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STUDY: U.S. isn’t as religiously diverse as other countries


PF_14.02.24_ReligiousDiversityResearches found that 95 percent of the U.S. population is either Christian or religiously unaffiliated, while all other religions combined account for 5 percent of Americans. Because of this, the U.S. ranks 68th out of 232 countries and territories on Pew’s Religious Diversity Index.

“The U.S. has an enormous variety of Christian denominations, and if diversity within the world’s largest faith were taken into account, the United States likely would rank higher. But the study treats Christianity no differently than Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism or Judaism — all of which also have a lot of internal diversity, yet are considered as single religions in the study,” wrote Alan Cooperman and Michael Lipka, of the Pew Research Center.

Six of the top 12 countries and territories on the Religious Diversity Index are in Asia (Singapore, Taiwan, Vietnam, South Korea, China and Hong Kong), which have strong Buddhist, Christian and unaffiliated populations. On the other end of the spectrum —  the places with the least religious diversity — were Vatican City (more than 99 percent Christian) and  overwhelmingly Muslim countries such as Morocco, Somalia and Afghanistan.

According to The Association of Religion Data Archives, Spokane reflects U.S. trends. Most residents claim to be unaffiliated, followed by Catholics (66,202) and Evangelicals (64,277). To compare, Spokane is home to less than 300 Bahá’í adherents, approximately 50 Hindus and about 300 Muslims.


About Tracy Simmons

Tracy Simmons
Tracy Simmons, who teaches journalism at Gonzaga University, is an award winning journalist specializing in religion reporting, digital entrepreneurship and social journalism. In her 13 years on the religion beat, Simmons has tucked a notepad in her pocket and found some of her favorite stories aboard cargo ships in New Jersey, on a police chase in Albuquerque, in dusty Texas church bell towers, on the streets of New York and in tent cities in Haiti. Simmons has worked as a multimedia journalist for newspapers across New Mexico, Texas and Connecticut. Currently she serves as the executive director of SpokaneFAVS.com, a digital journalism start-up covering religion news and commentary in Spokane, Wash. She also writes for The Spokesman-Review and for the Religion News Service.

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One comment

  1. Doesn’t that just reflect what real un-suppressed history says about our country, while never legally Christian, that we were founded on biblical principles and for most of our history practiced that? Our federal buildings have it engraved on them, for crying out loud. I’m thankful for this finding, perhaps there is still hope for our country.