Religious Cultures of the World: A Statistical Reference

Religious Cultures of the World: A Statistical Reference

Religious Cultures of the World: A Statistical Reference

Religious Cultures of the World: A Statistical Reference

Synopsis

This work is a study of quantitative comparisons encompassing over 70 religious groups on a transnational level, including factors that affect economic development, demographic behavior, and general business policies. Over 26,000 statistics are presented.

Excerpt

Both academic and popular presses have recently stressed the importance of "borderless" markets, where national boundaries no longer become the relevant criteria in making international marketing, economic planning and business decisions. Understanding nonpolitical borders is especially important for products and industries which are "culture bound", or those which require local adaptation. Religion is often cited as a critical factor affecting economic development, demographic behavior, and general business policies (e.g. strategies found effective in Christian areas may prove ineffective in Muslim populations). While there is substantial soft or textual information on the world's religious groups published in various works, there is no complete source of hard or quantitative information which might be used on a global basis. This book was developed to allow quantitative comparisons across religious groups which are present in multiple countries located in multiple continents. The hard information presented in this book allows researchers to begin to answer certain basic questions which have been relatively easy to answer at the national level, but which are illusive for religions which are trans-national: What is the rank order of religions by income per capita?; What percent of Catholics speak English?; Which religious groups have highest consumption levels of food, or entertainment goods?; What factors best explain differences across religious groups in terms of demographic, consumption and production behaviors (e.g. natural resources, political systems, or language differences)?

The book is organized into eleven chapters. This chapter briefly introduces the book's organization, and potential uses across fields (business, economics, sociology, ethnography, demography, etc.). More importantly, this chapter gives a summary of the methodologies used to generate each reported variable; caveats and limitations of the various estimation procedures used are presented. Chapter 2 provides suggestions to applied academic, business or policy researchers on how one might use the data to explain variations in behaviors across cultures (a physioeconomic framework). Chapters 3 to 9 present statistical profiles for each of over 70 religious groups. Broadly defined, three types of estimates are given for each religion: absolute levels, average levels (e.g. per capita measures), and percentage or penetration measures. Absolute levels include such measures as population sizes. Average levels are a weighted estimate across countries where the religion is present (e.g. average life expectancy or literacy levels). Percent penetration figures indicate, for example, the percentage of a religion's population that lives under a communist regime (or military dictatorship, etc.). In some cases the estimates are unique to the religion in question, while others are shared by multiple religions simultaneously residing in one or more countries. To the extent that the . . .

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