"Nonreligious" On The Decline?
The percentage of the world's population not identified with any faith has been falling since 1970, when it was at 14.4%. The "nonreligious" category is projected to decline from 12.7% in 2000 to 11.2% in 2025.
Christianity is projected to remain the world's largest religion for at least the next 20 years, with the percentage of Christians in the world holding steady (33.5%). Hinduism is also expected to remain steady between now and 2025 (at 13.4%). Islam, however, is projected to grow rapidly, from 19.6% in 2000 to 22.8% in 2025 (at least some of this growth can be attributed to high birthrates). All other religious faiths register below 6.4% of the population.
One reason behind the decline of the nonreligious category may be a discrepancy over exactly what it means to be religious. In the past, those who didn't attend regular worship services or lacked formal membership in a congregation might have considered themselves "nonreligious," whereas today they might be more inclined to identify with either a traditional or a New Age faith. In this context, anyone who has some sense of spirituality, even if they don't adhere to any one religious doctrine, could be considered "religious."
Source: Future Survey, World Future Society