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HENB | New Delhi | May 13, 2015:: The yearly reports of US based Pew Research Center on Religion and Public Life always strike upon the general convention of mind. After publishing its striking feature under the headline, “The Future of World Religions: Population Growth Projections, 2010-2050” on April 2, 2015, again it hits the headlines for its recent publication: America’s Changing Religious Landscape as published just on May 12, 2015.
But, the recent report on US perspective is concocted someway as it denies its own survey in its true sense. This research center may have some deliberated problem to understand the expansion of Hindu faith or it has fragmented the numerical strength of the Hindus in an oblivion.
As per PEW report, America’s Hindu population has reached 2.23 million, an increase of about one million or 85.8 percent since 2007, making Hinduism the fourth-largest faith, according to estimates based on wide-ranging study of religions in the nation. The report indicated the huge immigration of Indians of Hindu faith into US from abroad.
The proportion of Hindus in the US population rose from 0.4 percent in 2007 to 0.7 percent last year, according to the Pew Research Center’s “Religious Landscape Study” published on Tuesday.
The study only gave the percentage shares of Hindus in the population, rather than numbers, but calculations by IANS, a renowned news agency, using the population proportions in the report and census projections showed that the number of Hindus rose from 1.2 million in 2007 out of a total US population of 301.2 million that year to 2.23 million in 2014 in a population of 318.88 million. This amounts to an increase of 1.03 million or 85.8 percent in the Hindu population during the seven-year period.
Pew said that it may have underestimated the size of the Hindu population.
An earlier report from Pew on the future of world religions in April said that by 2050, Hindus would make up 1.2 percent of the US population and number 4.78 million. This would make the US Hindu population the fifth largest in the world.
But, if it it is correctly analysed from the chart of PEW Research as above, it is obviously seen that the total numbers of Hindu root or the number of believers in OM are higher than the Jews and Muslims in US.
While the Jews are 1.9% and the Muslims in US are 0.9%, the clubbing of population of Hindu faiths and Om believers are more than 2.5% as the reports bear in good understanding. But, the PEW Research Centers tried to snatch the actual position of Hindu population in US in a very punitive way.
Looking at the socio-economic profile of Hindus, the new Pew report released on Tuesday said they had the highest education and income levels of all religious groups in the US: 36 percent of the Hindus said their annual family income exceeded $100,000, compared with 19 percent of the overall population. And 77 percent of Hindus have a bachelor’s degree compared to 27 percent of all adults and 48 percent of the Hindus have a post-graduate degree.
Even as some American Christian organisations push for proselytisation in India, their share of the US population fell by 7.8 percent during the seven-year period, from 78.4 percent in 2007 to 70.6 percent last year, the Pew study said. That works out to about 11 million fewer Christians.
However, “Christians remain by far the largest religious group in the United States, but the Christian share of the population has declined markedly,” the report said.
Underlying the change, there was a marked increase in the number of people who say they have “no particular religion,” the study reported. About 23 percent of American adults fell into this category, up seven percent from the 16 percent in 2007. Included in this broad category are atheists who make up 3.1 percent of the total US population and agnostics, four percent.
Compared to Christianity, the other faiths are minuscule despite the increases. The Report declares Judaism as second largest religion in US, which accounts for 1.9 percent of the population, with an increase of 0.2 percent. It is followed by Islam with a 0.9 percent share of the population, up by 0.5 percent. The report shows Buddhism ties for the fourth place with Hinduism at 0.7 percent. But it is a false propaganda on the measure of fragmentation between Sanatani-Buddhist-Sikh-Jain etc. They all have root in Hindusthan, Om and broader consequences of Hindutva. So, the Hindus in Sanatani-Buddhist-Sikh-Jain must not be segregated as Shiah-Sunnis are segregated in Muslim faith and Protestants-Evangelical-Catholics are not segregated in Christians. The composite believers in Hindu faith in US are more than 2.5% and the 2nd largest after Christian faith.
The US census does not ask questions about religion. The Pew Research Center, an independent Washington-based organisation, surveyed more than 35,000 people across the US to fill this gap and arrive at the statistics. But, the questions parameter and the motivation of the study is not widely known to the people so far interviewed.
The rising trend of Hinduism in the US contrasts with that in India. The Pew report released in April said that the share of Hindus in the Indian population was expected to decline by 2.8 percent, from 79.5 percent in 2010 to 76.7 percent in 2050 even though their numbers were projected to grow to almost 1.3 billion by that year in a total Indian population of nearly 1.7 billion.
The new report Tuesday on the religions in the US said that most of the increase in the Hindu population came through immigration and not conversions: 87 percent are immigrants and nine percent are the children of immigrants, the report said. Only 10 percent of the Hindus are converts, with Catholics and unaffiliated each accounting for 3 percent.
But, the new trend of practicing Hindu way of life for the non Hindus in US and new entrants in Hindu faith from other religions are not given much importance in this Report. As, Hindus are most ancient, continuing, reliable and practicing faith, Hindu is the defacto largest practicing faith in US. Most of the 70% Christians in US are the none practicing and they are only Christians by festivity and rituals.
Hindus are least likely to convert to other religions, according to the report: Of all the America adults who said they were raised as Hindus, 80 percent continued to adhere to Hinduism. Of those born Hindu, who did not any longer identify themselves as Hindus, 18 percent said they had no religious affiliation (a category that includes atheists and agnostics), and only one percent joined Christian Protestant sects.
Referring to the social and economic attributes of Hindus reported in the Pew study, told IANS, “The Hindu community in America is continuing with the traditional values of hard work, higher morals, stress on education, and sanctity of marriage amidst so many distractions.”
The important PEW Reports further reflect these highlights of the Hindu community in US:
Hindus are least likely to marry outside their religion: 91 percent have a spouse or partner who is a fellow Hindu.
The median age of Hindu adults is 33 years.
Five percent of San Francisco’s population is Hindu and three percent of New York City’s.
Most Hindus live in the West (38 percent) and the Northeast (33 percent).
An anomaly in the report is that 62 percent of Hindus are men and 38 percent women, a difference of 24 percent, which may be due to the pattern of immigration.
Courtesy: PEW RC | IANS.