Thursday, August 24, 2006

Atheism rises with economic development and average IQ: The World Values Survey asked respondents whether or not they believed in God. I was suprised how national results ranged from most people to nobody being atheists:

Percent who do not believe in God:

Vietnamese 81.2
East Germany 69.7
Czech Republic 61.1
Estonia 48.6
Sweden 46.6
Japan 42.6
France 38.5
Slovenia 34.8
Bulgaria 33.8
Hungary 31.9
Denmark 31.1
Russia 29.7
Belgium 29.0
Great Britain 28.1
Luxembourg 26.8
West Germany 23.1
New Zealand 20.8
Latvia 20.5
Australia 19.9
Ukraine 19.7
Serbia 17.6
Finland 17.5
Slovakia 17.2
Belarus 17.1
Montenegro 17.0
Iceland 15.6
Armenia 14.4
Lithuania 13.5
Spain 17.1
Uruguay 13.3
Austria 13.2
Singapore 12.9

World 12.4

Bosnia and Herzegovina 12.0
Canada 10.7
Macedonia 9.5
Greece 9.1
Albania 8.3
Northern Ireland 6.8
Georgia 6.8
Croatia 6.8
Italy 6.5
India 5.3
Kyrgyzstan 5.0
USA 4.4
Ireland 4.3
Moldova 4.0
Romania 3.7
Argentina 3.7
Portugal 3.1
Chile 3.0
Poland 2.7
Turkey 2.2
Azerbaijan 2.2
Mexico 2.0
Peru 1.5
South Africa 1.2
Brazil 0.9
Colombia 0.9
Portugal 3.1
Puerto Rico 0.8
Tanzania 0.7
El Salvador 0.6
Iran 0.6
Uganda 0.6
Philippines 0.6
Bangladesh 0.5
Malta 0.5
Nigeria 0.3
Algeria 0.2
Jordan 0.2
Saudi Arabia 0.1
Indonesia 0.1
Morocco 0.0
Pakistan 0.0
Egypt 0.0

It does not please me to write that smarter countries are more atheistic because I consider myself a believer (probably "hoper" is the more correct term) but thems the facts. Europe and Asia are the most skeptical regions, and they are also the most intelligent. There are several smart, believing countries, however (smart=95+ means): Singapore (103), Italy (102), Poland (99), USA (98), Canada (97), Argentina (96), and Portugal (95). From what I can see, there isn't a single atheistic country that is stupid. Unintelligent countries are uniformly believers. And it appears that the religious atmosphere in many Muslim countries snuff out any atheism whatsoever (at least you can't find people willing to admit that they are non-believers.)


  1. Not related to the topic, but I figured I'd post in the most recent post rather than further down. But re: picture of personality across the world, the Five-Factor Model people have started to do so just starting within the past 5 years. I'm going to write up a nice post on it for the Gene Expression blog, but here are two good starters (assumes basic knowledge of the "Big Five" traits -- you could just read the Wikipedia entry):

    No PubMed for this one:
    Allik & McCrae (2004). TOWARD A GEOGRAPHY OF PERSONALITY TRAITS: Patterns of Profiles Across 36 Cultures. JOURNAL OF CROSS-CULTURAL PSYCHOLOGY, Vol. 35 No. 1, January 2004 13-28
    DOI: 10.1177/0022022103260382

    I remember you having univ access, but if you can't access these particular journals, just email me for the PDFs.

  2. Hmm, the PubMed link didn't go through. The ref is:

    McCrae, Terracciano, et al. (2005). Personality profiles of cultures: aggregate personality traits. J of Personality & Social Psychology. Sep;89(3):407-25.

  3. Saudi is officially 100% Islamic, so the government would dispute that .1% claiming to be atheist.

    The question seems to assume monotheism. I suppose the concept is pretty widespread nowadays, but hundreds of years ago if you asked most people around the world "Do you believe in God" it would be like asking "Do you believe in Dog?".

  4. Note that there is a death penaly on being Ateist i in Iran (0.6%).


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