Jews Are World's Most Educated Religious Group, Study Finds

Jews Are World's Most Educated Religious Group, Study Finds

While the Christians, Buddhists and religiously unaffiliated people - who include atheists, agnostics and those who say their religion is nothing in particular - each have a higher number of years of schooling than the global average (7.7 years).

The average duration for which Hindus received schooling is also higher in comparison to other religions.

The average level of education in different global regions is far from homogenous. Only about 33 percent of Americans have a bachelor's degree or higher, yet the Times tweeted out that "Only 36% of Christians in the US have a postsecondary education".

In United States, 96 per cent of Hindus hold college degrees, compared to 36 per cent for Christians who are a majority in the country.

In some religious groups, the gender gaps in acquiring any formal education are particularly large.

The Pew report said that in sub-Saharan Africa, Christians were more highly educated than Muslims.

The Pew researchers note that other countries with a majority religious group and minority religious groups that are largely immigrants often have the same dynamic.

However, this gain is not as much in India as elsewhere, the report says, adding, "The largest increase has taken place among Hindus in sub-Saharan Africa, where the youngest generation in the study has 10.2 years of schooling, on average, compared with 5.6 years of schooling for the oldest generation". In the youngest cohort of Hindus, more men than women still have post-secondary degrees (17% of men vs. 11% of women).

Also, younger women are beginning to cross the education gender gap. While Muslims' gender gap in educational attainment is quite poor, the report notes, it is not as bad that of Hindus.

The data varies by region. Globally, Muslims and Hindus have the largest shares of adherents with no formal education, and are four times more likely than Christians to have had no schooling.

And low levels of attainment among Hindus reflect the fact that 98% of Hindu adults live in the developing countries of India, Nepal and Bangladesh. Muslims and Hindus, the religions with the lowest levels of education, have made the biggest educational gains in recent generations. Among older members of religious groups, the men received more years of education than women. Even 44% of the religiously unaffiliated have a college degree.

The most interesting fact in the report was that 1 out of every 5 Muslims is a convert.

Almost "all Hindus" in North America, Europe and the Latin America-Caribbean region and 93% in sub-Saharan Africa (which includes Hindu-majority Mauritius) have received at least some schooling, compared to 59% of Hindus in India.

Unlike immigrants from Mexico and Central America, who are able to cross more easily into the United States with or without immigration papers, most Muslim and Hindu immigrants must travel to America "perhaps at considerable cost" and "have to deal with USA migration policies, which in many cases favor people who have skills that they have acquired through considerable education", Conrad Hackett, the lead researcher on the study, noted to NPR.