Pakistan more religiously diverse than Turkey, Iran: study

Published April 5, 2014
Map by Pew Research Center shows the level of religious diversity in countries of the world.
Map by Pew Research Center shows the level of religious diversity in countries of the world.

While being a Muslim majority country, Pakistan is more religiously diverse than 48 other countries of the world including Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Maldives, Romania and the Vatican City, says a new study.

According to the Pew Research Center study, Pakistan does rank amongst the countries with low religious diversity, but its population makeup keeps it ahead of 48 nations.

The country scores a total of 0.8 on a scale of 0 to 10, with 96.4 per cent of its population Muslims, 1.9 per cent Hindus, 1.6 per cent Christians, and all other religions less than 0.1 per cent.

The Religious Diversity Index (RDI) calculates diversity based on national population shares of eight major world religions (Buddhists, Christians, folk religions, Hindus, Jews, Muslims, other religions considered as a group, and the religiously unaffiliated).

The index divides the countries into four ranges: very high (the top 5 per cent of scores), high (the next highest 15 per cent of scores, which works out to 16 per cent because of tie scores), moderate (the next 20 per cent of scores) and low (the bottom 59 per cent of scores). A score of 10 indicates the maximum possible diversity if each of the eight groups constitutes an equal share of the population.

The countries ranking the highest on the index include Singapore 9.0, Taiwan 8.2, Vietnam 7.7, Suriname 7.6, Guinea-Bissau 7.5, Togo 7.5, Ivory Coast 7.4, South Korea 7.4, China 7.3, Hong Kong 7.2, Benin 7.2, Mozambique 7.0.

With a score of 4.0, India ranks amongst countries with moderate religious diversity. Countries on the moderate range include the US, UAE, Russia, Nepal, and the UK, among others.

The three countries with the least religiously diverse population are the Vatican City, Morocco, and Tokelau – all with a score of 0. They are followed closely by Iran, Romania, Tunisia, Timor-Leste, Somalia and Afghanistan.

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