Data Sources
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Data for the national profiles are collected from twelve reliable and widely-used resources and are assembled by the Association of Religion Data Archives (ARDA) under the supervision of Robert Martin, Jaime Harris, Dane Mataic, Christopher Bader, and Roger Finke with the financial support of the John Templeton Foundation and Penn State University. Listed below are brief descriptions of each source and the variables utilized in our presentation of the data.

1) Center for Religious Freedom - The Center for Religious Freedom joined Hudson Institute in January 2007, following a ten-year affiliation with Freedom House. Founded in 1941 by Eleanor Roosevelt and Wendell Willkie to oppose Nazism and Communism in Europe, Freedom House is America's oldest human rights group. Its Center for Religious Freedom defends against religious persecution of all groups throughout the world. It insists that U.S. foreign policy defend Christians and Jews, Muslim dissidents and minorities, and other religious minorities. This scale was originally published by Paul Marshall (2000) in his book Religious Freedom in the World: A Global Report on Freedom and Persecution (Broadman and Holman).
  Variables: Religious Freedom Scale
2) Cingranelli-Richards (CIRI) Human Rights Dataset - The Cingranelli-Richards (CIRI) Human Rights Dataset contains standards-based quantitative information on government respect for 15 internationally recognized human rights for 195 countries, annually from 1981-2009. It is designed for use by scholars and students who seek to test theories about the causes and consequences of human rights violations, as well as policy makers and analysts who seek to estimate the human rights effects of a wide variety of institutional changes and public policies including democratization, economic aid, military aid, structural adjustment, and humanitarian intervention. Data can be downloaded from the Cingranelli-Richards (CIRI) Human Rights Dataset website.
  Variables: Freedom of Religion, Independence of the Judiciary
3) Correlates of War Project - The Correlates of War Project seeks to facilitate the collection, dissemination, and use of accurate and reliable quantitative data in international relations. Import and export data is drawn from the International Trade, 1870-2006 (v2.01) dataset and military data is drawn from the National Material Capabilities (v4.0) dataset, both of which are components of and hosted by the Correlates of War Project.
  Variables: Military Personnel
4) Freedom House – Freedom House is an independent non-governmental organization that supports the expansion of freedom in the world. A dataset with these and the other international measures highlighted on the country pages can be downloaded at the ARDA. An updated data file with these measures will be available for download at the ARDA soon.
  Variables: Political Typology, Political Rights Scale, Civil Liberties Scale, Freedom of Expression and Belief, Associational and Organizational Rights, Electoral Process, Political Pluralism and Participation, Functioning of Government, Rule of Law
5) Heritage Foundation/Wall Street Journal Index of Economic Freedom - The Heritage Foundation/Wall Street Journal Index of Economic Freedom is a systematic, empirical measurement of economic freedom in countries throughout the world. A set of objective economic criteria are used to study and grade various countries for the annual publication of the Index of Economic Freedom.
  Variables: Index of Economic Freedom
6) Polity IV Project - The Polity IV Project continues the Polity research tradition of coding the authority characteristics of states in the world system for purposes of comparative, quantitative analysis. The POLITY score reported here is computed by subtracting the Polity IV Project’s Autocracy score for a country from its Democracy score. More information and access to the Polity IV Project datasets is available at the Polity IV Project homepage.
  Variables: POLITY Score
7) The Religion and State Project, Round 2: The Religion and State (RAS) Project is a university-based project located at Bar Ilan University in Ramat Gan, Israel. Its goal is to create a set of measures that systematically gauge the intersection between government and religion. Specifically, it examines government religion policy. Round 2 of the RAS dataset measures the extent of government involvement in religion (GIR) or the lack thereof for 175 states on a yearly basis between 1990 and 2008. This constitutes all countries with populations of 250,000 or more as well as a sampling of smaller states. This dataset, featuring this and other international measures highlighted on the country pages, may be previewed and here. Used with permission.
  Variables: Religion and State Score, Regulation and Restrictions on Majority Religion or All Religions, Religious Discrimination Toward Minorities, Proportion of Country’s Laws Influenced by Religion or Directly Based on Religious Codes
8) United Nations Human Development Report – Published annually for the United Nations’ Development Program, the Human Development Report presents information on the life choices and freedoms available to individuals around the world. Each report is developed by a team of scholars collecting data from numerous sources to ensure data quality. The reports focus primarily on socio-economic factors that limit or enable people to live full, productive lives and are used to assess general well-being within a country. This is an open source, and both the report and data can be freely downloaded from the United Nations’ website. A file highlighting these variables is available at the ARDA.
  Variables: Human Development Index (HDI), Gini Index of Income Inequality, Gender Inequality Index
9) U.S. State Department’s International Religious Freedom (IRF) Reports – The 1998 International Religious Freedom Act requires every U.S. Embassy to prepare an annual report on religious freedom in its host country. These reports include information from government officials, media sources, country experts and personal accounts for 198 countries and territories in 2008. The completed reports are then submitted to Congress and can be freely downloaded from the State Department website.

The IRF Reports serve as the primary source for the International Religious Freedom Indexes. Developed by Brian Grim and Roger Finke, each of these indexes examines a different dimension of religious regulation and favoritism and provides objective measures of government policy and social practice regarding religious expression. Religious freedom data for 2001, 2003, 2005, 2008 and an aggregate file can be downloaded at the ARDA.
 Variables: GRI, SRI, GFI, Religious Demography, measures of religious freedom and social regulation of religion.
10) World Christian Database (WCD) – Updated and maintained by the Center for the Study of Global Christianity, the World Christian Database is based on information provided by the World Christian Encyclopedia and World Christian Trends. Both of these books serve as standards for international religious statistics, and provide comprehensive estimates of religious affiliation around the world. Access to the complete WCD is available for purchase at their website, and select variables are available for download at the ARDA.
  Variables: Adherents estimates
11) World Bank’s Open Data - Relying on agencies from each country, as well as a synthesis of data from United Nations divisions, Eurostate Demographic statistics, the U.S. Census international database, and its own data collection, the World Bank’s Open Data site offers free and open access to data about development in countries around the globe.
  Variables: Population, Total Area, Life Expectancy at Birth, Net Migration Rate, Urban Population, Urban Population Growth, Fertility Rate, Infant Mortality Rate, Prevalence of HIV, Gross National Income Per Capita, Gross Domestic Product, Imports, Exports, Adult Literacy Rate, Net Primary Enrollment Rate, Net Secondary Enrollment Rate, and Military Expenditure
12) World Values Survey - The World Values Survey is a worldwide investigation of socio-cultural and political change. It is conducted by a network of social scientists at leading universities around the world. Interviews have been carried out with nationally representative samples of the publics of more than 80 societies. A total of four waves have been carried out since 1981. The ARDA has averaged the weighted responses across the waves for each country surveyed. See the World Values Survey website for further information and to download the original survey data.
  Variables: Public opinion measures: religious affiliation and identification, religious behaviors, religious beliefs, religious experiences, attitudes, and politics


All country histories and flags were obtained from, 2015.

Religion Profile Calculation Note: The Values for the United Nation regions are calculated from the country values in that region. We utilized two methods for computing our regional calculations: adding country measures (population, area, etc.) and computing weighted averages of indexes and composite measures (GFI, life expectancy, etc.). When more than 50% of the nations failed to report composite measures, we did not compute regional rates.

Selected Definitions

Civil Liberties Scale – The Civil Liberties scale is a comparative measure of individual liberties and rights. A higher civil liberties score indicates greater restrictions on liberty and rights. Range: 1 - 7.

Gini Index – The Gini index is a national measure of income inequality. A higher index score indicates a greater degree of income inequality. Range: 0 – 1.

Gender Inequality Index (GII) - The Gender Inequality Index is a composite measure reflecting inequality in achievements between women and men in three dimensions: reproductive health, empowerment and the labor market. It varies between zero (when women and men fare equally) and one (when men or women fare poorly compared to the other in all dimensions). The health dimension is measured by two indicators: maternal mortality ratio and the adolescent fertility rate. The empowerment dimension is also measured by two indicators: the share of parliamentary seats held by each sex and by secondary and higher education attainment levels. The labor dimension is measured by women’s participation in the work force.

Government Favoritism Index (GFI) – The government favoritism index is a comparative measure of the actions of the state that provide one religion or a small group of religions special privileges, support, or favorable sanctions. A higher GFI score indicates greater religious favoritism. Range: 0 – 10.*

Government Regulation Index (GRI) – The government regulation index is a comparative measure of the actions of the state that deny religious freedoms including any actions that impinge on the practice, profession, or selection of religion. A higher GRI score indicates greater religious regulation. Range: 0 – 10.*

Human Development Index (HDI) – The human development index is a comprehensive measure of longevity, education, and well-being developed by the United Nations. It is calculated using life expectancy, primary, secondary and tertiary school enrollment, literacy rates, and per capita GDP.

Political Rights Scale – The political rights is a comparative measure that indicates the degree of restriction placed upon individual rights to participate in the political process (e.g., voting, party affiliation). A higher political rights score indicates greater rights restrictions.

Political Typology – Political typology is a descriptive measure of government type ranging from democracy to empire.

Social Regulation Index (SRI) – The social regulation index is a comparative measure of the restrictions placed on practice, profession, or selection of religion by other religious groups or associations or the culture at large. A higher SRI score indicates greater social regulation. (Note that the SRI given in the National and Regional Profiles has been altered from the original index described in Grim and Finke (2006).) Range: 0 – 10.*

*For a complete overview of the GFI, GRI, and the original SRI see the 2006 article by Brian Grim and Roger Finke

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