Maps & Charts

The timeline, pie-charts and maps in this section are designed to give visual perspective to the practice of religion in the world.

The pie-chart below shows the proportion of adherents in the world per religion in a format with which we are rather familiar.

The maps in this section show the worldwide distribution of nine major spiritual traditions, and in some cases their main branches and places of pilgrimage.

Very few countries still have a mono-religious culture. The colour of a country on the maps indicates the religion practiced by the majority of the religious people living there. For example, although less than 50% of the people in the Netherlands or China officially practice any religion, the colours of these countries represent Protestant Christianity and Tao & Chinese Traditional Religions, respectively.The impact of minority or local religions is impossible to account for on these maps. Furthermore, religions of people who inhabit vast sparsely populated areas might appear more widespread than statistics warrant. Overall, future trends point towards an increase in religious diversity and pluralism on a worldwide scale.

The main sources are noted on each map or chart. Some of the maps and charts were specially made during earlier stages of the Project during earlier stages. Not all of the graphics have been updated to include our latest versions of the pictograms, categories and terminology. This will hopefully be done in the near future.

The Worldmapper* collection of maps may appear unusual at first glance. The continents are re-sized on each map according to the subject of interest and, in this case, the number of adherents per continent. In the map below, the proportion of the number of adherents of any religious tradition determines the shape of the different continents. India, for example, is a densely populated country the majority of which claim to be religious. NB The colours in each Worldmapper map corresponds to the continent, not to a particular tradition.

* There are now nearly 700 maps in the Worldmapper collection, all created and contributed by professional cartographers under the Creative Commons licence Creative Commons Licence
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.. If you are interested in seeing more of these kinds of maps please consult the web site. Maps 1-366 are also available as PDF posters. Please note that the Worldmapper is without funding at the moment and therefore not updated regularly. The group would be delighted to receive your support.