Religion in World > > Buddhism

Buddhist Population in World 2023

Buddhism is an Indian religion, Originating in ancient India as a movement professing śramaṇa between the 6th and 4th centuries BCE. It is the world’s fourth-largest religion and as of 2020, it has 506 million adherents or 6.6% of the global population. Historically, until the early 2nd millennium, Buddhism was widely practiced in the Indian subcontinent; it also had a foothold to some extent in other places such as Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, and the Philippines.

China is the country with the largest population of Buddhists, approximately 244 million or 18% of its total population. Over 98% of all Buddhists live in the Asia-Pacific and South Asia regions North America had about 3.9 million Buddhists, Europe 1.3 million, while South America, Africa, and the Middle East had an estimated combined total of about 1 million Buddhists in 2010.

Source: Pew Research Center

Top Countries by Buddisht Population

Buddhism is the dominant religion in Bhutan, Myanmar, Cambodia, Hong Kong,  Japan, Tibet, Laos, Macau, Mongolia, Singapore,  Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Large Buddhist populations live in Mainland China, Taiwan, North Korea, Nepal, and South Korea. In Russia, Buddhists form a majority in Tuva (52%) and Kalmykia (53%). Buryatia (20%) and Zabaykalsky Krai (15%) also have significant Buddhist populations.

China is the country with the Largest Buddhist population in the world. It has an estimated 255 million people who adhere to Buddhism. With a 66 million Buddhist population, Thailand is in second place followed by Myanmar (41 million). Japan with a 41 million Buddhist population is in 4th place followed by Cambodia (16 million) in the fifth spot.

Let’s have a look at Countries in the world by the Buddhist population

RankCountryBuddhists Population 2020% of Total Country Population
1China254,700,00018.3%
2Thailand66,120,00092.6%
3Burma (Myanmar)41,440,00079.8%
4Japan41,380,00033.2%
5Cambodia15,690,00096.8%
6Vietnam15,560,00016.2%
7Sri Lanka15,440,00068.6%
8South Korea10,950,00021.9%
9India10,140,0000.7%
10Malaysia5,220,00015.6%
11Taiwan4,930,00021.2%
12Laos4,630,00064.0%
13United States4,170,0001.2%
14Nepal3,540,00010.0%
15Singapore1,890,00032.2%
16Indonesia1,800,0000.7%
17Mongolia1,730,00054.2%
18Bangladesh1,040,0000.6%
19Hong Kong1,000,00013.4%
20Australia720,0002.9%
21Bhutan620,00074.7%
22United Kingdom380,0000.6%
23North Korea380,0001.5%
24Canada370,0001.0%
25France310,0000.5%
26Brazil250,0000.1%
27Germany230,0000.3%
28United Arab Emirates210,0002.5%
29Kuwait180,0005.4%
30Russia170,0000.1%
31Italy150,0000.2%
32Saudi Arabia130,0000.4%
33Philippines100,0000.1%
34Macau100,00017.5%
35Qatar90,0003.9%
36South Africa90,0000.2%
37New Zealand90,0001.9%
38Kazakhstan60,0000.3%
39Sweden60,0000.6%
40Netherlands50,0000.3%
41Bahrain50,0003.4%
42Switzerland50,0000.6%
43Peru50,0000.2%
44Turkey40,0000.0%
45Belgium40,0000.4%
46Brunei40,0008.9%
47Norway40,0000.8%
48Jordan30,0000.4%
49Pakistan20,0000.0%
50Nigeria20,0000.0%
51Libya20,0000.3%
52Oman20,0000.6%
53Israel20,0000.2%
54Spain20,0000.0%
55Ukraine20,0000.0%
56Austria20,0000.2%
57Argentina20,0000.0%
58Denmark20,0000.4%
59Portugal20,0000.2%
60Czech Republic20,0000.2%
61Uzbekistan10,0000.0%
62Guinea10,0000.1%
63Ivory Coast10,0000.0%
64Ireland10,0000.2%
65Chile10,0000.1%
66Honduras10,0000.1%
67Mexico10,0000.0%
68Puerto Rico10,0000.3%

Source: Pew Research Center

Buddishm by affiliations

Broadly Buddhism has three branches, i.e Theravāda, Mahāyāna, and  Vajrayāna. The Theravāda branch has a widespread following in Sri Lanka as well as in Southeast Asia (namely Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia). The Mahāyāna branch is predominantly practiced in Nepal, Bhutan, China, Malaysia, Vietnam, Taiwan, Korea, and Japan. Vajrayāna which is considered part of Mahāyāna is practiced mainly in Tibet, Mongolia, and Russian Kalmykia.

As per the Estimates, Mahayana has 360 million adherents; Theravada has 150 million adherents, and Vajrayana has 18 million adherents.

read about Buddhism  in India

Buddhist Population in World 2024 | Top Countries by Buddhist population