agnostics participate in morally questionable behaviors to a much greater degree than evangelical Christians - an average of nearly five times the frequency![13]

Barna Group study related to agnostics' beliefs about behaviors:

The Barna Group found that agnostics and atheists in America were more likely, than theists in America, to look upon the following behaviors as morally acceptable: illegal drug use; excessive drinking; sexual relationships outside of marriage; abortion; cohabitating with someone of opposite sex outside of marriage; obscene language; gambling; pornography and obscene sexual behavior; and engaging in homosexuality/bisexuality.[14]

Given the many diseases associated with homosexuality, the biblical prohibition against homosexuality is quite arguably one of the many example where the Bible exhibited knowledge that was ahead of its time. See also: Atheism and sexual immorality

Agnosticism and Uncharitableness

Per capita agnostics and atheists in the United States give significantly less to charity than theists.

According to a study by the Barna Group:

The typical no-faith American donated just $200 in 2006, which is more than seven times less than the amount contributed by the prototypical active-faith adult ($1500). Even when church-based giving is subtracted from the equation, active-faith adults donated twice as many dollars last year as did atheists and agnostics. In fact, while just 7% of active-faith adults failed to contribute any personal funds in 2006, that compares with 22% among the no-faith adults.[15]

Agnosticism statistic about importance of acquiring wealth

The Barna Group reported: "agnostics were more likely than were Christians to be focused on living a comfortable, balanced lifestyle (12% versus 4%) or on acquiring wealth (10% versus 2%)."[16]

American agnostics and fertility rates

See also: Causes of desecularization and Atheism and fertility rates

The Washington Post wrote about the United States and fertility rates for various religious groups:

According to Pew's data, the average Mormon can expect to make 3.4 babies in his or her lifetime. Jews, Catholics, and most flavors of Protestantism have fertility rates ranging from 2 to 2.5. At the low end of the baby-making spectrum you've got atheists, with 1.6 kids, and agnostics, who average only 1.3.[17]

Irreligion and sexuality

See also: Atheism and sexuality

Research indicates that religious women (especially evangelical/low church Protestant women) are more sexually satisfied than irreligious women.[18][19][20]

American agnostics and belief in life after death statistic

According to a study performed in the United States by researchers Wink and Scott, very religious people fear death the least.[21]

The website Skeptics Guide indicates that a significant number of agnostics and atheists believe in life after death and the website reported:

A survey compiled in 2014 by The Austin Institute for the Study of Family and Culture (AISFC) reveals that 32 percent of Americans who identified themselves as agnostics and atheists believe in an afterlife of some kind. In addition, 6 percent of the same non-theistic group expressed a belief in a “bodily resurrection”. These numbers were taken from a sample of 15,738 Americans, all of which were between the ages of 18 and 60. According to the data, 13.2 percent of Americans identify themselves as atheist, agnostic, or some other variation of non-believing.

I found these results to be quite surprising. Having been immersed in circles of atheists and agnostics for the past 20 years, the numbers revealed by this study are higher than I would have guessed, by quite a lot. What stands out the most is that 6% expressed a belief in resurrection. It could be a statistical anomaly of some sort (perhaps the respondents did not understand the question about bodily resurrection?) Why an atheist or agnostic would believe that a dead person could come back to life seems entirely contrary to their worldview.[22]

American agnosticism and political views statistics

According to the atheist Austin Cline:

...agnostics are widely perceived to be liberal, but that's more than just perception: there is good statistical evidence showing strong liberal tendencies among atheists and agnostics. Liberal beliefs show up most strongly in those areas where religiously conservative Christians are most likely to take the opposition position. Coincidence? Unlikely.

As part of a larger poll on religious belief, Harris Interactive asked people the following question: "Please indicate whether you support or oppose the policy." These are the percentages of atheists and agnostics who agreed with the following answers:

  • Abortion rights: 90%
  • Use of birth control/contraception: 99%
  • Abstinence from sex before marriage: 31%
  • Condom use to prevent HIV and other STDs: 99%
  • Funding of international HIV prevention and treatment programs: 95%
  • Funding of international birth control programs 87%
  • Universal health insurance: 89%
  • Sex education in high school: 94%
  • Embryonic stem cell research: 96%
  • Withdrawal of life support systems/food for those in vegetative state: 86%
  • Medicare (health insurance for the elderly and disabled): 97%
  • Medicaid (health insurance for people with low incomes): 91%[23]

Secular Europe health statistics

See also: Atheism and health

From a global perspective, Europe is more secular than the rest of the world although it does have a considerable amount of religious immigrants who have higher birth rates.

Secular European alcoholism statistics

See also: Secular Europe and alcoholism and Atheism and alcoholism

According to the World Health Organization's (WHO) regional office in Europe, "The WHO European Region has the highest proportion in the world of total ill health and premature death due to alcohol.[24]

According to the World Health Organization's (WHO) regional office in Europe:

The WHO European Region has the highest proportion in the world of total ill health and premature death due to alcohol.

A country’s total per capita alcohol consumption is closely related to its prevalence of alcohol-related harm and alcohol dependence. This high level of harm hides enormous alcohol-related health inequalities between eastern and western Europe, particularly for injury deaths.

Both the volume of lifetime alcohol use and a combination of frequency of drinking and amount drunk per occasion increase the risk of health and social harm, largely in a dose-dependent manner.

The risk of death from a chronic alcohol-related condition is found to increase linearly from zero consumption in a dose–response manner with the volume of alcohol consumed.

At a societal level, the European Union is the heaviest-drinking region in the world, with over one fifth of the European population aged 15 years and above reporting heavy episodic drinking (five or more drinks on an occasion, or 60g alcohol) at least once a week. Heavy episodic drinking is widespread across all ages and all of Europe, and not only among young people or those from northern Europe.[25]

European obesity statistics

See also: Secular Europe and obesity

The World Health Organization (WHO) recently reported:

Based on the latest estimates in European Union countries, overweight affects 30-70% and obesity affects 10-30% of adults.

Estimates of the number of overweight infants and children in the WHO European Region rose steadily from 1990 to 2008. Over 60% of children who are overweight before puberty will be overweight in early adulthood.[26]

See also


  1. Shall the Righteous Inherit the Earth? Demography and Politics in the Twenty-First Century by Eric Kaufmann
  2. The Future of World Religions: Population Growth Projections, 2010-2050, Pew Research Forum
  3. Status of Global Christianity, 2015, in the Context of 1900–2050
  4. 10 projections for the global population in 2050 By Rakesh Kochhar, Pew Research Forum, February 3, 2014
  5. Shall the religious inherit the earth? - Eric Kaufmann
  6. Shall the Righteous Inherit the Earth? Demography and Politics in the Twenty-First Century by Eric Kaufmann
  8. [ Cultur de Europa
  9. Discrimination in the EU in 2012" (PDF), Special Eurobarometer, 383 (European Union: European Commission), p. 233, 2012, archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-12-02, retrieved 14 August 2013 The question asked was "Do you consider yourself to be...?" With a card showing: Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, Other Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Sikh, Buddhist, Hindu, Atheist, and Non-believer/Agnostic. Space was given for Other (SPONTANEOUS) and DK. Jewish, Sikh, Buddhist, Hindu did not reach the 1% threshold.
  10. "Special Eurobarometer, biotechnology, page 204" (PDF). Fieldwork: Jan-Feb 2010.
  11. [ “Nones” on the Rise Demographics], Pew Research
  12. Most Atheists & Agnostics in America are Not Religious
  13. Atheism Doesn't Lead to Immoral Behavior - Or Does It? by Richard Deem
  14. Practical outcomes replace biblical principles as the moral standard, Barna Group
  15. Atheists and Agnostics Take Aim at Christians The Barna Update, 2007.
  16. [Atheists and Agnostics Take Aim at Christians], Barna Group, Research Releases in Faith & Christianity • June 11, 2007
  17. Charted: The religions that make the most babies, Washington Post
  18. The Social Organization of Sexuality: Sexual Practices in the United States By Edward O. Laumann, John H. Gagnon, Robert T. Michael, Stuart Michaels, page 115
  19. Why Are Christians Having Better Sex Than the Rest of Us? by Tucker Carlson, The Daily Beast, November 11, 25, 2008
  20. Christian Women Have More Sexual Fun, Relationship Center in Springfield Missouri
  21. Fear of death: worst if you’re a little religious?, World of Science]
  22. Survey: 32% of Atheists & Agnostics Believe in an Afterlife
  23. Atheists & Agnostics in America Tend to be Politically Liberal
  24. World Health Organization's (WHO) regional office in Europe - Alcohol usage of Europe
  25. World Health Organization's (WHO) regional office in Europe- Alcohol usage of Europe
  26. World Health Organization - Regional Office for Europe - The challenge of obesity - quick statistics