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Cultural Roots

Status of Religious Diversity in the U.S.

GB_1214_USA_ReligionsThe United States is often described as a religiously free and diverse country, but a new Pew Research Center study reveals that 95 percent of the populace identifies itself as either Christian or unaffiliated (atheist, agnostic or having no particular religion). This ranks the U.S. 68 out of 232 countries and territories in the Pew Religious Diversity Index. Singapore is the world’s most religiously diverse country, followed by Taiwan and Vietnam.

The study treats Christian denominations as members of the same religion, which if counted separately, would increase the ranking. But Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Judaism all have internal diversity, as well, and are considered as single religions in the study.

There’s an important distinction between religious diversity and religious freedom, which the report does not measure. The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees the right to free exercise of religion, which is not always the case in other countries.

Source: PewResearch.org

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