Religious Adherents, 2010 (World Christian Database)1
The country has an area of 116,347 square miles and a population of 59.1 million. An estimated 87 percent of native-born citizens are nominally Catholic, but only 20 percent regularly participate in worship services. Other significant Christian communities include Orthodox, Jehovah's Witnesses, Assembly of God, the Confederation of Methodist and Waldensian Churches, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), and other small Protestant groups. Non-Catholic Christian groups, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Baha'is, and Buddhists constitute less than 5 percent of the population and, with the exception of Jews, are mainly foreign-born. Immigration, both legal and illegal, continues to add large numbers of non-Christian residents, mainly Muslims, from North Africa, South Asia, Albania, and the Middle East. The Ministry of Interior reports that there are 258 places of Islamic worship (mainly "garage" mosques) and 628 Islamic associations concentrated in Lombardy, Veneto, Lazio, Emilia Romagna, and Tuscany. The Jewish community is estimated at 30,000 and maintains synagogues in 21 cities. The most recent data indicate that approximately 14 percent of the population identifies itself as either atheist or agnostic. (Numbers do not add up to 100 percent because of overlapping categories.)
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.