Razib Khan One-stop-shopping for all of my content

November 18, 2010

Sex differences in global atheism, part N

Filed under: atheism,Culture,Data Analysis,Religion,Sex Difference,WVS — Razib Khan @ 2:55 pm

Whenever I blog religion and atheism I brace for a bunch of uninformed comments. Everyone has an opinion, but few seem genuinely interested in digging for data, or reading about the history of religion, and the empirical realities of the phenomenon. If you are an exception to this trend, you’re awesome, and more power to you. Seeing the responses around the blogosphere to some of my posts it is immediately obvious that people don’t make recourse to the GSS, WVS, or The Religious Landscape Survey, let alone read books like In Gods We Trust or The Reformation. I could go on, but there are so many data sources, and proportionally so little interest in relation to the broader enthusiasm for opining on the topic.

As an aside, in my previous post I alluded to the fact that atheism is not a white thing. I didn’t lay it out explicitly, but far too much of commentary on power dynamics and human affairs is locked into the age of white supremacy. There are Chinese mining towns all over Africa, and we’re still fixated on the legacies of the mustachioed men of yore. Some new thought is needful.

In any case, whenever I post on atheism or religion the data comes calling to me, and begs me to revisit it. Questions, questions. I’m always curious if I can find something new, a twist, a novel inference. So I decided to look for patterns in the WVS wave 5 in regards to the well known phenomenon of male excess in the area of atheism. The data are country-by-country. Below are some plots. The asked was if one was a religious person, and I’m looking at those who asserted they were “convinced atheists.”

The first plots aren’t super interesting. What you’re seeing is that absolute differences in percentage of atheists by sex increase as the percentage of atheists increase. The variance of the latter explains 75% of the variance in the former. Rather, it is better to look at the ratio of males to females. That’s in the third plot. Comparing that to the percent of atheists in the fourth plot you see an interesting trend: the maximum ratio seems to be at low, but not trivial, levels of atheism. As atheism becomes more common in society the sex ratio abates, though it does not disappear. The last plot has a log-scale to show the pattern more clearly. Note that I had to remove some nations from the ratio list because there were basically no atheists, period.

Here are the raw data tables:

Total Male Female
Country Atheist Religious Not Religious Atheist Religious Not Religious Atheist Percent difference Ratio
Romania 0.6% 90.5% 8.4% 1.1% 95.9% 4.0% 0.1% 1.0% 11.00
Guatemala 0.8% 68.5% 30.0% 1.5% 75.7% 24.1% 0.2% 1.3% 7.50
Poland 1.4% 92.5% 4.9% 2.6% 96.4% 3.2% 0.4% 2.2% 6.50
Ethiopia 0.4% 78.9% 20.6% 0.6% 83.4% 16.5% 0.1% 0.5% 6.00
Chile 3.2% 56.2% 38.1% 5.6% 72.4% 26.5% 1.1% 4.5% 5.09
United States 3.6% 65.1% 28.9% 6.0% 78.6% 20.1% 1.2% 4.8% 5.00
Indonesia 0.3% 82.5% 17.1% 0.4% 86.9% 13.0% 0.1% 0.3% 4.00
Trinidad 0.5% 81.3% 18.0% 0.7% 86.9% 12.9% 0.2% 0.5% 3.50
Italy 2.7% 82.8% 13.0% 4.1% 93.1% 5.7% 1.2% 2.9% 3.42
Spain 7.4% 36.6% 51.8% 11.6% 53.9% 42.5% 3.6% 8.0% 3.22
Peru 1.4% 77.4% 20.4% 2.2% 86.4% 12.9% 0.7% 1.5% 3.14
Ukraine 3.0% 71.5% 23.7% 4.8% 88.0% 10.4% 1.6% 3.2% 3.00
Uruguay 7.6% 45.0% 43.2% 11.8% 65.4% 30.3% 4.3% 7.5% 2.74
Turkey 0.5% 79.6% 19.6% 0.8% 85.5% 14.2% 0.3% 0.5% 2.67
Colombia 0.5% 75.5% 23.7% 0.8% 84.4% 15.3% 0.3% 0.5% 2.67
Cyprus 2.1% 49.7% 47.1% 3.1% 71.7% 27.0% 1.3% 1.8% 2.38
Argentina 2.3% 72.5% 24.2% 3.2% 88.8% 9.8% 1.4% 1.8% 2.29
South Africa 1.2% 73.1% 25.2% 1.6% 89.4% 9.9% 0.7% 0.9% 2.29
Bulgaria 5.3% 57.1% 35.5% 7.5% 69.4% 27.3% 3.3% 4.2% 2.27
Finland 3.1% 51.3% 44.4% 4.3% 68.3% 29.8% 1.9% 2.4% 2.26
Japan 13.7% 21.6% 59.2% 19.3% 26.4% 64.6% 9.0% 10.3% 2.14
Malaysia 2.3% 87.4% 9.4% 3.2% 90.7% 7.8% 1.5% 1.7% 2.13
Serbia 4.0% 83.3% 11.4% 5.3% 87.7% 9.8% 2.6% 2.7% 2.04
Russia 4.4% 61.6% 32.3% 6.1% 83.2% 13.8% 3.0% 3.1% 2.03
Iran 0.1% 80.7% 19.1% 0.2% 86.6% 13.3% 0.1% 0.1% 2.00
Norway 6.8% 30.5% 60.5% 9.0% 52.3% 43.1% 4.6% 4.4% 1.96
Netherlands 7.5% 50.8% 39.2% 9.9% 62.9% 32.0% 5.1% 4.8% 1.94
Slovenia 9.8% 66.2% 20.5% 13.3% 77.8% 15.2% 7.0% 6.3% 1.90
Canada 6.6% 60.8% 30.5% 8.7% 72.1% 23.3% 4.6% 4.1% 1.89
Moldova 1.0% 75.8% 23.0% 1.3% 91.4% 7.8% 0.7% 0.6% 1.86
Hong Kong 5.4% 19.8% 73.2% 7.0% 34.1% 62.1% 3.8% 3.2% 1.84
France 17.1% 42.0% 35.6% 22.3% 51.5% 36.3% 12.3% 10.0% 1.81
Andorra 14.2% 40.1% 42.0% 18.0% 56.9% 32.9% 10.1% 7.9% 1.78
Sweden 17.2% 26.4% 52.0% 21.6% 40.6% 46.6% 12.8% 8.8% 1.69
South Korea 28.6% 23.0% 41.4% 35.6% 37.1% 41.3% 21.7% 13.9% 1.64
New Zealand 7.0% 43.3% 48.2% 8.5% 55.1% 39.7% 5.2% 3.3% 1.63
Germany 19.2% 36.7% 39.5% 23.7% 48.6% 36.5% 14.9% 8.8% 1.59
Iraq 2.7% 54.3% 42.5% 3.2% 55.1% 42.8% 2.1% 1.1% 1.52
Burkina Faso 1.6% 90.8% 7.3% 1.9% 92.2% 6.6% 1.3% 0.6% 1.46
Mexico 2.9% 70.6% 26.0% 3.4% 80.0% 17.6% 2.4% 1.0% 1.42
Viet Nam 23.6% 32.2% 40.7% 27.1% 46.6% 33.6% 19.8% 7.3% 1.37
Taiwan 16.8% 40.1% 40.5% 19.4% 40.4% 45.4% 14.2% 5.2% 1.37
China 17.9% 20.7% 58.7% 20.7% 22.8% 61.7% 15.6% 5.1% 1.33
Switzerland 7.9% 59.8% 31.2% 9.0% 69.0% 24.0% 7.0% 2.0% 1.29
Great Britain 10.4% 42.4% 46.0% 11.6% 54.5% 36.3% 9.3% 2.3% 1.25
Australia 9.9% 46.8% 42.8% 10.4% 56.2% 34.4% 9.5% 0.9% 1.09
Mali 0.4% 97.5% 2.1% 0.4% 97.8% 1.8% 0.4% 0.0% 1.00
India 2.5% 74.4% 23.2% 2.4% 82.7% 14.6% 2.7% -0.3% 0.89
Brazil 1.2% 84.7% 14.2% 1.1% 91.1% 7.6% 1.3% -0.2% 0.85
Thailand 0.2% 35.4% 64.5% 0.1% 35.5% 64.3% 0.3% -0.2% 0.33
Rwanda 0.1% 93.5% 6.5% 0.0% 94.9% 5.0% 0.1% -0.1% 0.00
Egypt 0.0% 90.1% 9.9% 0.0% 95.1% 4.9% 0.0% 0.0% #DIV/0!
Morocco 0.0% 91.3% 8.7% 0.0% 92.3% 7.7% 0.0% 0.0% #DIV/0!
Jordan 0.1% 88.7% 11.1% 0.2% 95.6% 4.4% 0.0% 0.2% #DIV/0!
Georgia 0.3% 94.3% 5.1% 0.6% 98.6% 1.4% 0.0% 0.6% #DIV/0!
Ghana 0.5% 91.3% 7.7% 1.0% 91.8% 8.2% 0.0% 1.0% #DIV/0!
Zambia 0.5% 88.0% 11.0% 1.0% 91.1% 8.9% 0.0% 1.0% #DIV/0!

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