Religious Adherents, 2010 (World Christian Database)1
The country has an area of 27,136 square miles and a population of 4.3 million. The country is predominantly Roman Catholic. According to official government statistics based on the 2006 census, the religious affiliation of the population is 86.8 percent Catholic (3,681,446), 2.9 percent Church of Ireland (125,585), 0.76 percent Muslim (32,539), 0.68 percent unspecified Christian (29,206), 0.55 percent Presbyterian (23,546), 0.49 percent Orthodox (20,798), 0.28 percent Methodist (12,160), less than 0.1 percent Jewish (1,930), and 6 percent unaffiliated (25,640).
An estimated 67,000 immigrants arrived in the country during the period covered by this report; almost half of these immigrants came from other European Union states. Muslim and Orthodox Christian communities in particular continue to grow, especially in Dublin. The 2006 census reports a 69.9 percent increase in the Muslim population and a 99.3 percent increase in the Orthodox Christian population since the 2002 census. Immigrants and noncitizens encounter few difficulties in practicing their religious beliefs.
According to 2005 figures released by the Catholic Communications Office (CCO), approximately 60 percent of Catholics (including those in Northern Ireland) attend Mass once a week and 5 percent attend Mass once a day. The CCO reported a noticeable increase in attendance during Easter and Christmas holidays. In part because many priests are close to retirement, the Irish Catholic press predicts that the percentage of Catholics attending Mass regularly will decline in coming years. A similar survey conducted in 2005 by the Evangelical Alliance Ireland estimates that up to 30,000 evangelicals (comprising Baptists, members of Assemblies of God, Pentecostals, and charismatics) attend services each week.
Note: The World Christian Database (WCD) estimates, used in the Religious Adherents section above, count each person as belonging to a maximum of one religious group. For more information, see the WCD methodology document. The U.S. State Department's International Religious Freedom report estimates, used in the Religious Demography section, use less restrictive criteria in which a person who identifies with more than one religion is classified as a follower of each. In certain cases (such as Japan and other nations with strong folk religion traditions), this can cause counts to vary widely between estimates. Users are advised to consult the relevant source documents before determining which counts to cite.
1. The World Christian Database (WCD) is based on the 2600-page award-winning World Christian Encyclopedia and World Christian Trends, first published in 1982 and revised in 2001. This extensive work on World religion is now completely updated and integrated into the WCD online database. Designed for both the casual user and research scholar, information is readily available on religious activities, growth rates, religious literature, worker activity, and demographic statistics. Additional secular data is incorporated on population, health, education, and communications. A dataset with these and the other international measures highlighted on the country pages can be downloaded from this website. Used with permission.
2. 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.