February 26, 2015

Restrictions and Hostilities in the Most Populous Countries

Note: For 2007-2010, the index scores are for the 12-month period ending in June of that year. For 2011-13, the index scores are for the calendar year. The center of each circle is positioned on the average index score for each country.

Source: "Latest Trends in Religious Restrictions and Hostilities", February 2015

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Among the world’s 25 most populous countries (which contain 75% of the world’s population), Burma (Myanmar), Egypt, Indonesia, Pakistan and Russia stand out as having the highest levels restrictions on religion (as of the end of 2013) when both government restrictions and social hostilities are taken into account. Brazil, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Japan, the Philippines and South Africa have the lowest levels of restrictions and hostilities.

Seven of the most populous countries had low government restrictions in 2013: Brazil, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Italy, Japan, the Philippines, South Africa and the United Kingdom. South Africa was the only one of the 25 most populous countries that had both low social hostilities and low government restrictions.

Among the 25 countries, Turkey was the only one with a score on the Government Restrictions Index that increased by one point or more from 2012 to 2013. The United Kingdom was the only one with a GRI score that decreased by one point or more in that span. In Bangladesh and the United States, scores on the Social Hostilities Index increased by one point or more over the previous year. The SHI score decreased by one point or more in France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, South Africa, Thailand and Vietnam.