Pew Global Survey Shows Rising Religious Restrictions

March 19, 2024

RFI’s Dr. Paul Marshall authored an article for Providence on the findings of the Pew Research Center’s latest survey on the state of religious freedom around the world, which show that this fundamental human right is generally on the decline amidst rising government restrictions. Marshall writes:

On March 5, 2024, the Pew Research Center released its fourteenth annual survey on the status of religious freedom worldwide. Due to the amount of work involved in collecting the data and creating the report–which covers 198 countries and territories– the period it covers is the world in 2021. The survey finds that overall religious freedom in the world has continued to decline, paralleling the global deterioration of democracy and human rights in general.

Pew seeks to measure both government restrictions on religion (the GRI Index) and social hostilities based on religion (the SHI Index)–summarizing what government does to people and what people do to each other. Its general finding is that government restrictions have continued to climb, reaching a new peak in 2021, whereas social hostilities show a slight decline.

Amongst its findings for that year were that “governments harassed religious groups” in 183 countries (92% of the countries analyzed) — up from 178 countries in 2020.” This is the largest number that Pew has found since it began its religious freedom surveys. It adds that “This type of restriction was widespread across all five regions we analyzed….For example, at least one case of government harassment was reported in each of the 20 countries in the Middle East-North Africa region. The same was true for 43 of 45 countries in Europe (96%), 33 of 35 countries in the Americas (94%), 44 of 48 countries in sub-Saharan Africa (92%) and 43 of 50 countries in the Asia-Pacific region (86%).” 

Read the full article: “Pew Global Survey Shows Rising Religious Restrictions.”