There are about 1 billion Hindus around the world, representing 15% of the global
population. Major traditions within Hinduism include Vaishnavism, which is devoted
to worship of the god Vishnu, and Shaivism, organized around worship of the god Shiva.
Because of a lack of census or survey data on subgroups of Hindus in most countries,
however, reliable estimates of the size of the traditions are not available.
Hinduism traces its roots to the Asia-Pacific region, where the overwhelming majority
of its adherents (more than 99%) reside. Indeed, Hinduism is the most geographically
concentrated of the eight religious groups analyzed in this rep ort. Less than 1% of Hindus
live outside Asia and the Pacific.
Although most Hindus live in Asia and the Pacific, only about one-in-four people (25%)
across that vast and populous region are Hindu. Hindus make up less than 1% of the general
population in the five other major geographic regions.
An overwhelming majority of Hindus (94%) live in one country, India. The largest populations of
Hindus outside India are in Nepal (2% of all Hindus) and Bangladesh (1%).
Southern Asia – a subregion defined by the U.N. Population Division as consisting of
Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Iran, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka – is
home to about 99% of the world’s Hindu population. Overall, an estimated 60% of Southern
Asia’s total population is Hindu.
Hindus form a majority in just three countries: Nepal (81%), India (80%) and Mauritius (56%).
But 97% of all Hindus live in those countries, making Hindus the most likely of the religious
groups in this study to live as a majority.
As a whole, Hindus are younger (median age of 26) than the overall global population (median
age of 28). Among the six regions analyzed in this study, the Asia-Pacific region has the
youngest Hindu population (median age of 26), followed by sub-Saharan Africa (30) and Latin
America and the Caribbean (32). In three regions – North America, the Middle East and North
Africa and Europe – Hindus have a median age of 33.
Median ages of Hindus differ from the general population in each of the major geographic
regions. In three regions, Hindus are older than the general population: sub-Saharan Africa
(where Hindus have a median age of 30 and the general population has a median age of 18),
the Middle East and North Africa (33 vs. 24) and Latin America and the Caribbean (32 vs. 27).
In three regions, Hindus are younger than the general population: Europe (Hindus 33, general
population 40), North America (33 vs. 37) and Asia and the Pacific (26 vs. 29).