Demographics of Hinduism

Hinduism is the world’s third largest religion after Christianity and Islam, with nearly one billion adherents. Over 90 percent of all Hindus live in India. Nepal was the world’s only Hindu kingdom until democratization resulted in its transition into a secular state in 2006. During British colonialism, many indentured Indian servants were sent overseas on behalf of the empire. This accounts for the part of the Hindu diaspora in disparate places. For example, over half the population of the African island of Mauritius practice Hinduism; one quarter to one third of the South American and Caribbean countries of Guyana, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago are Hindu; and one third of Fijians are Hindu as well. The oil industry in the Arabian Peninsula has led to an influx of Hindu Indian laborers with low social status; Hindus represent 12 percent of Qatar and over 20 percent of the United Arab Emirates. In addition, significant Hindu communities exist in the United Kingdom and the United States. By best estimates, half of Hindus are Vaishnavas, devotees of Vishnu, and about a quarter are Shaivas, devotees of Shiva.