And the Survey Says...

If you're Buddhist in the United States, you're most likely a white convert who lives in the American West.

That's one of the findings of a the U.S. Religious Landscape Survey, released Monday (Feb. 25), by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life reports what many of the Jodo Shinshu community in Canada are already experiencing. It says that Buddhists are among the faiths with the lowest retention rates of childhood members and that many Buddhists have married someone of a different religion.

A study also concludes that of more than 35,000 adult Americans that were interviewed, .07 percent consider themselves followers of Buddhism.

Hindus Thrive as Buddhists Struggle to Pass on the Faith
by Andrea Useem, Religion News Service

For Buddhists, the data show "convert Buddhist communities face a significant challenge in engaging their children and keeping them in the tradition," said Thomas Tweed, a professor of religious studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Many Buddhist converts "didn't really attempt to bring their children into Buddhism," added Robert Seager, a religious studies professor at Hamilton College in Clinton, N.Y. "They said, `I don't want to lay my trip on my kids."

There is good news, 44 percent of Americans say they're no longer tied to the religious or secular upbringing of their childhood. They've changed religions or denominations, adopted a faith for the first time or abandoned any affiliation altogether which could lead to more people looking into Buddhism as a choice for religious beliefs.

Luis Lugo, director of the Pew Forum predicts that as world religions such as Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism will continue to grow in the USA through immigration and conversion, workplaces, schools and eventually the courts will face increasing challenges over religious accommodation.