Pew-Templeton Global Religious Futures Project

The Pew-Templeton Global Religious Futures project analyzes religious change and its impact on societies around the world. This interactive website is still in development; over time, it will grow to include additional data from the Pew Research Center’s demographic studies and public opinion surveys in many more countries. Additional functionality for exploring and sharing the data will be made available as well. We welcome your feedback and suggestions. Please e-mail us at web@pewforum.org.

The research for the Global Religious Futures project is carried out by the Pew Research Center with generous funding from The Pew Charitable Trusts and the John Templeton Foundation. Pew Research uses a range of social science methods, including public opinion surveys, demographic analysis and coding, to examine three related areas of global change:

  • Patterns in religious beliefs and practices, including how they shape people's social values and political attitudes
  • Trends in religious affiliation, including the current and projected size of the world's major religious groups
  • Comparisons of restrictions on the practice of religion, including restrictions imposed by governments as well as social groups, organizations and individuals

The Global Religious Futures website allows you to explore data collected by the Pew Research Center. The data currently in the Global Religious Futures database includes:

  • Data on characteristics of the populations of 234 countries and territories in 2010 and projected through 2050
  • Data on research questions related to government restrictions on religion and social hostilities involving religion in 198 countries and territories
  • Select questions from two extensive public opinion surveys that cover more than 40 countries

The Pew Research Center’s Religion & Public Life project also has produced the following reports as part of the Global Religious Futures project:

The Future of World Religions: Population Growth Projections, 2010-2050
April 2015
This report analyzes religious change and its impact on societies around the world. The demographic projections are based on the current size and geographic distribution of the world’s major religions, as well as age differences, fertility and mortality rates, international migration and patterns in conversion.
Latest Trends in Religious Restrictions and Hostilities
January 2015
Social hostilities toward religion declined in 2013, while government restrictions on religious beliefs and practices remained level. Harassment of Jews, however, reached a seven-year high.
Religion in Latin America
November 2014
Nearly 40% of the world's Catholics live in Latin America, but many people in the region have converted from Catholicism to Protestantism, while some have left organized religion altogether.
Religious Hostilities Reach Six-Year High
January 2014
A third of the 198 countries studied had a high or very high level of social hostilities involving religion in 2012. About three-in-ten countries had a high or very high level of government restrictions on religion, roughly the same as in 2011.
Arab Spring Adds to Global Restrictions on Religion
June 2013
Pew Research’s fourth major report on global restrictions on religion finds that the Middle East and North Africa continued to have the highest levels of restrictions in the year when much of the Arab Spring uprisings occurred, with social hostilities involving religion increasing markedly and government restrictions remaining high.
The World's Muslims: Religion, Politics and Society
April 2013
A new survey report looks at attitudes among Muslims in 39 countries on a wide range of topics, from science to sharia, polygamy to popular culture. The survey finds that overwhelming percentages of Muslims in many countries want Islamic law to be the official law of their land, but there is also widespread support for democracy and religious freedom.
The Global Religious Landscape
December 2012
A country-by-country analysis of data from more than 2,500 censuses, surveys and population registers finds that 84% of adults and children around the globe are religiously affiliated.
The Rising Tide of Restrictions on Religion
September 2012
Between mid-2009 and mid-2010, religious restrictions rose not only in countries that began the year with high or very high restrictions, such as Indonesia and Nigeria, but also in many countries that began with low or moderate restrictions, such as Switzerland and the United States.
The World's Muslims: Unity and Diversity
August 2012
The world's Muslims are united in their belief in God and the Prophet Muhammad and are bound together by such religious practices as fasting during Ramadan and almsgiving to assist the needy. But they have widely differing views about other aspects of their faith, including how important religion is to their lives, who counts as a Muslim and what practices are acceptable in Islam.
Faith on the Move: The Religious Affiliation of International Migrants
March 2012
This study focuses on the religious affiliation of international migrants, examining patterns of migration among seven major groups: Christians, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Jews, adherents of other religions and the religiously unaffiliated.
Global Christianity: A Report on the Size and Distribution of the World's Christian Population
December 2011
A comprehensive demographic study finds that there are 2.2 billion Christians of all ages around the world, representing nearly a third of the estimated 2010 global population of 6.9 billion. Christians are also geographically widespread, and no single region can indisputably claim to be the center of global Christianity.
Rising Restrictions on Religion
August 2011
Restrictions on religious beliefs and practices rose in 23 of the world's 198 countries (12%), decreased in 12 countries (6%) and remained essentially unchanged in 163 countries (82%) between mid-2006 and mid-2009. More than 2.2 billion people – nearly a third of the world's population – live in the 23 countries with increasing government restrictions or social hostilities involving religion.
Global Survey of Evangelical Protestant Leaders
June 2011
Evangelical Protestant leaders who live in the Global South generally are optimistic about the prospects for evangelicalism in their countries: 71% expect that five years from now the state of evangelicalism in their countries will be better than it is today. But those who live in the Global North expect that the state of evangelicalism in their countries will either stay about the same (21%) or worsen (33%) over the next five years.
The Future of the Global Muslim Population
January 2011
This comprehensive demographic study seeks to provide up-to-date estimates of the number of Muslims around the world in 2010 and to project the growth of the Muslim population from 2010 to 2030. The report also illustrates past trends for several measures by providing data from 1990 to 2010.
Tolerance and Tension: Islam and Christianity in Sub-Saharan Africa
April 2010
A 19-country survey by the Pew Research Center reveals that the vast majority of people in many sub-Saharan African nations are deeply committed to Christianity or Islam, and yet many continue to practice elements of traditional African religions.
Global Restrictions on Religion
December 2009
This report gauges the level of religious restrictions in 198 countries due both to government actions and to acts of violence and intimidation by private individuals, organizations and social groups.
Mapping the Global Muslim Population
October 2009
A comprehensive demographic study of more than 200 countries finds that there are 1.6 billion Muslims of all ages living in the world today, representing 23% of an estimated 2009 world population of 6.8 billion.
Spirit and Power: A 10-Country Survey of Pentecostals
October 2006
This survey explores Pentecostalism and related charismatic movements, which represent one of the fastest-growing segments of global Christianity.