Rising Restrictions on Religion - One-third of the world’s population experiences an increase
Government Restrictions Index
The following table shows all 198 countries and territories in descending order of their scores on the Pew Forum’s index of social hostilities involving religion as of mid-2009. 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 40 countries in the Very High (top 5%) and high (next 15%) categories is greater than the range of scores among the 115 countries in the Low (bottom 60%) category.
top 5% of scores
|Scores from 7.2 to 8.3|
Next 15% of scores
|Scores from 4.7 to 7.1|
Next 20% of scores
|Scores from 2.5 to 4.6|
|United Arab Emirates||Zimbabwe||Venezuela|
|Nigeria||Central African Republic||Lebanon|
Bottom 60% of scores
|Scores from 0.0 to 2.4|
|Madagascar||Antigua and Barbuda||Mali|
|Iceland||Papua New Guinea||Solomon Islands|
|Croatia||Republic of Macedonia||Hungary|
|Niger||Poland||Republic of Congo|
|Macau||Slovenia||St. Vincent and the Grenadines|
|Peru||Brazil||St. Kitts and Nevis|
|Czech Republic||South Africa||Grenada|
|United States||St. Lucia||Japan|
|Spain||Trinidad and Tobago||Guinea Bissau|
|Liechtenstein||Belize||Federated States of Micronesia|
|Gabon||Bolivia||Sao Tome and Principe|
|El Salvador||Barbados||San Marino|
Denotes a substantial increase from mid-2006 to mid-2009.
Denotes a substantial decrease from mid-2006 to mid-2009.
NOTE: The number of countries in each percentile range may be slightly more or less than the actual percentage because of tie scores. Substantial increase or decrease is defined as a change of at least 1.5 standard deviations above or below the mean amount of change among all 198 countries on each index. The change also had to be in the same direction over the periods studied. (See Methodology for more details.)
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).