World Hindu Population
With about 885 million followers, Hinduism is the third biggest religion in the world after Christianity and Islam. India is home to more than 800 million Hindus, while the rest are spread around the globe. Hinduism accounts for more than 13 percent of the world population of 6.68 billion and is growing at around 1.52 percent annually.
There are several different sources for Hindu population figures. The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) places the percentage of Hindus in the world at around 13.26 out of the total world population of 6,677,563,921 (July 2008 est). Encyclopaedia Brittanica estimated the proportion of Hindus in the world at 13.33 percent in 2005. Meanwhile, the Foreign Policy magazine published by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace gives the world Hindu population at 870 million as of May 2007, and growing at about 1.52 percent annually. The consensus estimate of the current global population of Hindus is about 885 million.
Hinduism is the third biggest religion in the world, with only Christianity and Islam claiming more followers. Roughly one-third of the world population, or about 2.23 billion people, adhere to the various Christian sects, with Roman Catholicism having the biggest following within Christianity. Islam, meanwhile, has about 1.4 billion followers, accounting for 21 percent of the world population. Buddhism is the other major world religion with about 390 million followers.
According to the William Carey Library, Hinduism grew at 1.69 percent annually around the world between 1990 and 2000. In the same time period, total world population grew at around 1.41 percent, meaning Hinduism is growing faster than the world population. This exceptional growth is attributed mainly to high birth rates in the Indian subcontinent. At current growth rates, the global Hindu family will be a billion strong by the year 2017, and by 2050, there will be about 1.7 billion Hindus around the world.
Hinduism is the biggest religion in India, Nepal, Mauritius, Guyana and Suriname, while in many other countries including Malaysia, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Fiji and the USA, Hindus are a significant minority. Hindus are found in 114 countries today and this wide distribution is attributed to the Indian diaspora that was initially the result of British colonialism and then of voluntary migration of Indians in search of better economic prospects. This movement of Hindus continues to this day as Indian professionals are sought after in various industries like engineering and information technology in countries around the world.
Biggest Hindu Populations by Country (Source: CIA July 2008 est)
Among Hindus, Vaishnavism is the predominant tradition with an estimated following of more than 600 million, or about 68 percent of the total Hindu population. Another almost 240 million, roughly 27 percent, adhere to Shaivism. The rest are followers of Shaktism and other Hindu traditions. Vaishnavism is also the third biggest religious tradition in the world today, after Roman Catholicism and Sunni Islam.
World Hindu Population Counter
The World Hindu Population Counter on Mamandram.org tracks the growth of Hinduism around the globe using currently available statistics. The growth rate of 1.52 percent given by Foreign Policy is used for the World Hindu Population Counter. The population numbers provided by the counter are only an estimation as the figures used to calculate them are themselves approximates. This is because population tracking is inherently difficult and concrete figures are rarely, if ever, available. The counter is only meant to be illustrative of the size of Hinduism.
As of October 2008, there are more than 887 million Hindus around the world.