More than 1.2 billion people in India worship one of the world’s great religions, according to a new report.
According to the World Values Survey, the global Buddhist population grew from 3.2 million in 1990 to 6.2 percent in 2017.
The world’s largest Buddhist society, the Theravada Buddhist Order of India, claims about 30 million adherents, while the largest Hindu denomination has 3.4 million followers.
The data from the 2017 survey shows the number of Buddhists in the world has doubled since 1990, with growth in the Hindu world growing by nearly 100 percent.
In 2017, there were about 6.4 billion Buddhists, an increase of about 200 million people since the 1970s, according the report.
“I think we are now in a place where we can look at the world through a Buddhist lens,” said Jairam Ramesh, a research fellow at the International Buddhist Studies Center.
Ramesh and other scholars have been tracking Buddhist numbers in the U.S. for more than a decade.
He said he is pleased with the report, but that there has been much more attention paid to Buddhist communities in the West.
“We have more of a Buddhist culture in the United States than we have in India,” he said.
“There is a tendency to focus on the Hindu community and not the Buddhist one.”
Buddhist religions are defined by their emphasis on compassion, and inclusiveness.
There is no consensus on how many people identify as Buddhist, but most scholars agree that there are about 1.5 billion Buddhist people worldwide.