Washington, May 10: Hindu and Buddhist groups have grown steadily in the US, being concentrated in Texas, California, the New York Metropolitan Area, Illinois and Georgia, says a new study.
“Both Buddhists and Hindus, though still relatively small compared to the large Christian groups, have grown to the point that they are beginning to exert significant influence on the key issues that most affect their lives,” said J. Gordon Melton, professor of American religious history at Baylor University, who conducted the study.
The census, the most comprehensive statistical assessment of data from the 2,000-plus religious groups active in the US, is made every 10 years by the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies.
Both Hindus and Buddhists have temples in most states, and “the groups now regularly voice their opinions on US relations with predominantly Hindu and Buddhist countries,” Melton said, according to a Baylor statement.
“Like the Muslim congregations, Hindus and Buddhists are found in every part of the country, but they are concentrated in the big cities and still have not begun to appear in the smaller cities and rural areas,” said Melton.
Both Muslims and Mormons (latter-day Saints) showed dramatic increases in percentages, the former from both immigration and penetration of the African-American community, the latter from movement out of its base in the Mountain states to all parts of the country.
Muslims are distinct as the majority are of Indo-Pakistani background, the second largest group being African-American, with Arab Americans a distinct minority. There are now some six million Mormons and 2.6 million Muslims in the country.