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Religious Landscape and American Diversity

America is one of the countries with the largest population of immigrants. The state hosts people of various races, languages, education, and ethnic backgrounds. In addition, all these residents have different religious beliefs as the American Constitution protects the believers of all faiths. The Constitution guarantees everyone the freedom to exercise their faith and restricts the government from sidelining any religious groups. Therefore, the existence of all these differences in faith, language and education contribute to the diversified nature of the USA as a country.

Education in America

Most Americans have at least college education. As of 2015, the population of US citizens aged over 25 was 212 million (Ryan & Bauman, 2016). The total percentage of Americans with a college education constituted 58.9% of this population while only 32.5% had actual degrees (Ryan & Bauman, 2016). On the other hand, the overall proportion of individuals with a master's degree was 8.9% while those with a Ph.D. accounted for 3% out of 212 million (Ryan & Bauman, 2016). Hence, this shows that most Americans are educated.

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The distribution of these individuals is different in various locations. The East Coast states have a higher percentage of graduates. Columbia has a total of 42.5% of its population who possess college degrees (Ryan & Bauman, 2016). The second position is taken by Massachusetts with 35.5%, followed by Colorado with 33.5% and Maryland with 33.1%. The lowest rates are peculiar for western Virginia with 16.1%, Mississippi with 17.1%, and Nevada with 18.6% (Ryan & Buaman, 2016). Thus, the numbers of individuals with college degrees vary depending on the geographic location.

The difference in education is equally evident among the races. The Asian Americans assumed leadership with the highest percentage of degree holders, which is at 50.1% (Ryan & Bauman, 2016). The next place is held by the whites with the percentage of 37.6%, African Americans had 25.4%, and the Latinos had 9.8% (Ryan & Bauman, 2016). Of all these groups, the individuals born in America are more likely to obtain the degree compared to those who moved into the country later or during their childhood. Hence, the largest percentage of people with a college education is peculiar to other races.

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Population, Language, and Religion

Various international bodies have different views concerning the total number of countries in the world. However, the most current data from international authorities and experts put it in 194 countries (Ryan & Bauman, 2016). Nevertheless, the value does not include Palestine, Kosovo, Taiwan, Greenland, and Western Sahara among many other partly recognized states. Therefore, these 194 countries contribute to the total population of the world, which is estimated at 7.4 billion as of 2017 (U.S. and world population clock, n.d.). The population varies in nations with some being highly populated and others possessing a small or average population. The table below provides the countries with the highest population.

Country

Population

Country

Population

China

1,379,302,771

Pakistan

204,924,861

India

1,281,935,911

Nigeria

190,632,261

United States

326,625,791

Bangladesh

157,826,578

Indonesia

260,580,739

Russia

142,257,519

Brazil

207,353,391

Japan

126,451,398

On the other hand, there are millions of dialects around the globe and the numbers differ in numerous states. In Asia, there are 2301 languages, America has 1,064, Africa has 2138 and the Pacific has 1,313 languages (Wormald, 2015). The most common language spoken by the majority of the world's population is Chinese with 1.39 billion speakers (Wormald, 2015). The next widespread one is Hindu with 588 million speakers (Wormald, 2015). About 457 million people speak Arabic, 389 million speak Spanish, 250 speak Bengali, 527 speak English, 193 million speak Portuguese, 67 million speak Italian, 132 million speak German, 123 million speak Japanese, 118 million speak French, and about 254 million speak Russian (Wormald, 2015). Thus, these figures are a reflection of the fact that only 12 languages are shared by about two-thirds of the global population.

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Furthermore, there exist 18 religions (Lamb, 2017). The world religions include Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Chinese folk religion, atheism, a new religion, traditional religion, Sikhism, Judaism, Spiritism, Taoism, Bahai faith, Confucianism, Jainism, Shinto, Zoroastrianism, and Wicca. Besides, there are about 2,039 million Christians around the globe, which is roughly 32 percent of the world's population (Lamb, 2017). The Muslims constitute 1,570 million; the Hindus include 950 million while the Jew's number is 17.5 million (Lamb, 2017). In America the Jews make 1.9% of the population, the Muslims are 0.9 %, the Hindus are 0.7% while the Christians comprise the majority with the rate of 79.5% (Lamb, 2017). Hence, there are many religions in the world, each with a significant population of believers.

The population of Muslims globally is also different in various countries. Demographic studies show that the total population of Muslims is 1.57 billion, which is 23% of the world's population as of 2009. They occupy all five continents in great numbers. Additionally, 60% of the 1.57 billion Muslims live in Asia while others inhabit the Middle East and this is an estimate of 20% of the 1.57 billion (Lamb, 2017). Some are found in North Africa. However, the regions of the Middle East and North Africa include most countries with a majority of their residents being Muslims. Over 20 states in these areas have an approximate 95% Islam population (Lamb, 2017). Consequently, the largest percentage of Muslims live in Asia.

Therefore, the population of believers is what determines the dominant faith in a country. For instance, the Christians in Africa constitute 53% of the total population and the majority of them live in 31 states. There are about 8% of atheists in America, which is a total of 18 million while approximately 450 million individuals are nonbelievers worldwide. The entire population of pagans is 1.2 million people in America. The African Americans living in America are roughly 42 million that is 12.6% of the U.S. population but most of them do not practice the traditional African religion within the state (Lamb, 2017). According to Lamb (2017), less than 400, 000 people of color, which is equivalent to 1% of the African Americans practice the traditional African religion. Then 46.6% of 240 million residents in America are Protestants while 20.8% are Catholics (Lamb, 2017). The total population of Catholics in the world is 1,031 million while the Protestants constitute 1008 million (Lamb, 2017). The table below shows the top ten countries with the highest population of Christian believers (Lamb, 2017). Hence, Christianity is the dominant religion in the USA and Africa.

Country

Percentage

Population estimate as of 2010

America

79

240

Brazil

89

170

Mexico

78

100

Russia

75

99

The Philippines

67

87

Nigeria

51

79

China

5

66

DR Congo

33

62

Germany

29

59

Ethiopia

27

51

In addition, Christianity is dominant among the authority bodies and figures in America. The total percentage of Congress members affiliating themselves to Christian is 91% (Wormald, 2015). The current American Supreme Court has a total of 5 Christians and 2 Jews (Wormald, 2015). The faith of one of the members is yet to be revealed. Almost all the Presidents of the U.S. were Christians. Besides, 11 of them were Episcopalian, and these form the highest percentage (Wormald, 2015). The second-largest group of believers was the Presbyterians with a total of 8 former Presidents plus the current President, Donald Trump (Wormald, 2015). The Baptists comprised 4 heads of the state, Unitarians - 4, Methodists - 3, Christians - 3, Disciples of Christ - 2, Quakers - 2, Congregationalists - 1, Catholic - 1, Dutch Reformed - 2 and two had no formal affiliation (Wormald, 2015). Thus, Christianity is the dominant religion in the governance of America.

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Reflection

A diverse religious country is one with a large representation of almost all religions. Hence, such nations have a dominant religion, and the people of other faiths are equally of high percentage. In the case of the USA, the state has a variety of religions, which include Jews, Christians, Islams as well as Hindus. However, the religion with the greatest number of believers in America is Christianity. The country has a population of about 326 million people, and the percentage of Christians is at 79.5% of this population while other religions are practiced in considerable proportions (Lamb, 2017). The deduction that America is religiously diverse has appeared from the fact that there are many Christian denominations in the country such as Quakers, Methodists, and Presbyterians just to mention a few. Nevertheless, these denominations of Christianity place the country at the number one position of the states with the largest number of Christians. Hence, the diversity in Christian denominations does not mean that America is religiously diverse.

The fact that the dominant religion is Christianity while other religions remain insignificant in numbers implies that they do not have a lot of power in the country. The Supreme Court has a total of 5 Catholics, and three Jews (Wormald, 2015). Since there are no Muslims, Sikhs or Buddhists are appointed to serve at the American Supreme Court. The 115th Congress does not have a representation of this religion as well. Moreover, America had mostly Christian Presidents apart from the two who had no formal religious affiliations. Hence, other religions do not have sufficient representation in the country. Additionally, the limited number of their followers in the state contributes to their inferiority. Thus, all other religions lack a voice in the nation, which makes them powerless against the dominant religion, in particular Christianity.

The most important thing I have learned from this assignment is the diverse nature of American society. The USA is one of the most populated countries in the world with an estimate of 300 million inhabitants. As of 2015, 58.9% of 212 million adults had a college education, 8.9% obtained bachelor's degrees, and 3% of them received Ph.D. (Ryan & Baumad, 2016). Despite some of these figures being low, they are still an indication of the education diversity in the state. Additionally, the USA hosts people of different races who live within its boundaries that facilitate the variety of races as well as languages spoken; according to the statistics, the total number of languages spoken in America is 1064 (Wormald, 2015). Different religions also promote its diversity, as the country has Christian believers, Muslims, Jews as well as Hindus. Thus, it is evident that America is truly a diverse nation.

In summary, this assignment helped me to appreciate the diversity of religions in the world. Now I can appreciate why there exists much interpretation of the Bible in numerous languages. I am well aware of the geographic distribution of various religions. For instance, it is usually assumed that the largest number of Muslim believers should live in the Muslim states, but according to the statistics, this is not true. Muslims are distributed around the globe in significant numbers, but the highest percentage of them reside on the continent of Asia. Therefore, the assignment was beneficial in making me better understand the issue of religious diversity not only in America but also in the whole world.

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