Wednesday, February 27, 2008

American Buddhists

The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life recently conducted a “religious landscape survey”. Here are some interested facts about American Buddhists:

Percentage of Americans who identified themselves as Buddhists: 0.7%

The U.S. has a population of slightly more than 300 million. That translates into about 2.1 million Buddhists.

Racial composition of American Buddhists: 53% White (non-Hispanic), 32% Asian, 6% Hispanic, 4% Black, 5% other/mixed.

It is tempting to think that most American Buddhists are Asian immigrants or their children. This survey result suggests otherwise.

Percentage of American Buddhists with tertiary education: 22% with college degrees, 26% with post-graduate degrees.

Only Hindus and Jews have higher percentage of postgraduates. National average is 11%

Marital status of American Buddhists: 45% married, 12% divorced or separated, 31% never married, 8% living with partners, 4% widowed.

Unlike many other religions, marriage is neither sacred nor a duty in Buddhism. No wonder only 45% of Buddhists are married. (National average is 54%.)