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The future size of religiously affiliated and unaffiliated populations

Hackett, Conrad; Stonawski, Marcin LU ; Potancokova, Michaela; Grim, Brian J. and Skirbekk, Vegard (2015) In Demographic Research 32. p.829-842
Abstract
BACKGROUND People who are religiously unaffiliated (including self-identifying atheists and agnostics, as well as those who say their religion is "nothing in particular") made up 16.4% of the world's population in 2010. Unaffiliated populations have been growing in North America and Europe, leading some to expect that this group will grow as a share of the world's population. However, such forecasts overlook the impact of demographic factors, such as fertility and the large, aging unaffiliated population in Asia. OBJECTIVE We project the future size of religiously affiliated and unaffiliated populations around the world. METHODS We use multistate cohort-component methods to project the size of religiously affiliated and unaffiliated... (More)
BACKGROUND People who are religiously unaffiliated (including self-identifying atheists and agnostics, as well as those who say their religion is "nothing in particular") made up 16.4% of the world's population in 2010. Unaffiliated populations have been growing in North America and Europe, leading some to expect that this group will grow as a share of the world's population. However, such forecasts overlook the impact of demographic factors, such as fertility and the large, aging unaffiliated population in Asia. OBJECTIVE We project the future size of religiously affiliated and unaffiliated populations around the world. METHODS We use multistate cohort-component methods to project the size of religiously affiliated and unaffiliated populations. Projection inputs such as religious composition, differential fertility, and age structure data, as well as religious switching patterns, are based on the best available census and survey data for each country. This research is based on an analysis of more than 2,500 data sources. RESULTS Taking demographic factors into account, we project that the unaffiliated will make up 13.2% of the world's population in 2050. The median age of religiously affiliated women is six years younger than unaffiliated women. The 2010-15 Total Fertility Rate for those with a religious affiliation is 2.59 children per woman, nearly a full child higher than the rate for the unaffiliated (1.65 children per woman). CONCLUSION The religiously unaffiliated are projected to decline as a share of the world's population in the decades ahead because their net growth through religious switching will be more than offset by higher childbearing among the younger affiliated population. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
Demographic Research
volume
32
pages
829 - 842
publisher
Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research
external identifiers
  • wos:000352357900001
  • scopus:84929441374
ISSN
1435-9871
DOI
10.4054/DemRes.2015.32.27
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
3b95f5af-c4ee-49c9-a4aa-9ce3c3e5375e (old id 5402839)
date added to LUP
2015-05-19 13:59:32
date last changed
2017-04-23 03:45:47
@article{3b95f5af-c4ee-49c9-a4aa-9ce3c3e5375e,
  abstract     = {BACKGROUND People who are religiously unaffiliated (including self-identifying atheists and agnostics, as well as those who say their religion is "nothing in particular") made up 16.4% of the world's population in 2010. Unaffiliated populations have been growing in North America and Europe, leading some to expect that this group will grow as a share of the world's population. However, such forecasts overlook the impact of demographic factors, such as fertility and the large, aging unaffiliated population in Asia. OBJECTIVE We project the future size of religiously affiliated and unaffiliated populations around the world. METHODS We use multistate cohort-component methods to project the size of religiously affiliated and unaffiliated populations. Projection inputs such as religious composition, differential fertility, and age structure data, as well as religious switching patterns, are based on the best available census and survey data for each country. This research is based on an analysis of more than 2,500 data sources. RESULTS Taking demographic factors into account, we project that the unaffiliated will make up 13.2% of the world's population in 2050. The median age of religiously affiliated women is six years younger than unaffiliated women. The 2010-15 Total Fertility Rate for those with a religious affiliation is 2.59 children per woman, nearly a full child higher than the rate for the unaffiliated (1.65 children per woman). CONCLUSION The religiously unaffiliated are projected to decline as a share of the world's population in the decades ahead because their net growth through religious switching will be more than offset by higher childbearing among the younger affiliated population.},
  author       = {Hackett, Conrad and Stonawski, Marcin and Potancokova, Michaela and Grim, Brian J. and Skirbekk, Vegard},
  issn         = {1435-9871},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {829--842},
  publisher    = {Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research},
  series       = {Demographic Research},
  title        = {The future size of religiously affiliated and unaffiliated populations},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.4054/DemRes.2015.32.27},
  volume       = {32},
  year         = {2015},
}