By Munyaradzi Makoni
Africa has topped the list of most devout regions of the world, with 89 percent calling themselves religious, according to a worldwide poll called “The Global Index of Religiosity and Atheism.”
In Ghana, 96 percent of respondents said they were religious, followed by Nigeria at 93 percent and Kenya at 88 percent. There was no change in the Ghana figure since 2005, the last time the poll was conducted. Nigeria and Kenya were both down 1 percent.
Conducted by WIN-Gallup International, the poll is based on interviews with 50,000 people from 57 countries and five continents.
Participants were asked, “Irrespective of whether you attend a place of worship or not, would you say you are a religious person, not a religious person, or a convinced atheist?”
Worldwide, the number of self-proclaimed atheists rose to 7 percent from 4 percent in 2005.
In other African countries, 75 percent of respondents in South Sudan said they were religious and 6 percent atheists.
The number of religious South Africans has dropped to 64 percent from 83 percent in 2005.
In terms of religiosity, Latin America was second to Africa, with 84 percent of respondents saying they are religious. In South Asia, the figure was 83 percent and in the Arab world, 77 percent.
In the U.S., the number of Americans who say they are “religious” dropped to 60 percent from 73 percent. The number of Americans who say they are atheists rose to 5 percent from 1 percent.