The number of Indian Americans who have never been married has risen sharply, according to the Pew Research Center’s 2014 Religious Landscape Study, which surveyed more than 35,000 Americans.
Nearly one-third of Hindu Americans have never been married.
In 2007, the first year of the study, only 14 percent of Hindu Americans had never been married, while an overwhelming 79 percent were wedded. Currently, 60 percent of Hindu Americans are married. Three percent of Hindus surveyed said that they live with partners, contrasting sharply with 2007 data, which showed no Hindu Americans living with partners.
America’s Hindu population has reached 2.23 million, an increase of about one million or 85.8 percent since 2007, making Hinduism the fourth-largest faith, according to estimates based on the Pew Research Center’s “Religious Landscape Study.” The study only gave the percentage shares of Hindus in the population, rather than numbers, but calculations by IANS using the population proportions in the report and census projections showed that the number of Hindus rose from 1.2 million in 2007 out of a total U.S. population of 301.2 million that year to 2.23 million in 2014 in a population of 318.88 million. This amounts to an increase of 1.03 million or 85.8 percent in the Hindu population during the seven-year period.
In other statistics, 45 percent of Muslim Americans have never been married, according to the study, again contrasting sharply with 2007 rates when 28 percent reported never having been married. Slightly more than one-third of Buddhists have never been married, equivalent to the 2007 rates.
“Since the first Religious Landscape Study was conducted in 2007, the share of Americans who are married has continued to decline, while the share of adults who have never been married has risen sharply,” noted the report.
“In fact, recent analysis of census data shows that the share of Americans who have never been married now stands at an all-time high,” reported the study. In the overall population, about 48 percent of Americans are married, while 25 percent have never been married. About seven percent of the population currently lives with a partner.
Hindu Americans now comprise 0.07 percent of the U.S. population, up from 2007, when 0.04 percent of people surveyed identified as Hindus. Muslims now represent 0.09 percent of the U.S. population, while 0.03 percent identify as Buddhists. A small fraction of the U.S. population identifies with other world religions, including Sikhs, Jains, Zoroastrians, Bahais, Taoists and Rastafarians.
Hindus and Jews have the highest proportion of household incomes; more than 36 percent of Hindu Americans have a family income of more than $100,000. Almost 19 percent of the American population has family incomes over $100,000. Hindus also continue to be the most highly-educated religion: 77 percent are college graduates and 48 percent hold post-graduate degrees.
The number of people who identify as “unaffiliated” has sharply risen to more than 22 percent of Americans, with the trend rising highest among millennials. Mixed race and interfaith marriages are also on the rise.
Hindu Americans comprise the largest population to marry within their own religion.
The Pew Research Center will release more findings over the year.
An earlier report from Pew on the future of world religions in April said that by 2050, Hindus would make up 1.2 percent of the U.S. population and number 4.78 million. This would make the U.S. Hindu population the fifth largest in the world. The rising trend of Hinduism in the U.S. contrasts with that in India. The Pew report released in April said that the share of Hindus in the Indian population was expected to decline by 2.8 percent, from 79.5 percent in 2010 to 76.7 percent in 2050 even though their numbers were projected to grow to almost 1.3 billion by that year in a total Indian population of nearly 1.7 billion.
These are the highlights of the Hindu community profile in the report: Hindus have the lowest divorce rate of only 5 percent. Hindus are least likely to marry outside their religion: 91 percent have a spouse or partner who is a fellow Hindu. The median age of Hindu adults is 33 years. Five percent of San Francisco’s population is Hindu and three percent of New York City’s. Most Hindus live in the West (38 percent) and the Northeast (33 percent). An anomaly in the report is that 62 percent of Hindus are men and 38 percent women, a difference of 24 percent, which may be due to the pattern of immigration.
The new Pew report this week on the religions in the U.S. said that most of the increase in the Hindu population came through immigration and not conversions: 87 percent are immigrants and nine percent are the children of immigrants, the report said. Only 10 percent of the Hindus are converts, with Catholics and unaffiliated each accounting for 3 percent.
Hindus are least likely to convert to other religions, according to the report: Of all the American adults who said they were raised as Hindus, 80 percent continued to adhere to Hinduism. Of those born Hindu, who did not any longer identify themselves as Hindus, 18 percent said they had no religious affiliation (a category that includes atheists and agnostics), and only one percent joined Christian Protestant sects.