According to the poll released by WIN-Gallup International, the traditionally Catholic country has seen one of the steepest drops worldwide in religiosity. The poll — which was based on interviews with more than 50,000 people selected from 57 countries — asked participants, “irrespective of whether they attended a place of worship, if they considered themselves to be religious, not religious, or an atheist.”
In Ireland, only 47 percent of those polled said they considered themselves religious — a 22-point drop from the 69 percent recorded in a similar poll conducted in 2005. In addition, 10 percent self-identified as atheist. The only country that registered a steeper decline in religiosity was Vietnam, which saw a 23-point drop from 53 percent to 30 percent.
… according to trending data, religiosity has fallen by 9 points globally since 2005 and the number of people who identify as atheist rose from 4 percent to 7 percent. Note that only 40 countries were polled in both 2005 and 2012, so there are two different sets of data available.
The U.S., France and Canada joined Ireland on the top-10 list of countries to have experienced a “notable decline in religiosity” since 2005.
The drop in the US was from 73% in 2005 to 60% in 2011. This despite the push during the last few decades of the fundamentalist / evangelical movement pushing for the implementation of creationism into our public schools and the banning of non-Christian religious influence in our legal system.
I can easily explain the drop in the religiosity of any generally Catholic nation, considering the difficulty the Church has faced in recent years over its long, dark history of sexually abusing children and deliberately hiding the evidence from investigators. Vietnam I’m not so sure. But even so, I will be very happy indeed when we begin to see drops of the same sort in places like the Middle East and Africa, where adherence to religious dogma poses a clear and present danger to people’s lives, especially women.