GLOBALLY, THE RELIGIOUSLY UNAFFILIATED ARE THE WORLD’S MOST EDUCATED OF RELIGIOUS GROUPINGS

People without a religious affiliation – including atheists, agnostics and those who describe their religion as “nothing in particular” – are among the most educated of the world’s major religious groups.

Globally, the vast majority (92%) of unaffiliated adults ages 25 and older have at least some basic education, nearly seven-in-ten (68%) have at least some secondary schooling and 16% have post-secondary degrees.
In nearly all regions of the world, with the exception of sub-Saharan Africa, the youngest generation of unaffiliated men are less likely than the youngest women to have post-secondary degrees.16 This is especially notable in North America, where 38% of the youngest unaffiliated men and 56% of the youngest unaffiliated women have higher education, compared with 45% of men and 48% of women in the oldest generation.17

While religiously unaffiliated people, sometimes called religious “nones,” are grouped together for analytical purposes in this report, in some cases, there are important differences within this group (see sidebar later in this chapter).

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