December 17, 2009

Global Restrictions on Religion

Table: Government Restrictions Index

This table shows all 198 countries and territories in descending order of their scores on the Pew Forum’s index of government restrictions on religion. The Pew Forum has not attached numerical rankings to the countries because there are numerous tie scores and the differences between the scores of countries that are close to each other on this table are not necessarily meaningful. This is particularly the case at the low end of the scale: The range of scores among the 43 countries in the Very High (top 5%) and High (next 15%) categories is greater than the range of scores among the 119 countries in the Low (bottom 60%) category.

View list of countries and territories with:

Very high levels of restrictions (top 5% of scores)
High levels of restrictions (next 15% of scores)
Moderate levels of restrictions (next 20% of scores)
Low levels of restrictions (bottom 60% of scores)

Very High
Top 5% of scores
Scores from 6.7 to 8.4
Saudi Arabia
Iran
Uzbekistan
China
Egypt
Burma (Myanmar)
Maldives
Eritrea
Malaysia
Brunei

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High
Next 15% of scores
Scores from 4.5 to 6.6
Indonesia
Mauritania
Pakistan
Turkey
Vietnam
Algeria
Belarus
Russia
Turkmenistan
Libya
Sudan
Tajikistan
Jordan
Afghanistan
Morocco
Laos
Syria
India
Tunisia
Azerbaijan
Kuwait
Kazakhstan
Yemen
Iraq
Western Sahara
Bulgaria
Singapore
Moldova
Greece
Israel
Cuba
Oman
Somalia*

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Moderate
Next 20% of scores
Scores from 2.4 to 4.4
Bhutan
Romania
Bangladesh
United Arab Emirates
Mexico
Armenia
Bahrain
Sri Lanka
Comoros
Chad
Qatar
Belgium
Nepal
Kyrgyzstan
Angola
Nigeria
Serbia
France
Thailand
Palestinian territories**
Venezuela
Germany
Zimbabwe
Cambodia
Kenya
Central African Republic
Georgia
Slovakia
Tanzania
Austria
Monaco
Ukraine
Ethiopia
Uganda
Denmark
Latvia

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Low
Bottom 60% of scores
Scores from 0 to 2.3
Tuvalu
Equatorial Guinea
United Kingdom
Iceland
Italy
Colombia
Ivory Coast
Republic of Macedonia
Rwanda
Kosovo
Madagascar
Costa Rica
Mongolia
Spain
Togo
Peru
Tonga
Lithuania
Lebanon
Nauru
Bosnia-Herzegovina
Argentina
Congo
Zambia
United States
Djibouti
Niger
Swaziland
Nicaragua
Northern Cyprus
Cyprus
South Korea
Macau
Hong Kong
Liechtenstein
Montenegro
Seychelles
Albania
Croatia
Guinea
Gabon
Canada
Ecuador
Haiti
Mauritius
Philippines
Norway
Malta
Czech Republic
Belize
Paraguay
Honduras
Antigua and Barbuda
Switzerland
Guatemala
Bahamas
Poland
Ireland
Bolivia
Sweden
Guinea Bissau
Vanuatu
Australia
Mozambique
Mali
Slovenia
Papua New Guinea
Jamaica
Panama
Botswana
Ghana
Chile
Gambia
Uruguay
Luxembourg
Liberia
Dominica
Barbados
Finland
St. Lucia
South Africa
El Salvador
Burkina Faso
Trinidad and Tobago
Cameroon
Estonia
Guyana
Solomon Islands
Andorra
Portugal
Brazil
Samoa
Timor-Leste
Republic of Congo
Kiribati
St. Kitts and Nevis
Palau
Lesotho
Grenada
Taiwan
Dominican Republic
Fiji
Hungary
Senegal
Netherlands
St. Vincent and the Grenadines
Malawi
New Zealand
Benin
Sierra Leone
Japan
Burundi
Cape Verde
Namibia
Federated States of Micronesia
Sao Tome and Principe
Suriname
Marshall Islands
San Marino

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NOTE: The number of countries in each percentile range may be slightly more or less than the actual percentage because of tie scores.NORTH KOREA: The sources clearly indicate that the government of North Korea is among the most repressive in the world with respect to religion as well as other civil liberties. But because North Korean society is effectively closed to outsiders, the sources are unable to provide the kind of specific and timely information that the Pew Forum coded in this quantitative study. Therefore, the report does not include a score for North Korea on either index.* SOMALIA: The level of government restrictions in Somalia is difficult to assess due to the lack of a functioning national government; the social hostilities index may be a more reliable indicator of the situation in Somalia.** PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES: The Palestinian territories’ score on government restrictions reflects the policies of the Palestinian Authority government (headed by Mahmoud Abbas and headquartered in the West Bank) rather than the actions of Hamas in Gaza (which is not recognized by most of the sources for this report as a legitimate government).