Poorest countries are the most religious

A NEW poll confirms that religious belief is a factor in poor economic progress.

Tallinn, the picturesque capital of Estonia

Tallinn, the picturesque capital of Estonia

The Gallup poll shows that Estonia, the least religious country in the world with a “believer index” of just 14 percent, became one of the world’s fast-growing economies after it gained its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.

Near neighbour Sweden is the second least religious country, with only 17 percent claiming any form of religious conviction. Other neighboring countries Denmark and Norway are among the least religious countries, including Hong Kong, Japan and France.

The US, according to this report, stands out as an exception from the religion=poverty rule. There, two-thirds of the respondents claimed that religion played a significant role in their lives.

The poll reveals that religion is most important to people in poor countries. Of the 143 countries surveyed, Egypt came top, where 100 per cent of the respondents believe that religion was an important part of their everyday lives.

This is followed by poor countries in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.

The 11 least religious countries are:

• Estonia 14 percent
• Sweden 17 percent
• Denmark 18 percent
• Norway 20 percent
• Czech Republic 21 percent
• Azerbaijan 21 percent
•  Hong Kong 22 percent
• Japan 25 percent
• France 25 per cent
• Mongolia 27 percent
• Belarus 27 percent

The 11 most religious countries are:

• Egypt 100 percent
• Bangladesh 99 percent
• Sri Lanka 98 percent
• Indonesia 98 percent
• Congo 98 percent
• Sierra Leone 98 percent
• Malawi 98 percent
• Senegal 98 percent
• Djibouti 98 percent
• Morocco 98 percent
• United Arab Emirates 98 percent