January 14, 2014

Religious Hostilities Reach Six-Year High

Appendix 2: Government Restrictions Index

The following table shows all 198 countries and territories in descending order of their scores on the Pew Research Center’s index of government restrictions on religion as of the end of 2012. Pew Research 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 57 countries in the Very High and High categories is greater than the range of scores among the 97 countries in the Low category. You can download the index as a PDF on the right under “Report Materials.”

Denotes an increase of one point or more from 2011 to 2012.
Denotes a decrease of one point or more from 2011 to 2012.

Very High

Scores 6.6 and Higher


  • Egypt
  • China
  • Iran
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Indonesia
  • Maldives
  • Afghanistan
  • Syria
  • Eritrea
  • Somalia*
  • Russia
  • Burma (Myanmar)
  • Uzbekistan
  • Malaysia
  • Azerbaijan
  • Tajikistan
  • Pakistan
  • Brunei
  • Morocco
  • Sudan
  • Algeria
  • Iraq
  • Kazakhstan
  • Vietnam
High

Scores 4.5 to 6.5


  • Mauritania
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Bahrain
  • Israel
  • Turkey
  • Belarus
  • Yemen
  • Western Sahara
  • Qatar
  • Oman
  • Armenia
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Sri Lanka
  • Turkmenistan
  • Jordan
  • Laos
  • Libya
  • India
  • Ethiopia
  • Bangladesh
  • Singapore
  • Bulgaria
  • Rwanda
  • Tunisia
  • Kuwait
  • Bhutan
  • Greece
  • Cuba
  • Central African Republic
  • Belgium
  • Chad
  • Moldova
  • Nigeria
Moderate

Scores 4.5 to 6.5


  • Ukraine
  • Kenya
  • France
  • Djibouti
  • Angola
  • Romania
  • Venezuela
  • Mexico
  • Austria
  • Germany
  • United States
  • Serbia
  • Palestinian territories**
  • Thailand
  • Nepal
  • Tanzania
  • Mongolia
  • Slovakia
  • Madagascar
  • Bahamas
  • Tuvalu
  • Comoros
  • Iceland
  • Lebanon
  • Costa Rica
  • Denmark
  • Republic of Macedonia
  • United Kingdom
  • Zambia
  • Croatia
  • Guinea
  • Spain
  • Georgia
  • Nicaragua
  • Latvia
  • Italy
  • Equatorial Guinea
  • Hong Kong
  • Lithuania
  • Uganda
  • Zimbabwe
  • Cambodia
  • Hungary
  • Montenegro
Low

Scores 0.0 to 2.3


  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Bosnia-Herzegovina
  • Norway
  • Fiji
  • Honduras
  • Seychelles
  • Poland
  • Jamaica
  • Swaziland
  • Peru
  • Cyprus
  • Switzerland
  • Liechtenstein
  • Monaco
  • Niger
  • Argentina
  • Sweden
  • Haiti
  • Canada
  • Netherlands
  • Malawi
  • South Korea
  • Czech Republic
  • Mozambique
  • Togo
  • Mali
  • Gambia
  • Finland
  • Tonga
  • Australia
  • Barbados
  • Luxembourg
  • Kosovo
  • St. Lucia
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Albania
  • El Salvador
  • Colombia
  • South Sudan
  • Liberia
  • Bolivia
  • Senegal
  • Estonia
  • Belize
  • Cameroon
  • Chile
  • Malta
  • Portugal
  • St. Kitts and Nevis
  • Guatemala
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • Paraguay
  • Vanuatu
  • Gabon
  • Mauritius
  • Taiwan
  • Andorra
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Dominican Republic
  • Dominica
  • Guyana
  • Ireland
  • Panama
  • Timor-Leste
  • Ivory Coast
  • Nauru
  • Philippines
  • Slovenia
  • St. Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Solomon Islands
  • Burkina Faso
  • Samoa
  • Ecuador
  • Ghana
  • Macau
  • Grenada
  • Uruguay
  • Namibia
  • Japan
  • Palau
  • Republic of the Congo
  • Brazil
  • Botswana
  • South Africa
  • Suriname
  • Kiribati
  • Lesotho
  • Benin
  • Guinea Bissau
  • San Marino
  • Sierra Leone
  • Cape Verde
  • Federated States of Micronesia
  • New Zealand
  • Burundi
  • Marshall Islands
  • Sao Tome and Principe

  • North Korea: The sources used for this study 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 Pew Research 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).