Maps and Tables

by Alphonse Eylenburg
eylenburg.github.io

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World Map of Religions

Last updated: 2021

This is a world map of religions. Generally, the level of detail varies. For some countries, only province-level information or only rough estimates are available. For other countries, religion data is available down to every village.

Two notes: First, some of the religions (Alawism, Alevism, Druze faith etc.) are often classified as sub-groups of Islam, but sometimes classified as older gnostic religions dissimulating as Islam. Dr. Michael Izady, whose great maps I used for the Middle East, argues for the classification as pre-Islamic religions who need to dissimulate as Muslims to avoid persecution.
Second, in Asia, it is often impossible to map the religions as it is usual for people to follow two or more religions (such as folk Shinto and Buddhism in Japan or Confucianism, Taoism, and Chinese folk religion in China). Therefore, some religions "share" a colour. China is based on this recent map. In North Korea, the largest religion seems to be Korean folk religion, closely followed by Cheondoism (a syncretic religion based on Korean religion and Confucianism). In South Korea, I included all provinces with Christianity as largest religion as Protestant. In all of these provinces, Protestantism was larger than Catholicism, however, in some of these Buddhism was larger than Protestantism alone. However, Christianity is still the largest religion in those regions, so it would be more misleading to show Buddhism instead.

World Map of Religions

Source: eylenburg.github.io

World map of Religions
Religion Branches Category Derived from Founder Date of founding Area of origin Adherents Where to look on the map
Middle Eastern Religions
Judaism Rabbinic (Orthodox, Conservative, Reform) Abrahamic, Jewish Early Judaism ← Ancient Mesopotamian religion Abraham 1000 BC? (Judaism) Middle East 14m Israel
Samaritanism1 Abrahamic, Jewish Early Judaism ← Ancient Mesopotamian religion Abraham 1000 BC? (Judaism) Middle East few (<800) West Bank (Palestine)
Christianity Nestorianism (Church of the East) Abrahamic, Christian Early Christianity ← Judaism Jesus (Religion) / Nestorius (Church) 30 (Christianity) / 431 (Nestorian Schism) Middle East <1m Middle East
Oriental Orthodoxy Abrahamic, Christian Early Christianity ← Judaism Jesus (Religion) / Pope Dioscorus I (Church) 30 (Christianity) / 431 (Nestorian Schism) Middle East 86m Middle East, Horn of Africa
Eastern Orthodoxy Abrahamic, Christian Early Christianity ← Judaism Jesus (Religion) / Leo of Ohrid (Church) 30 (Christianity) / 1054 (Great Schism) Europe 287m Eastern Europe, Russia
Catholicism (Latin & Eastern) Abrahamic, Christian Early Christianity ← Judaism Jesus (Religion) / Pope Leo IX (Church) 30 (Christianity) / 1054 (Great Schism) Europe 1,200m worldwide
Protestantism (various denominations)2 Abrahamic, Christian Catholicism ← Early Christianity Jesus (Religion) / M. Luther, J. Calvin, Henry VIII, J. Wesley, ... 30 (Christianity) / 1517 (Luther) and later Europe 800m worldwide
Mormonism Abrahamic, Christian Methodism ← Anglicanism (Protestantism) Joseph Smith 1820s North America 17m USA
Mandaeism - Abrahamic, Gnostic Gnosticism ← Early Christianity (John the Baptist?) 1st century Middle East 0.07m Iraq
Islam Sunni Abrahamic, Islamic Early Islam ← Judaism + Nestorianism + Arabic polytheism Muhammad (Religion) / Abu Bakr (Denomination) 610 (Islam) / 632 (Islamic Schism) Middle East 1,455m worldwide
Shia (Mainstream Shia) Abrahamic, Islamic Early Islam ← Judaism + Nestorianism + Arabic polytheism Muhammad (Religion) / Ali ibn Abi Talib (Denomination) 610 (Islam) / 632 (Islamic Schism) Middle East 162m Middle East
Ibadi Abrahamic, Islamic Khariji Islam ← Early Islam Muhammad (Religion) / Abdullah ibn Ibadh (Denomination) 610 (Islam) / 657 (Kharijite secession) Middle East 3m Oman, Zanzibar
Ahmadi3 Abrahamic, Islamic Sunni Islam ← Early Islam Muhammad (Religion) / Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (Denomination) 610 (Islam) / 1889 (Denomination) South Asia 20m Pakistan
Alawism4 - Abrahamic, Gnostic, Islamic unclear (Islam or pre-Islamic?) Ibn Nusayr 10th century Middle East 2m Syria
Nusairism4 - Abrahamic, Gnostic, Islamic unclear (Islam or pre-Islamic?) Ibn Nusayr 10th century Middle East 0.3m Syria
Alevism4 - Abrahamic, Gnostic, Islamic unclear (Islam or pre-Islamic?) ? ? Middle East 25m Middle East
Druzism5 - Abrahamic, Gnostic, Islamic Ismailism ← Shia Islam; others6 Hamza ibn Ali ibn Ahmad & al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah 1017 Middle East 1.5m Levant
Iranian Religions
Zoroastrianism Restorationists, Progressives, Traditionalists Iranian Persian polytheism ← Indo-Iranian folk religion Zoroaster 1500 BC (?) Iran 0.1m Iran
Yezidism7 - Iranian, Gnostic possibly: Yazdanism ← Indo-Iranian folk religion ? ? Kurdistan (?) 0.3m Syria, Iraq
Yarsanism4 - Iranian, Gnostic, Islamic possibly: Yazdanism ← Indo-Iranian folk religion Sultan Sahak late 14th century Iran 1m Iraq
Shabakism4 - Iranian, Gnostic, Islamic possibly: Yazdanism ← Indo-Iranian folk religion ? ? Iraq (?) 0.25m Iraq
Manichaeism Neo-Manichaeism Abrahamic, Gnostic Gnosticism ← Early Christianity ? ? Iraq (?) 0.25m Map shows "Mother Church" in Tehran
Bahai Faith Bahai, Azali8 Abrahamic Babism ← Shia Islam Bab (Babism) / Baha'ullah (Bahai Faith) 1863 Iran 7.5m Iran + 8 worldwide temples on map
Indian Religions
Hinduism Shaivism, Viashnavism, Shaktism, others... Dharmic Brahmanism ← Vedic religion ? as early as 1500 BC India 1,100m South Asia, worldwide
Jainism Digambara, Svetambara Dharmic Shramana tradition ← Vedic religion Mahavira 570 BC India 6m India
Buddhism Theravada Dharmic Early Buddhism ← Shramana tradition Gautama Buddha 532 BC (Early Buddhism) / 250 (School) India 120m South East Asia
Mahayana Dharmic Theravada Buddhism ← Early Buddhism ? c.100 India 185m East Asia
Vajrayana Dharmic Mahayana Buddhism ← Theravada Buddhism ? c.500 India 6m East Asia
Sikhism - Dharmic Hinduism ← Brahmanism Guru Narak c.1500 India 25m India
East Asian Religions
Shenism - Taoic, Chinese, Shamanic = Chinese folk religion ? ? China 454m China
Taoism - Taoic, Chinese Shenism (Chinese folk religion) Laozi 550 BC China 182m China
Confucianism - Taoic, Chinese Shenism (Chinese folk religion) Confucius 520 BC China 6m China
Cheondoism - Taoic, Korean Korean folk religion Cheo Je-u & Son Byeong-hui early 1900s Korea 4m North Korea
Sinism - Korean, Shamanic = Korean folk religion ? ? Korea 15m North Korea
Hoahaoism - Dharmic, Vietnamese Buddhism Hu???nh Phú S??? 1939 Vietnam 1.3m Vietnam
Caodaism - Taoic, Vietnamese Christianity, Taoism, Confucism, Buddhism (syncretic religion) Ngô V??n Chiêu 1926 Vietnam 4.4m Vietnam
Shintoism - Taoic, Japanese, Shamanic = Japanese folk religion ? ? Japan 100m Japan
Tenrikyo - Taoic, Japanese Shintoism Nakayama Miki 1838 Japan 2m Japan
Bön - Tibetan, Shamanic = Tibetan folk religion Tonpa Shenrab Miwoche 6th century (?) Tibet 0.1m Tibet
Tengrism - Altaic, Shamanic = Turkic & Mongolic folk religion ? ? Central & North Asia 0.5m China, Russia
Other Religions
Neopaganism various9 = Revival of extinct pagan religions various c.18/19th century >1m Map shows Asatru temple in Iceland
Animism (thousands of religions) 232m worldwide
Notes:
1: Samaritanism is historically a distinct branch of Judaism that differs from mainstream Judaism (Pharisaic/Rabbinic) and is often seen as a separate religion today.
2: Protestant denominations include Lutheranism, Calvinism, Anabaptism, Baptism, Anglicanism, Methodism, Pentecostalism, Presbyterianism, Congregationalism, and many more.
3: The Ahmadiyyas refers to themselves as Muslim, but are often seen as heretic by other Muslims (including the Pakistani census).
4: These religions often dissimulate as sects of Shia Islam to avoid persecution, but probably have non-Islamic roots.
5: Druzism split from Ismailism, a sect of Shia Islam, and is now mostly seen as a separate, non-Islamic religion.
6: Besides Shia Islam, Druzism incorporates elements of Gnosticism, Christianity, Zoroastrianism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Neoplatonism, Pythagoreanism, and other philosophies. 7: Yezidism is usually seen as non-Islamic but may dissimulate as Sunni Islam to avoid persecution.
8: The Azali Faith is a separate but related religion with considerably fewer followers than the Bahai Faith. Both the Azali faith and the Bahai faith derive from Babism.
9: e.g. Asatru (Germanic neopaganism), Rodnovery (Slavic neopaganism), Olympianism (Greek neopaganism), Kemetism (Egyptian neopaganism), Zuism (Sumerian neopaganism)

If you find this interesting you may also like this family tree of religions.