Hindu Population Dipped 7.8% Between 1950 & 2015, Study Finds

Hindu Population Dipped 7.8% Between 1950 & 2015, Study Finds

The study, which was released in May 2024, assessed the trends in 167 countries across the world.

FPJ News ServiceUpdated: Thursday, May 09, 2024, 09:36 AM IST
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A study by the PM's economic council (EAC-PM) has found that the majority population's share in India's demography shrank by 7.8 per cent between 1950 and 2015, according to a report published in a news portal.

While the Hindu population shrank in India, the share of minorities, including Muslim, Christian, Buddhist and Sikhs, went up. However, the number of Jains and Parsis in the population mix decreased.

Between 1950 and 2015, the Muslim population share in India surged by 43.15 per cent, Christians saw a 5.38 per cent increase, Sikhs a 6.58 per cent rise, and Buddhists a marginal increase.

As against India’s shrinking majority population, the majority Muslim population's share in the demographies of Pakistan and Bangladesh increased. Globally as many as 123 countries saw a dip in the share of their majority communities. The shrinking of the majority population in India (by 7.8 per cent) is the second most significant decline in the immediate neighbourhood, just after Myanmar's 10 per cent. Apart from India, Nepal's majority community (Hindu) saw a 3.6 per cent decline in its share of the country's population.

7.8% in 1950-2015: Study

The study, which was released in May 2024, assessed the trends in 167 countries across the world. The authors of the study say "India’s performance is consistent with the larger global trends".

"Contrary to the noise in several quarters, careful analysis of the data shows that minorities are not just protected, but indeed thriving in India," the authors say. Bangladesh saw the steepest increase of 18.5 per cent, followed by Pakistan (3.75 per cent and Afghanistan (0.29 per cent). "Pakistan witnessed an increase of 3.75 per cent in the share of the majority religious denomination (Hanafi Muslim) and a 10 per cent increase in the share of the total Muslim population despite the creation of Bangladesh in 1971," noted the study co-authored by Shamika Ravi, Abraham Jose and Apurv Kumar Mishra.

In the Maldives, the share of the majority group (Shafi'i Sunnis) declined by 1.47 per cent. However, India's neighbours with a majority Buddhist population, Bhutan and Sri Lanka, also saw an increase of17.6 per cent and 5.25 per cent, respectively.

In certain countries like Australia, China, Canada, New Zealand and a handful of east African nations, the dip in the majority community's share in the population saw a steeper plunge than India's.

"The share of the majority religious denominations in 167 countries has, on average, reduced by 22 per cent from 1950-2015. The change varies from a 99 per cent decrease in Liberia to an 80 per cent increase in Namibia. 123 countries experienced a decrease in the share of the majority denomination," noted the study.

Additionally, the 35 high-income Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) nations (a grouping of 38 western countries) saw a substantial average decline of 29 per cent in the proportion of the majority religion, surpassing the global average of 22 per cent.

The study clarified that it did not try to figure out why these changes happened, but rather looked at the numbers to see if minorities were getting more or less represented in society.

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