Hinduism is a minority religion in the United States. The vast majority of American Hindus are immigrants from South Asia (mainly India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh, some from Bhutan, Maldives, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Myanmar), Indonesia (mainly Bali and Java), the Caribbean (mainly Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Suriname, and Jamaica), Oceania (mainly Fiji, Australia, and New Zealand), Africa (mainly Southern Africa and Eastern African), and Mauritius and other countries and their descendants. Additionally, the United States has a number of converts to Hinduism. There are also about 900 ethnic Cham people of Vietnam, living in America, 55% of whom are Hindus. They are one of the few remaining non-Indic Hindus in the World.
While there were isolated sojourns by Hindus in the United States during the 19th century, Hindu presence in the United States was extremely limited until the passage of the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965.
Currently, Hindu-Americans hold the highest education levels among all religious communities in the United States. This is mostly due to strong US immigration policies that favor educated and highly skilled migrants. Many concepts of Hinduism, such as karma, reincarnation and yoga, have entered into mainstream American vernacular. According to Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life survey of 2009, 24% of Americans believe in reincarnation, a core concept of Hinduism.
|2,300,000 (2017) |
0.7% of the U.S. population
Pew Research Center
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|Related ethnic groups|
|Sikhism in the United States, Buddhism in the United States|
The United States Department of State's Religious Freedom Report 2004 found some 1.5 million adherents of Hinduism, corresponding to 0.50% of the total population. The Hindu population of USA is the world's eighth-largest; 10% of Asian Americans who together account for 5.8% of US population, are followers of the Hindu faith.
Although Hinduism is practiced mainly by immigrants from India and Nepal, a sizeable amount of Hindus in United States were converts to Hinduism. According to the Pew research estimates, 9% of the Hindus in United States belong to a non-Asian ethnicity - 4% of the Hindus in United States were White, 2% were Black, 1% Latino and 2% Mixed. Converts to Hinduism include Hollywood actress Julia Roberts, actor Russell Brand etc
American Hindus have the highest rates of educational attainment and highest rate of household income among all religious communities, and the lowest divorce rates. 48% of American Hindus hold a post-graduate degree. According to a study by the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion and Public Life in 2012, 48% of American Hindus have a household income of $100,000 or more, and 70% make at least $75,000.
According to the 2008 Pew Research, Of all the America adults who said they were raised as Hindus, 80 percent continued to adhere to Hinduism which is the highest retention rate for any religion in America.
Hindus also have relatively high acceptance towards homosexuality. 71% of the Hindus in United States believe that homosexuality should be accepted, which is higher than the general public which is 62%. About 68% of the Hindus supported same-sex marriage, while that of general public is only 53%. Hindus in United States also showed high support for abortion. About 68% of the Hindus supported abortion. About 69% of the Hindus supported strict laws and regulation for the protection of environment and nature.
According to the pew research statistics in 2014, 88% of the American Hindu population believes in god. However, only 26% believes that religion is very important in their life. About 51% of the Hindu population prays daily.
Though 88% of Hindus believes in god, that is low compared to the 99% of Evangelical protestants, 96% of Catholics, 99% of Jehovah's Witnesses, etc.
Anandibai Joshi is believed to be the first Hindu woman to set foot on American soil, arriving in New York in June 1883 at the age of 19. She graduated with an MD from the Women's Medical College of Pennsylvania on 11 March 1886, becoming the first female of South Asian origin to graduate with a degree in Western medicine from the United States. Joshi returned to India in late 1886 but died within months of her return.
One of the first major discussions of Hinduism in the United States was Swami Vivekananda's address to the World's Parliament of Religions in Chicago in 1893. He spent two years in the United States, and lectured in several cities including Detroit, Boston, and New York. In 1902 Swami Rama Tirtha visited the US for about two years lecturing on the philosophy of Vedanta. In 1920 Paramahansa Yogananda was India's delegate at the International Congress of Religious Liberals held in Boston.
Prior to 1965, Hindu immigration to the United States was minuscule and isolated, with fewer than fifty thousand Indians immigrating before 1965. It is worth noting that although most of these immigrants were Punjabi Sikhs, they were incorrectly and derogatorily referred to as "Hindoo" by many Americans, as well as in some official immigration documents. The Bellingham Riots in Bellingham, Washington on September 5, 1907 epitomized the low tolerance in the USA for Indians and Hindus. In the 1923 case United States v. Bhagat Singh Thind, the Supreme Court ruled that Thind and other South Asians were not "free white persons" according to a 1790 federal law that stated that only white immigrants could apply for naturalized citizenship. The Immigration Act of 1924 prohibited the immigration of Asians such as Middle Easterners and Indians. This further prevented Hindus from immigrating to the United States. Despite such events, some people, including professionals, stayed and worked until the Immigration and Nationality Services (INS) Act of 1965 was passed. This opened the doors to Hindu immigrants who wished to work and start families in the United States. It included Hindu preachers as well, who spread awareness of the religion among the people who had little or no contact with it.
Also during the 1960s, Hindu teachers found resonance in the US counter-culture, leading to the formation of a number of Neo-Hindu movements such as the International Society for Krishna Consciousness founded by Swami Prabhupada. People involved in the counter-culture such as Ram Dass, George Harrison, and Allen Ginsberg were influential in the spread of Hinduism in the United States. Ram Dass was a Harvard professor known as Richard Alpert and after being fired from Harvard was receiving a lot of media coverage. He traveled to India and studied under Neem Karoli Baba and came back to the west as a Hindu teacher and changed his name to Ram Dass which means servant of Rama (one of the Hindu gods). A student of Ram Dass, Jeffery Kagel, devoted his life to Hinduism in the sixties and is now making many CDs chanting the sacred mantras or spiritual verses. He has been very successful and is considered the rock star of yoga. George Harrison was a member of The Beatles which in its peak of popularity was receiving more media coverage than any other band in the world. He became a devotee of Swami Prabhupada who is the founder of ISKCON (mentioned above). George Harrison started to record songs with the words "Hari Krishna" in the lyrics and was widely responsible for popularizing Hinduism in America with the younger generation of the time. Allen Ginsberg, the author of Howl, became a figure in the sixties that was also heavily involved with Hinduism and it was said that he chanted "Om" at The Human Be-in of 1967 for hours on end. Other influential Indians of a Hindu faith are Chinmoy and Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.
A joint session of the United States Congress was opened with a prayer in Sanskrit (with some Hindi and English added), read by Venkatachalapathi Samudrala, in September 2000, to honour the visit of Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. The historic gesture was an initiative by Ohio Congressman Sherrod Brown who requested the US Congress House Chaplain to invite the Hindu priest from the Shiva Vishnu Hindu Temple in Parma, Ohio. Another Hindu prayer was read in the United States Senate on July 12, 2007, by Rajan Zed, a Hindu chaplain from Nevada. His prayer was interrupted by a couple and their daughter who claimed to be "Christian patriots", which prompted a criticism of candidates in the upcoming presidential election for not criticizing the remarks. In October 2009, President Barack Obama lit a ceremonial Diwali lamp at the White House to symbolise victory of light over darkness.
92,323 exiled Bhutanese refugees have been resettled in USA since 2008 (As per the date of Feb, 2017) and many more Bhutanese refugee are resettling in United State of America continuously. Hinduism is the major religion of Bhutanese refugees who resettle in USA.
The Vedanta Society was responsible for building some early temples in United States starting in 1906, but they were not formal temples. Earliest traditional Mandir in the United States is Shiva Murugan Temple, Concord, CA (1957) known as Palanisamy Temple, it is one of the few temples that is run by public by elected members. The Maha Vallabha Ganapathi Devastanam owned by the Hindu Temple Society of North America in Flushing, New York City was consecrated on July 4, 1977. This temple recently underwent significant expansion and renovation.
Today there are over 450 Hindu Temples across the United States, spread across the country, with a majority of them situated on the east coast centred around the New York region which alone has over 135 temples the next largest number being in Texas with 28 Temples and Massachusetts with 27 temples.
Other prominent temples include the Malibu Hindu Temple, built in 1981 and located in Calabasas, is owned and operated by the Hindu Temple Society of Southern California. The temple is near Malibu, California. Apart from these, Swaminarayan temples exist in several cities across the country with a sizable following.
The oldest Hindu Temple in Texas is the Shree Raseshwari Radha Rani temple at Radha Madhav Dham, Austin. The temple, established by Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj is one of the largest Hindu Temple complexes in the Western Hemisphere, and the largest in North America.
In Tampa, South Florida, Sri Vishnu Temple is established before about 160 years
Parashakthi Temple in Pontiac, Michigan is a tirtha peetham in the west for Goddess "Shakthi" referred to as the "Great Divine Mother" in Hinduism. The Temple was envisioned by Dr. G Krishna Kumar in a deep meditative kundalini experience of "Adi Shakthi" in 1994.
The Indian American Cultural Center opened on March 9, 2002, in Merrillville, Northwest Indiana. It was in 2010 on June 18 that the temple was finalized and opened, The Bharatiya Temple of Northwest Indiana. This temple is adjacent to the Cultural Center. In the native way of Hinduism, one would never see different sectarian groups worship in one temple. The Bharatiya Temple is unique in its own way by allowing different sectarian groups to worship together. The Bharatiya Temple has four different Hindu groups as well as a Jain group.
There are many Hindu temples in the United States, and too many to be listed.
In 2012, Tulsi Gabbard became the first-ever Hindu to be elected to the US Congress. She is a Hawaiian of Samoan descent, the daughter of a Roman Catholic and a Caucasian Hindu convert. Later, in 2016 two more Hindus were elected to Congress-Raja Krishnamoorthi and Ro Khanna (Rohit Khanna). American Hindus are now the third largest Religious Group in Congress with 3 members. Among the lawmakers who declined to state their religious affiliations include Indian-American Pramila Jayapal who has been elected for the first time to the House of Representatives. Her mother is a Hindu. Washington DC-based Hindu American Foundation (HAF), however, believes that Pramila Jayapal is a Hindu.
In 2011, the first Hindu Military Chaplain program was launched. Army Captain Pratima Dharm become the first Hindu Chaplain in the American Military.
According to the 2000 census, there were more than 400 Hindus in the United States Virgin Islands (0.4% of the population).
As of 2006, there were 3,482 Hindus in Puerto Rico making up 0.09% of the population, according to Religious Intelligence.
In 2019, Swaminarayan Temple in Kentucky was vandalised by miscreants. They sprayed black paint on the deity and also sprayed 'Jesus is the only God’ on the walls. The Christian cross was also spray painted on various walls.  In April 2015, a Hindu temple in north Texas was vandalised with nasty images spray-painted on its walls. In February 2015, Hindu temples in Kent and the Seattle Metropolitan area were also vandalised.
The first Hindu opening prayer offered in the U.S. Congress was by Venkatachalapathi Samuldrala, a priest of Shiva Hindu Temple in Parma, Ohio. This prompted criticism from the Family Research Council (FRC), a conservative Christian group, who protested against it in conservative media, in turn generating responses from their opponents and leading to serious discussions over the role of legislative chaplains in a pluralist society.
A controversy in the US state of California concerning the portrayal of Hinduism in history textbooks began in 2005. The Texas-based Vedic Foundation and the American Hindu Education Foundation complained to California's Curriculum Commission, arguing that the coverage in sixth grade history textbooks of Indian history and Hinduism was biased against Hinduism. Points of contention included a textbook's portrayal of the caste system, the Indo-Aryan migration theory, and the status of women in Indian society.
Hindu Temple and Cultural Center of the Rockies in Denver, Colorado (Hindu Temple, Denver) is the major Hindu Temple in the Colorado and nearby region. The Hindu Society of Colorado was incorporated in 1984. During 1996-2015 the temple was located in a former church building in Littleton. The formally designed temple opened on July 3, 2015 with Prana Pratishtha on June 5–7, 2015. The temple now has 1,500 families as members. The temple is non-regional and non-sectarian.Hindu Temple of Central Indiana
Hindu Temple of Central Indiana (HTCI) is a hindu temple located in Indianapolis. The temple is currently located at 3350 N. German Church Rd in the middle of several cornfields.Hindu Temple of Dayton
The Hindu Temple of Dayton, is a Hindu temple located in Beavercreek, Ohio. It serves the Hindu community of the Greater Dayton Area. Currently, there are shrines to the deities Venkateshwara, Rama along with Sita, Lakshmana and Hanuman, Ganesha, and Radha Krishna.Hindu Temple of Minnesota
Hindu Temple of Minnesota is a Hindu Temple located in Maple Grove serving the over 40,000 hindus in the Minneapolis Metropolitan Area. It has a floor space of over 43,000 square feet, making it one of the largest Hindu temples in the United States. It has the capacity to accommodate up to 5,000 people at one time.Hindu Temple of St. Louis
The Hindu Temple of St. Louis is located in Ballwin, Missouri and serves over 14,000 Hindus residing in the St. Louis Area. The temple is located at 725 Weidman Rd, St. Louis, MO, 63011. The temple has Six priests who are well versed & competent in performing various Hindu Rituals. They are namely, Sreenivas Deevi, Rameshwar Das, Vedantam Sharma, Rajaswamy, Anilkumar Amaravadi and Bharadhwaj MuralidharanHindu studies
Hindu studies is the study of the traditions and practices of the Indian subcontinent, especially Hinduism. Beginning with British philology in the colonial period, Hindu studies has been practiced largely by Westerners, due in part to the lack of a distinct department for religion in Indian academia. Since the 1990s this has caused some dissent from Hindus, raising questions in academia about the role of Hindu studies in creating postcolonial images of India.Hinduism Today
Hinduism Today is a quarterly magazine published by the Himalayan Academy, a nonprofit educational institution, in Kapaʻa, Hawaiʻi, USA. It is distributed throughout the United States and internationally, currently in 60 nations. Founded by Sivaya Subramuniyaswami in 1979, it is a public service of his monastic order to promote an understanding of the Hindu faith, culture, and traditions.Hinduism in the West Indies
Hinduism is the leading single religion of the Indo-Caribbean communities of the West Indies. Hindus are particularly well represented in Guyana, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago, where they constituted 25 percent of the total population, as of 1995. Smaller groups of Indo-Caribbeans live elsewhere in the Caribbean, especially Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Barbados, St Lucia, Cayman Islands and Bahamas.International Society for Krishna Consciousness
The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), known colloquially as the Hare Krishna movement or Hare Krishnas, is a Gaudiya Vaishnava Hindu religious organisation. ISKCON was founded in 1966 in New York City by A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada the Guru and spiritual master of the organization. Its core beliefs are based on the Hindu scriptures, particularly the Bhagavad Gita and the Srimad Bhagavatam, and the Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition, which has had adherents in India since the late 15th century and American and European devotees since the early 1900s in North America. In West Virginia, the Prabhupada's Palace of Gold is now a shrine for the founder, who died in 1977.The movement has been the subject of controversies. It is labelled a sect by many anti-cult organizations, and some adepts have been accused and condemned of sexual abuse, including towards minors. The New York Times reported similar stories in 1990. ISKCON also faced multiple accusations of child abuse, that its leaders acknowledged. In 1977, the New York State Supreme Court ruled that it is a "bonafide religion".The organization was formed to spread the practice of Bhakti yoga, in which those involved (bhaktas) dedicate their thoughts and actions towards pleasing Krishna, their Supreme Lord. Its most rapid expansions in membership as of 2007 have been within India and especially after the collapse of the Soviet Union, in Russia, Ukraine, and the rest of the ex-Soviet aligned states of Eastern Europe and Central Asia.Jagadguru Kripaluji Yog
Jagadguru Kripaluji Yog (JKYog) is a spiritual and charitable non-profit organization in United States. It was founded by Swami Mukundananda (in 2009), a senior disciple of Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj. JKYog works for physical, mental, spiritual wellness through a holistic system of Yog that includes Bhakti yoga, meditation, and spirituality. The organization also supports health care for the underprivileged and education for rural youth.Karya Siddhi Hanuman Temple
Karya Siddhi Hanuman Temple is a Hindu temple in Frisco, Texas. Its one of the biggest temple in the area. Construction on the temple started around 2007 for Hindus in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and completed in 2009. The main deity of the temple is Hanuman. The temple opened on July 23, 2009, and a week later, on August 1, it hosted the longest continuous chanting marathon with over 24 hours of recitation of Hanuman Chalisa. The temple is open all days of the week.List of Hindu temples in the United States
This is a list of 849 Hindu temples in the United States.Not a Feather, but a Dot
Not a Feather, but a Dot is an hour-long documentary film on the history, perceptions, stereotypes and changes in the Indian American community. The film discusses topics such as the growth of Hinduism in the United States, the origin of the stereotypes surrounding the Indian-American community, the early Indian migrants and events that have shaped the Indian-American community, and members of the Indian-American community that are changing "traditional" perceptions. It is narrated by filmmaker Teju Prasad who infuses his personal experience, historical analysis from academics, and experiences of other Indian Americans breaking "traditional ground." The film has been screened in New York, Washington DC, New Brunswick, NJ, Durham, NC, and San Francisco, as well as the 2012 Jersey City Film Festival.Radha Krishna Temple, Dallas
Radha Krishna Temple (RKT) of Dallas is a Hindu temple located in Allen, Texas. It was established by JKYog, under the leadership of Swami Mukundananda.
The opening ceremonies and consecration (Pratiṣṭhavidhi) were held over eight days, 4–11 July 2017. The ceremony was attended by the mayors of Allen and Frisco, other dignitaries, and thousands of people from the nearby community. Life-sized statues of Radha and Krishna were unveiled on 9 July 2017.The temple was built according to guidelines for temple architecture set out in the Shilpa Shastra.
Radha Krishna Temple celebrates all the major Hindu festivals such as Diwali, Holi, and Radhastami.Radha Madhav Dham
Radha Madhav Dham, originally called Barsana Dham is the main U.S. center of Jagadguru Kripalu Parishat, a non-profit, charitable, educational and spiritual organisation located on more than 200 acres of land in Hays County, south of Austin, Texas. It is a Hindu temple and ashram complex, the oldest Hindu Temple in Texas the largest in North America and one of the largest Hindu Temple complexes in the Western Hemisphere.Radha Madhav Dham is a nonprofit, religious, educational, and charitable organization that follows the path of raganuga bhakti. The temple is involved in numerous charitable educational projects including JKP Education, which won the Nelson Mandela Peace Award instituted by the Economic Growth Society of India in April 2014.The temple was founded by Prakashanand Saraswati. Saraswati was convicted in 2011 of 20 counts of criminal sexual contact with a minor and sentenced to 280 years of prison. As of 2015 all images and mentions of Saraswati have been removed from the temple, which has said that its leadership has been changed and that it has no knowledge of Saraswati's whereabouts.Rajan Zed prayer protest
The Rajan Zed prayer protest were events surrounding the first official offering of a Hindu prayer at the United States Senate.
On July 12, 2007, Rajan Zed, a Hindu cleric and a noted leader in Interfaith Relations from the Indian Association of Northern Nevada based in Reno, appeared at the United States Senate as its guest Chaplain.Saiva Siddhanta Church
Saiva Siddhanta is an organization that identifies itself with the Saivite Hindu religion. It supports the work of the late Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami, a spiritual teacher with the honorary title Gurudeva. The mission of the temple is to preserve and promote the Saivite Hindu religion. Membership in the temple extends to many countries of the world, including the US, Canada, Mauritius, Malaysia, Singapore, India, Sri Lanka and several European nations. Members are organized into regional temple missions with the goal of supporting Shaivism in their families, communities, and in the global community under the leadership of Satguru Bodhinatha Veylanswami.Satsvarupa dasa Goswami
Satsvarupa das Goswami (IAST Satsvarūpa dāsa Gosvāmī, Devanagari: सत्स्वरूप दास गोस्वामी) (born Stephen Guarino on December 6, 1939) is a senior disciple of Bhaktivedanta Swami, who founded the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), better known in the West as the Hare Krishna movement. Serving as a writer, poet, and artist, Satsvarupa dasa Goswami is the author of Bhaktivedanta Swami's authorized biography,Srila Prabhupada-lilamrta. After Bhaktivedanta Swami's death, Satsvarupa dasa Goswami was one of the eleven disciples selected to become an initiating guru in ISKCON.
Satsvarupa dasa Goswami, (Sanskrit: [sɐtˈsʋɐɽuːpɐ daːsɐ ɡoːˈsʋaːmiː]), is one of the first few Westerners ordained by Bhaktivedanta Swami in September 1966. He has been since established as a prolific Vaishnava writer and poet. While traveling, lecturing on Krishna consciousness, and instructing disciples worldwide, he published over hundred books including poems, memoirs, essays, novels, and studies based on the Vaishnava scriptures. In his later years he created hundreds of paintings, drawings, and sculptures that attempt to capture and express his perspective on the culture of Krishna consciousness.Venkatachalapathi Samuldrala prayer controversy
This controversy centers on the first Hindu opening prayer offered in the U.S. Congress by Venkatachalapathi Samuldrala, a priest of Shiva Hindu Temple in Parma, Ohio. This prompted criticism from the Family Research Council (FRC), a conservative Christian group, who protested against it in conservative media, in turn generating responses from their opponents and leading to serious discussions over the role of legislative chaplains in a pluralist society.Hindu priests have on occasion given opening prayers in Congress since then. A 2007 Senate opening prayer led by Rajan Zed of Reno, Nevada, was criticized in advance by the American Family Association, and protesters interrupted the prayer from the Senate gallery. In 2013 Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii became the first Hindu member of Congress.