June 20, 2013

Arab Spring Adds to Global Restrictions on Religion

Appendix 5: Summary of Results

Government Restrictions on Religion

To assess the level of restrictions on religion by governments around the world, the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life selected the following 20 questions for the Government Restrictions Index (GRI). The Pew Research staff then combed through 19 published sources of information, including reports by the U.S. State Department, the United Nations and various nongovernmental organizations, to answer the questions on a country-by-country basis. (For more details, see the Methodology.)

This summary shows the questions, followed by various possible answers and the number and percentage of countries that fell into each category, according to the multiple sources analyzed by Pew Research. For example, on Question No. 5 – “Is public preaching by religious groups limited by any level of government?” – the study found that for the latest year, ending on Dec. 31, 2011, 137 countries (69%) had no reported limits on preaching, 38 countries (19%) had limits on preaching for some religious groups and 23 countries (12%) had limits on preaching for all religious groups.

Additionally, the summary shows whether particular religious restrictions occurred during the previous year, ending in mid-2010, or in the study’s baseline year, ending in mid-2007. A total of 197 countries are shown for the baseline and previous years; South Sudan was coded for the first time in 2011, bringing the latest year’s total to 198 countries.

To see how each country scored on each question, see the Results by Country PDF.

When comparing these results with the Pew Research Center’s previous reports, readers should keep in mind that previous reports showed the number of countries in which particular religious restrictions occurred at any time during two overlapping periods: July 1, 2006, through June 30, 2008, and July 1, 2007, through June 30, 2009. Because this report presents data on an annual basis, the incidents for a single year may be less than when two years were taken into account.

Some differences from year to year might not be as significant as they appear due to minor changes in coding procedures and changes in the amount of information available between years. For example, sources for the most recent period studied sometimes had more information on incidents in a country than sources previously had reported. Such additional information may reflect either an actual increase in restrictions in a country, improved reporting for that country or both. (For more details, see the Methodology.)

Percentages may not add to 100 due to rounding.

Social Hostilities Involving Religion

To assess the level of social hostilities involving religion around the world, the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life used the following 13 questions for the Social Hostilities Index (SHI). The Pew Research staff then combed through 19 published sources of information, including reports by the U.S. State Department, the United Nations and various nongovernmental organizations, to answer the questions on a country-by-country basis. (For more details, see the Methodology.)

This summary shows the questions, followed by various possible answers and the number and percentage of countries that fell into each category, according to the multiple sources analyzed by Pew Research. For example, on Question No. 12 – “Were there incidents of hostility over proselytizing?” – the study found that for the latest year, ending on Dec. 31, 2011, 158 countries (80%) had no reported incidents of hostility over proselytizing, 22 countries (11%) had incidents that fell short of physical violence and 18 countries (9%) had incidents involving violence.

Additionally, the summary shows whether particular religious hostilities occurred during the previous year, ending in mid-2010, or in the study’s baseline year, ending in mid-2007. A total of 197 countries are shown for the baseline and previous years; South Sudan was coded for the first time in 2011, bringing the latest year’s total to 198 countries.

To see how each country scored on each question, see the Results by Country PDF.

When comparing these results with the Pew Research Center’s previous reports, readers should keep in mind that previous reports showed the number of countries in which particular religious hostilities occurred at any time during two overlapping periods: July 1, 2006, through June 30, 2008, and July 1, 2007, through June 30, 2009. Because this report presents data on an annual basis, the incidents for a single year may be less than when two years were taken into account.

Some differences from year to year might not be as significant as they appear due to minor changes in coding procedures and changes in the amount of information available between years. For example, sources for the most recent period studied sometimes had more information on incidents in a country than sources previously had reported. Such additional information may reflect either an actual increase in hostilities in a country, improved reporting for that country or both. (For more details, see the Methodology.)

Percentages may not add to 100 due to rounding.

Download the Summary of Results as a PDF (1.23MB, 22 pages)