Source: Pew Research Center
Buddhists across Asia are preparing to celebrate the birthday of Prince Siddhartha Gautama, who later became known as Gautama Buddha and was the founder of Buddhism. The Buddha is believed to have been born roughly 2,500 years ago in what is today Nepal. In Asia, where most Buddhists live, different countries celebrate the occasion on different days, including April 8 in Japan, May 12 in South Korea and May 18 in India and Nepal. The holiday goes by several names, including Buddha Purnima, Vesak, Buddha Jayanti and Ikh Duichen, and is often marked by national holidays, festivals and events at Buddhist temples.
Here are five facts about Buddhists:
1Buddhists made up roughly 7% of the world’s population in 2015, but they are expected to decrease to roughly 5% by 2060. This is because Buddhists have relatively low fertility rates compared with other religious groups, and they are not expected to grow significantly due to conversions or religious switching.
2Half the world’s Buddhists live in China, according to 2010 Pew Research Center estimates. Still, they make up only 18% of the country’s population. Most of the rest of the world’s Buddhists live in East and South Asia, including 13% in Thailand (where 93% of the population is Buddhist) and 9% in Japan (35% Buddhist). Only about 1.4% of the world’s Buddhists live in countries outside of Asia.