The most religiously diverse nations are in the Asia-Pacific region, according to the Pew Research Center.
Noting the difficulty of defining religious diversity, the report determined its findings based on “the percentage of each country’s population that belongs to eight major religious groups, as of 2010.” The more equitable the percentages of each group, the higher the score.
The eight religious groups were: Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, religiously unaffiliated, folk or traditional religions and other (Bahai, Taoism, Wicca and others).
Using these parameters, 12 nations were designated as having high religious diversity.
“Six of the 12 are in the Asia-Pacific region (Singapore, Taiwan, Vietnam, South Korea, China and Hong Kong); five are in sub-Saharan Africa (Guinea-Bissau, Togo, Ivory Coast, Benin and Mozambique); and one is in Latin America and the Caribbean (Suriname),” Pew stated. “No countries in Europe, North America or the Middle East-North Africa region have a very high degree of religious diversity as measured in this study.”
The United States received a moderate designation, ranking 68 out of 232 nations based on the following: 78 percent Christian, 16 percent unaffiliated and 5 percent total from the six remaining groups.
For the purposes of its index, Pew included Roman Catholics, Protestants, Anglicans, Orthodox, Christian Scientists, Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses within the Christian tradition.
Singapore received the highest religious diversity rating based on the following percentages:
â— Christian: 18
â— Muslim: 14
â— Unaffiliated: 16
â— Hindu: 5
â— Buddhist: 35
â— Folk religion: 2
â— Other: 10
â— Jewish: <1