A new global study carried out by polling firm WIN/Gallup International found that 42 percent of Danes identify themselves as “a religious person”. That puts Denmark far below the global average of 63 percent but significantly above neighbouring Germany, where just 34 percent identify as religious, and Sweden, where only 19 percent say they are religious.
Although more religious than their immediate neighbours, Danes were significantly less religious than respondents in fellow Nordic nations Iceland (51 percent) and Finland (56 percent). Norway was not included in the study.
Sweden was the least religious Western country included in the poll, which spoke to 63,398 people in 64 countries. Seventeen percent of Swedes self-identify as atheists, behind only China (61 percent), Hong Kong (34 percent) and Japan (31 percent).
In Denmark, 12 percent of respondents identified themselves as atheists.
Across Western Europe, five in ten people described themselves as “not religious” or “a convinced atheist” in the survey.
As of January 2015, just under 78 percent of the total population were registered members of the Church of Denmark (folkekirken). That number has steadily decreased every year since 1990, when 89.3 percent of Danes were members.
Thailand was the most religious country globally in the latest WIN/Gallup poll, with more than nine out of ten respondents describing themselves as religious. Bangladesh, Georgia and Morocco were ranked joint second.
Jean-Marc Leger, President of the WIN/Gallup International Association, said that religion continued to dominate the lives of most global citizens.
“We see that the total number of people who consider themselves to be religious is actually relatively high,” he said in a press release.
“Furthermore, with the trend of an increasingly religious youth globally, we can assume that the number of people who consider themselves religious will only continue to increase,” Leger added.