Data | People in South India are much more liberal on religion and nationalism: survey


About 75% of Hindus residing in southern India said they would accept a Muslim as a neighbor – a stark contrast to all other parts of India

People in southern India tend to be more religiously integrated and less averse to interfaith marriages, according to data from a national survey conducted by the Pew Research Center. Although the inhabitants of the southern states are as much, if not more, religious than the citizens of other regions, relatively fewer consider theirs to be the “only true religion”. For example, 62% of southerners visit places of worship at least once a week, which is more than the share of the central, eastern, western and northeastern regions. About 57% wore religious pendants, higher than all regions except central India (58%). However, only 37% of them, the least among regions, thought it was important to prevent women in their community from marrying another religion.

Striking contrast

Southerners were more liberal on food restrictions. Relatively fewer of them considered that a person was not Hindu if they ate beef, or that a person was not Muslim if they ate pork. Southerners also had more “close friends” outside of their religion and caste compared to people from other parts of India. About 75% of Hindus residing in southern India said they would accept a Muslim as a neighbor, a stark contrast to all other parts of India. It is important to note that education has played a role in people’s religious beliefs. The religious views of university graduates varied greatly from those of the out-of-school.

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Methodology | Pew surveyed 29,999 people in 29 states and UTs. People of all major religions, speaking at least 17 different languages ​​in all age groups (excluding children), were included in the sample. The survey was conducted between November 17, 2019 and March 23, 2020.

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