June 23, 2016

Trends in Global Restrictions on Religion

4. Among the world’s 25 most populous countries, the highest overall restrictions on religion in 2014 were in Egypt, Indonesia, Pakistan, Russia and Turkey

Among the world’s 25 most populous countries (which contain 74% of the world’s population), Egypt, Indonesia, Pakistan, Russia and Turkey stand out as having the highest levels restrictions on religion (as of the end of 2014) when both government restrictions and social hostilities are taken into account.[33. numoffset=”33″ As noted earlier in the report, North Korea is excluded from the study for methodological reasons. See Methodology for more details.] 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 2014: Brazil, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Italy, Japan, South Africa, the Philippines and the United Kingdom. The Democratic Republic of the Congo and Japan were the only countries to have low social hostilities. They also were the only countries that had both low social hostilities and low government restrictions.

Among the 25 most populous countries, Mexico was the only one with a score on the Government Restrictions Index that increased by one point or more from 2013 to 2014. Ethiopia, Germany and Burma (Myanmar) were the only ones with a GRI score that decreased by one point or more in that span (although Burma still had high government restrictions on religion). In the United States, Italy and South Africa, scores on the Social Hostility Index increased by one point or more over the previous year. The SHI score decreased by one point or more in Bangladesh, China, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Germany, India, Japan, Nigeria, Philippines, Russia and the United Kingdom.

 

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 2011-14, the index scores are for the calendar year. The center of each circle is positioned on the average index score for each country.

Source: Pew Research Center analysis of external data. See Methodology for details.
"Trends in Global Restrictions on Religion"