Buddhist and Hindu groups have grown steadily in United States of America (USA) since changes in immigration laws in 1965 and 1992, with particularly high concentrations in Texas, California, the New York Metropolitan Area, Illinois and Georgia; according to a Baylor University (Waco, Texas, USA) release quoting its professor who helped compile the recently released U.S. Religion Census.
Professor J. Gordon Melton, who was in charge of assembling the data on both groups, was quoted as saying: “Both Buddhists and Hindus, though still relatively small compared to the large Christian groups, have grown to the point that they are beginning to exert significant influence on the key issues that most affect their lives”.
Both Hindus and Buddhists have temples in most states, and “the groups now regularly voice their opinions on U.S. relations with predominantly Hindu and Buddhist countries,” Melton said in this release. “…Hindus and Buddhists are found in every part of the country, but they are concentrated in the big cities and still have not begun to appear in the smaller cities and rural areas.”
Meanwhile, welcoming the growing influence of Hindu community, Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA) today, urged Hindus to participate in interfaith dialogue, assist the different communities in their neighborhoods, build trust and help create harmony in the society.
Rajan Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, further said that it was important to pass on Hindu spirituality, concepts and traditions to coming generations of Hindus amidst so many distractions in the consumerist society and hoped that the Hindu community in USA would focus in this direction.
Baylor University is a private Christian university and a nationally ranked research institution. Kenneth Winston Starr is the President while Neal T. “Buddy” Jones is Chair of its Board of Regents.