According to a comprehensive study released on 9 August 2011 by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, one-third of the world’s population experienced an increase in restrictions on religion during the period of the study. The study, Rising Restrictions on Religion, finds that restrictions on religious beliefs and practices rose between mid-2006 and mid-2009 in 23 of the world’s 198 countries (12%), decreased in 12 countries (6%) and remained essentially unchanged in 163 countries (82%).
Because several countries with increasing restrictions on religion are very populous, however, the increases affect a much larger share of people than of states. More than 2.2 billion people – nearly a third (32%) of the world’s total population of 6.9 billion – live in countries where either government restrictions on religion or social hostilities involving religion rose substantially over the three-year period studied.
Explore the report at the Pew Forum site.