About 41 per cent of Hindus in the world have no formal education while 36 per cent Muslims have never gone to school, a study by Pew Research Centre has found. The study shows that Hindus are in fact the least educated among the major religious groups in the world.

The study notices that about 53 per cent of Hindu women have received no formal schooling, compared with 43 per cent of Muslim women. Muslim women around the globe have an average of 4.9 years of schooling, compared with 4.2 years of schooling on average by Hindu women.

The study, based on census data of 151 countries in the world, is the first comprehensive examination of differences in educational levels by religion. The full report can be accessed here:

Among adults aged 25 years and more, Jews have a global average of 13 years of formal schooling, compared with approximately nine years among Christians and eight years among Buddhists.


Religiously unaffiliated adults – those who describe their religion as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular” – have spent an average of nine years in school.

The study also finds that while 14 per cent of adults (25 years and older) have a university degree or some other kind of higher education,  about one-in-five adults (19%) worldwide, or more than 680 million people – have no formal schooling at all. Also, as of 2010, an estimated 432 million women (23% of all women) and 250 million men (14% of all men) lacked any formal education.

The study, however, finds that many of these disparities appear to be decreasing over time, as the religious groups with the lowest average levels of education – Muslims and Hindus – have made the biggest educational gains in recent generations, and the gender gaps within some religions have diminished, according to Pew Research Center’s analysis.

Over three recent generations, the share of Hindus with at least some formal schooling rose by 28 percentage points, from 43% among the oldest Hindus in the study to 71% among the youngest. Muslims, meanwhile, registered a 25-point increase, from 46% among the oldest Muslims to 72% among the youngest.