Atheism is an absence of belief in the existence of deities. Atheism can also be defined as a rejection of the belief of any deities that exist.
Atheism is not a religion or is it a belief system, although it is protected by many of the same Constitutional rights that protect religion. Atheists do not have a common belief system, sacred scripture, or Pope, only a lack of belief in gods; therefore, they disagree on many ideas and issues. Atheists do not fit a particular demographic or group of people, as atheists exist across all races, ages, political affiliations, in the LGBTQ* community, and urban, suburban and rural areas in any state.
Atheism is often confused with non-religion or irreligion, which is the absence of, or indifference towards, religion. Atheism is only the absence of belief in deities.
Because atheists will refer to themselves as agnostics, cultural Catholics, humanists, non-religious and other terms, it is hard to accurately estimate the exact number of atheists. However, there are millions of known Atheists around the world.
While there is a trend in fewer people believing in God around the world, only a few countries have more than 20% of citizens who are atheists.
The six countries with the highest percentage of their populations identifying as atheists are:
Approximately 40-49% of China’s population says that they’re atheists. This is the highest population of atheists in the world. Confucianism, which is one of China’s oldest philosophical systems, is notable for its lack of a belief in a deity.
In the United States, approximately 10% of Americans identify as atheists. Although the dollar bill says, “In God We Trust,” belief in Christianity is at an all-time low. Approximately 40% of American atheists are ages 18-29, and 37% of atheists are ages 30-49. This has been attributed to an increased exposure to diverse perspectives in multicultural societies, which challenges the claim of any one particular worldview. Millennials and Gen Z are the most racially, ethnically, and religiously diverse generation in the US.