How Much of Asia Is Religiously Unaffiliated?

China is one of the world's most irreligious countries.
China is one of the world's most irreligious countries.

The continent of Asia it the world's largest continent, the most populous, and now the most irreligious. It is the most irreligious continent by both numbers of people who consider themselves of no particular religion affiliation and by percent of such in the total population. To be religiously unaffiliated does not mean atheism which the outright belief that there is no higher power, that is to say, God. It also includes agnosticism and skepticism which is religious fence sitting: people who do not affirm or deny the existence of a higher power.


Approximately 16% of the world's population is religiously unaffiliated. However, in Asia, 21.2% of the population is irreligious accounting for 76% of religiously unaffiliated people in the world.According to Pew Research Center, a Washington based fact tank, 68% of the religiously unaffiliated US adults, 7% of the Chinese and 30% of the French have a belief in a higher power or God. These figures show that in China (which is the case for most of Asia), the irreligious population is mainly atheist. The high proportion of atheists among the irreligious in Asia is different from Europe and North America where most of the irreligious people believe in the existence of God.

The Irreligion In China

China is one of the most irreligious countries in Asia and the world by percentage (51%). Becomes the most irreligious country ranking is done by the number of people since given its massive population (Chinese account for 1 out of every four people in the world). Most researchers regard the high number of atheists in China as being related to the fact that it is a communist country. Communist philosophy regards religion a tool with which the bourgeois oppress the masses. The founder of Communism, Karl Marx, is said to have referred to religion as opium for the poor, and during the 27-year rule of Mao Zedong religious movements were banned.

Irreligion In Japan

In Japan, 48% of the people consider themselves irreligious out of which 39% are full-fledged atheists. This has been attributed to Shintoism having been the traditional religion of Japan. Shintoism was not based on an omnipotent deity but rather on mythology and ritual of ancient Japan. Science has challenged and in some cases disapproved the mythology while modern day living makes the ritual empty or impractical. In response, the Japanese are abandoning the religion of the ancestors and filling the void with atheism.

Irreligion In North Korea

North Korea officially known as the Democratic People's Republic of Korea has over 60% of the people being irreligious. Irreligion can be attributed to North Korea, like China, being a communist country. Besides, the state formed and continues to foster a personality cult based around the ruling Kim family. The government claims that there is religious freedom in the country but public displays of religious belief attract suppression from state machinery.According to Amnesty International, a human rights watchdog, there are serious concerns about religious persecution in North Korea.

Future Trends

In 2015, three out of four religiously unaffiliated people lived in Asia. Pew Research Group predicts by 2060 the proportion will fall to 66% due to an aging population and low fertility.


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