Section I. Religious Demography

The U.S. government estimates the total population at 30.4 million (midyear 2021).  According to the 2011 census, the most recent, Hindus constitute 81.3 percent of the population, Buddhists 9 percent, Muslims (the vast majority of whom are Sunni) 4.4 percent, and Christians (of whom a large majority are Protestant and a minority Roman Catholic) 1.4 percent.  Other groups, which together constitute less than 5 percent of the population, include Kirats (an indigenous religion with Hindu influence), animists, adherents of Bon (a Tibetan religious tradition), Jains, Baha’is, and Sikhs.  According to some Muslim leaders, Muslims constitute at least 5.5 percent of the population, mostly concentrated in the south.  According to some Christian groups, Christians constitute 3 to 5 percent of the population.  Many individuals adhere to a syncretic faith encompassing elements of Hinduism, Buddhism, and traditional folk practices, according to scholars.

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The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future