(HPI note: This article appeared in the
January/February/March 2008 issue of Hinduism Today.
Full text below.)
Hinduism Today was recently asked to provide a
definitive estimate of Hindus in America. Our
conclusion: as of 2008, there are more than
2,290,000 Hindus in the US.
There are no official government statistics on the
number of adherents to any particular religion in
America, because the US Census does not collect data
on religion. Estimates are made mostly by national
These are useful for large religious
communities, but inaccurate for small ones. For
Hinduism, we believe the soundest approach is based
on the number of people in America of Indian origin.
The US Census Bureau conducts an ongoing statistical
study called American Community Survey, which
provides yearly updates to the decennial American
census. The Survey offers up-to-date information on
demographics, housing, society and the economy in
America, based on a sample of three million
households interviewed each year (out of 105
The 2006 Survey, which was released in
October, 2007, counted 2,482,141 Asian Indians. This
includes those of Indian origin coming from
countries such as Trinidad, Kenya, Surinam and Fiji.
Other figures are based on even less concrete
information than the ARIS results. Harvard’s
Pluralism Project estimates 1,300,000 Hindus, based
on the 2004 World Almanac figure of
1,285,000–which, in turn, was based on information
from the 1999 Yearbook of American and Canadian
The Encyclopedia Britannica estimates
1,032,000 Hindus in America by 2000. The World
Christian Encyclopedia (1985 edition) projected
700,000 Hindus in 2000, at 0.3% of the population,
based on census date from the 1980s.
website http://www.adherents.com uses the ARIS figure, but
updates it using growth estimates.
All are no more than educated guesses.Many
Americans who are not ethnic Indians embrace Hindu
practice or belief to one degree or another.
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