Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Thu Mar 18th 2010 at 3:45pm UTC

The Christianity Map


Check out this map of the geography of Christianity in the United States. It’s one of a series of mind-blowing maps prepared by the brilliant cartographers behind the site FloatingSheep.world_christiandenoms_usa_100305The geographic pattern is striking.

“Catholics are most visible in much of the Northeast and Canada, with Lutherans taking the Midwest, Baptists the Southeast, and Mormons unsurprisingly taking much of the mountain states. Methodists, interestingly, seem to primarily be most visible in a thin red line between the Southern Baptists and everyone else.”

Now check out their map of Christianity in Europe, where they note the “fascinating split between Orthodox Eastern Europe, Protestant Germany, and Catholic everywhere else.”


And, bringing it all together, here’s their map of Christians around the world.


42 Responses to “The Christianity Map”

  1. Mike L. Says:

    So England is more Catholic than France!! Incredible!

  2. Mike L. Says:

    A possible explanation for England? Anglicans, especially the Anglo-Catholics, don’t call themselves “Protestants” because their origins are different from the Protestant origins of Lutheranism in Germany.

  3. A Reader Says:

    Strange to see that Sweden and the rest of Scandinavia appears as catholic. For Sweden, it may be lack of data, but Denmark is covered in a uniform green.

  4. markg Says:

    it doesn’t matter, we are all Christians!!!

    we just differ on how we practice our Christianity…

  5. A Reader Says:

    Actually, what matters is which search terms we use when we google. I suppose that the authors of the study have a good grip on the terminology used in the US, but know much less about Europe and the rest of the world.

  6. Atheist Finn Says:

    Finland is 79,7 % Evangelical-Lutheran (protestant), but the map shows it as almost purely orthodox (in reality about 1,1 %). The data is somehow gathered from googling for the terms in English. I would expect that the data for Europe is therefore off by a significant margin, because English is a second (3rd, 4th…) language for most of us here, and it clearly does not display the actual distribution of different kinds of christian faith.

  7. Atheist Doeboy Says:

    Hmm… us Danes are Evangelical-Lutheran, some 80%, as well, and not catholic. So, again, like Atheist Finn says, off with quite a margin.

  8. N Says:

    Surely you cannot group Ireland and England under the same category!

  9. Harold Says:

    The map of Europe is clearly not accurate. England is mostly Anglican. France is 50% Catholic and about 3% Protestant.

  10. clvrmnky Says:

    Those representations of Christianity in Western Africa are just wrong. I don’t think they collected enough data to actually put any pixels in most of Africa, or the data is more than 10-20 years old.

    Certain, Catholicism is represented in both most of Wester Africa, but the fact is the “Charismatic” churches have the most fellowship in that part of the world today.

  11. Bob M Says:

    Suggesting that the UK is mostly catholic is laughable. The majority of the population is religiously indifferent but nominally Anglican (protestant). “Orthodox” wouldn’t even show on the scale.

    If the rest of the data is as “good” as the UK then it’s worthless.

  12. Ricardo Says:

    Interesting maps, but obviously wrong.
    While protestantism has been growing in Brazil it is still far from overtopping catholicism. So Brazil should be colored completely different. Same could be said for most/all of South America.

  13. Scott Says:

    I agree with Ricardo I lived in Brazil and that map is certainly way off. There are WAY more catholics than protestants in Brazil, it is growing very quickly though. I also have a hard time believing that England has anywhere near as many catholics as Italy, Spain, or France which the chart seems to represent as true.

  14. Dusty Says:

    The world map definitely needs some tweaking.

    The issue is probably that nobody uses the term ‘protestant’ in the US, but refer to their individual denominations. In the NA-only map, you can see that catholics are pretty sparse, but Baptists, Mormons and Lutherans make up a very solid majority (80%?) and should be classified under the protestant umbrella. (OK, so most Mormans would object, but they are closer to Protestants than Catholics.)

    The huge swatch of pentecostal across the Southern US in the world map is obviously incorrect. The only denomination that could be pentecostal in the US (shown on the NA map) is Methodist, though they would have more of an issue with that than Mormons would have being lumped in with protestants.

    So, the US in the world map should be mostly blue, with some green and a little bit of yellow (with a couple of red dots).

  15. Bob M Says:

    I think the problem is methodological. It seems to be based on Google search terms – and that has given a result which simply has no reference to the real world.

    Back to the drawing board boys.

  16. Wil Says:

    This seriously flawed map proves, once again, that it is unwise to believe something simply because it appears on a computer screen.

  17. norman s Says:

    One was left out, that was “none of the above”. Non-theist, a-theist, and anti-theist are on the increase. It is having a tremendous impact in Sweden, Norway, England, France, and even in the U.S.

    Futhermore, the impact of Islam has to be accounted because U.S will probably Islam at some future date. Unless you all stop capitulating to their demands and their hostilities.

    Wake up.

  18. Jason Says:

    The world map is a complete joke. A monkey could have come up with a more accurate map. Do the creators have any idea what they are talking about? How does the US go from being dominated by protestant denominations in one map to suddenly being catholic in the world map?

    Come on CC, why are you even linking to something so obviously wrong?

  19. Lily Says:

    Wow, Japan, Korea and Taiwan are mainly Catholic. Who’d have thought it?

  20. samu Says:

    The maps don’t claim to reflect populations, but rather “representations of Christianity on the [English-language] internet”.

  21. Bruce B Says:

    This map is not accurate. There’d be much more catholics in mexico and bordering states…and Japan is like 3% Christian…not to mention the safest country in the world…so the whole Christianity making anything better theory kinda goes out the window ;)

  22. David Says:

    Bruce B makes the cliched flaw of assuming that correlation = causation.

  23. jebjshop Says:

    Take note U.S.A’ers…most of the world aren’t Jesus freaks. So put that in your tomb and check it 3 days later…

  24. Joe Donato Says:

    Yes, the “world” map could hardly be considered quality journalism, but the U.S. map is interesting as I think it clearly shows why the Contemporary Christian Music Industry puts out what it does.

  25. Joe Donato Says:

    It also helps to explain why the Presidential candidates express their faith in the specific way they do in elections in America.

  26. Alan Says:

    Glad to see that The Reformation didn’t happen and England is completely Catholic – I am about to write to my high school history teacher and tell him that he was completely wrong and all those textbooks were lies!!

  27. James Says:

    Given the pretty uniform reaction in the comments disputing the maps’s accuracy, maybe the blog post should be amended with a cautionary? Most visitors might not read the comments at all.

    Also, if the world map is so inaccurate, I am not putting much faith in the U.S. map either (no pun intended!).

    Btw, I can’t really see because it is so small, but South Africa certainly has a much bigger protestant group and isn’t nearly as Catholic as the map indicates

  28. Allogenes Says:

    Actually, in comparison with other maps I’ve seen based on real surveys of real people, the US map is pretty accurate. It’s biggest failing is that it ignores the vast Catholic population in the Southwest, which mostly Latino and so naturally less likely to appear on a survey of the English-language Internet… Otehr parts of the world are either much less religious or much less thoroughly plugged into the Net, or both, so naturally a map like this will tell you very little about anything there.

  29. Thi is Says:

    Well, That’s completely wrong. Brazil has over 80% of catholics.

  30. Wil Says:

    I read an inteesting article that mentions de-Christianization as one of the forces that is destroying civil society. It also reveals the connection between the old Soviet Union, and atheism.

  31. M Says:

    Russia is all orthodox. Where did that disappear?
    And Latin America is Catholic.

  32. random commenter Says:

    These maps just seem wrong. Mexico should be almost green as a whole.

  33. S Says:

    terrible methodology.

    Even so, what a scary map. When as a society are we going to move on from the horrors of religion?

  34. Philip Says:

    That is utterly wrong. As #3 says, Denmark is covered in green, but there are very few catholics compared to protestants in Denmark.

  35. Bob G Says:

    This doesn’t make sense. The first map shows the US as mostly protestant, and the last map show it as mostly Catholic. What’s up?

  36. Meghan Says:

    This map is just wrong in so many ways. At least give it a more appropriate title, like “Google search terms have little relation to what religion people practice.”

  37. Eiolg Says:

    Korea is 50% Christian with that split mostly between Catholic and Presbyterian. The largest Presbyterian church in the world is in Seoul. Catholics have been in Korea for more than 250 years and there are more Korean saints than all other groups, except for Italians.

  38. MamaB Says:

    Trying to figure this out. I don’t see any category that I’d fall into. Then again, by your map Canada has very few Christians and most of them are Catholic. The centre of the universe, I mean the U.S is crazy represented, but the rest of your data is severely lacking.

    Evangelical Anabaptist here, by the way. Nothing you posted fits.

  39. Glenn Says:

    The world map is crazy!

    The US map paints the US as mostly Baptist, Lutheran and Methodist, but the World map paints it as mostly Catholic. As for The UK and Australasia… no.

  40. David Says:

    You should really get LDS off of this map as they are by no means Christians….

  41. Frankie Says:

    Did Japan have a Catholic Revolution? Quebec has more Catholics, as does New England (over 40% Catholic) and New York (36% Catholic). When did Central and South America miraculously convert to Protestantism and Non-Christianity? Last I knew, the Baltic States remained quite Catholic since the Northern Crusades by the Teutonic Knights. They remained underground as Soviet Satellite States and then had a “rebirth” upon the USSR’s collapse…we’ll be here all day if we have to correct everything…

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