The holiday season is a time when people all over the world reflect on the role of religion in their lives. But how does religion, and especially religious diversity, affect our economies?
I decided to take a look using data from the Pew Research Center’s Religion & Public Life Project on “global religious diversity.” The Pew data track the level of religious diversity, measured as the percentage of the population that belongs to eight major religious groups in countries around the world. These include the five major world religions—Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism—which account for about three-quarters of the world’s population, as well folk or traditional religions, the religiously unaffiliated (atheists, agnostics, etc.), and other religious groups (Baha’i, Sikhism, Taoism, etc.). The study ranked countries on a 1 to 10 scale based on their having a more equal share of these religious groups.