Introduction to Human Geography/Belief Systems

A political world map of prevailing religious populations by country. Note that a religion being prevailing in a country is not necessarily an indicator of the absence of other religions, nor does it necessarily show if a state is a theocracy or not.

Relation of Geography and Belief systems


Many religions place great importance on specific locations. For example, the city of Jerusalem is particularly important to followers of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Other cities may be important to a specific religion, such as the Vatican City for Catholicism, or how Mecca is of great importance to followers of Islam. Some religions place great importance on natural features, such as the River Ganges in Hinduism, Mount Fuji in Shintoism, or the Black Hills for the beliefs of several Indigenous American peoples.

Relation of Geography and Belivers


Some countries are nearly exclusively a specific religion. For example, Vatican City is exclusively inhabited by Catholics. Other countries, such as the United States, possess a wide variety of religions. Some countries are mostly irreligious, such as North Korea, where the majority of people profess no religion officially. Oftentimes within a multicultural country, a specific region or city will be predominantly of a certain religion, such as how Salt Lake City in the United States, which possesses a Mormon population much higher then the national average.

Typically believers live in areas where there are communities of other believers of the same religion or belief system, though there are exceptions. This can be for a variety of reasons, such as being born into a religion, community support provided by other believers, or other reasons. Some believers will specifically seek out areas that lack believers, as missionaries do.