National Profiles > Regions > South-Central Asia > Uzbekistan
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  Preferred Religion (2015)1: Sunni

  Majority Religion (2015)2: Sunni Muslim (94.3%)

Religious Adherents, (2015)2

Uzbekistan South-Central Asia World
Muslim (all denominations combined) 95.2% 36.2% 22.8%
  • Sunni Muslim
  • 94.3% 27.3% 19%
  • Shia Muslim
  • 1% 8.6% 3.4%
    Christian (all denominations combined) 1.3% 2.2% 29.9%
  • Orthodox
  • 0.7% 0.3% 3%
  • Protestant
  • 0.2% 0.7% 5.6%
  • Pentecostal
  • 0.1% 0.3% 2.8%
  • Other and Unknown Christian
  • 0.3% 0.3% 2.3%
    Ethnoreligionist (incl. Animist, Shamanist) 0.2% 0.4% 2.5%
    Buddhist (all denominations combined) 0.2% 1.6% 6.6%
  • Mahayana Buddhist
  • 0.1% --- 4.3%
  • Other and Unknown Buddhist
  • < 0.1% 0.6% 0.5%
    Other Religionist < 0.1% < 0.1% 0.2%
    Not Religious (incl. Atheist) 3.1% 1.1% 12%

    Religious Demography3

    The country has an area of 172,742 square miles and a population of 28.2 million. International experts believe the population has lost 2 to 3 million in recent years due to the growing trend of labor migration to neighboring countries, particularly Russia and Kazakhstan. Approximately 80 percent of the population is ethnic Uzbek, 5.5 percent Russian, 5 percent Tajik, 3 percent Kazakh, 2.5 percent Karakalpak, and 1.5 percent Tatar.

    No official statistics exist on membership in religious groups; however, an estimated 90 percent of the population is nominally Sunni Muslim, of the Hanafi school. Shi'a Muslims, who are concentrated in the provinces of Bukhara and Samarkand, constitute an estimated 1 percent of the population. Approximately 5 percent is Russian Orthodox, a percentage that declines as ethnic Russians and other Slavs continue to emigrate. The remaining 3 percent includes small communities of Roman Catholics, Korean Christians, Baptists, Lutherans, Seventh-day Adventists, evangelical and Pentecostal Christians, Jehovah's Witnesses, Buddhists, Baha'is, and Hare Krishnas, as well as atheists. In addition, an estimated 15,000 to 20,000 Ashkenazi and Bukharan Jews remain, concentrated in the cities of Tashkent, Bukhara, and Samarkand. At least 80,000 Jews emigrated to Israel and the United States over the past two decades, mainly for economic reasons.

    As of May 15, 2008, the Government had registered 2,228 religious congregations and organizations--an increase of 1 from the 2,227 recorded in May 2007. Mosques, Muslim educational institutions, and Islamic centers accounted for 2,048 of the total, an increase of 2. Among the Muslim groups were several Shi'a congregations. The number of registered Christian groups decreased by one. The 180 registered minority religious groups included 58 Korean Christian, 36 Russian Orthodox, 23 Baptist, 21 Pentecostal ("Full Gospel"), 10 Seventh-day Adventist, 8 Jewish, 5 Roman Catholic, 6 Baha'i, 3 Lutheran, 4 "New Apostolic," 2 Armenian Apostolic, 1 Jehovah's Witnesses, 1 Krishna Consciousness group, 1 Temple of Buddha, and 1 Christian "Voice of God" Church. In addition, there were a number of unregistered religious groups.

    A growing percentage of Muslims and Russian Orthodox adherents actively practice their religion. Outside of Tashkent, practicing Muslims outnumber non-practicing Muslims. During the period covered by this report, mosque attendance continued to increase, particularly among younger men, who constitute the majority of worshipers.


    1.  The Religious Characteristics of States Dataset Project: Government Religious Preference (GRP) measures government-level favoritism toward, and disfavor against, 30 religious denominations. A series of ordered categorical variables index the state's institutional favoritism in 28 different ways. The variables are combined to form five composite indices for five broad components of state-religion: official status, religious education, financial support, regulatory burdens, and freedom of practice. The five components' composites in turn are further combined into a single composite score, the GRP score. The RCS Data Project would like to acknowledge, recognize, and express our deepest gratitude for the significant contributions of Todd M. Johnson the principal investigator of the World Christian Database and the co-principal investigator of the World Religion Database.

    2.  The Religious Characteristics of States Dataset Project: Demographics reports the estimates of religious demographics, both country by country and region by region. The RCS was created to fulfill the unmet need for a dataset on the religious dimensions of countries of the world, with the state-year as the unit of observation. It estimates populations and percentages of adherents of 100 religious denominations including second level subdivision within Christianity and Islam. The RCS Data Project would like to acknowledge, recognize, and express our deepest gratitude for the significant contributions of Todd M. Johnson the principal investigator of the World Christian Database and the co-principal investigator of the World Religion Database.

    3.  The U.S. State Department's International Religious Freedom Report is submitted to Congress annually by the Department of State in compliance with Section 102(b) of the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA) of 1998. This report supplements the most recent Human Rights Reports by providing additional detailed information with respect to matters involving international religious freedom. It includes individual country chapters on the status of religious freedom worldwide. A dataset with these and the other international measures highlighted on the country pages can be downloaded from this website. These State Department reports are open source.

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