Religious Adherents, 2010 (World Christian Database)1
Religious Adherence, 2007 (other estimates)2
The country has an area of 55,436 square miles and a population of 6.5 million. More than 92 percent of the population is Sunni Muslim. Official government figures estimate that Christians make up 5 percent of the population; however, Christian leaders privately estimate the figure to be closer to 3 percent. According to representatives of the respective communities and newspaper reports, there are a small number of Shi'a Muslims, approximately 1,000 Baha'is, and approximately 14,000 Druze. There are an estimated 150,000 Christians, including about 12,000 evangelicals. There are no statistics available regarding the number of persons who are not adherents of any religious faith.
Officially recognized Christian denominations include the Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Greek Catholic (Melkite), Armenian Orthodox, Maronite Catholic, Assyrian, Coptic, Anglican, Lutheran, and Presbyterian churches. Unrecognized Christian denominations include Seventh-day Adventist, United Pentecostal, and Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons). Other Christian churches include the Baptist Church, Free Evangelical Church, Nazarene Church, the Assemblies of God, and Christian and Missionary Alliance. There are a number of Chaldean and Syriac Christians and Shi'a among the Iraqi refugee population.
There are an estimated 250,000 to 450,000 Iraqis in the country, many of whom are undocumented or on visitor permits. Of those registered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, 48 percent are Sunni Muslim, 28 percent Shi'a Muslim, and 15 percent Christian.
With few exceptions, there are no major geographic concentrations of religious minorities. The cities of Husn, in the north, and Fuheis, near Amman, are predominantly Christian. Madaba and Karak, both south of Amman, also have significant Christian populations. The northern part of the city of Azraq has a sizeable Druze community, as does Umm al-Jamal in the governorate of Mafraq. There also are Druze populations in Amman and Zarka and a smaller number in Irbid and Aqaba. There are a number of nonindigenous Shi'a living in the Jordan Valley and the south. The Druze are registered as "Muslims" and, as they have their own court in al-Azraq, can administer their own personal status matters.
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. Estimates based on the third wave of the World Values Survey (2005-2008) supplemented by the 2009 Pew report entitled "Mapping the Global Muslim Population," which was used to estimate the percentage of Pakistani Muslims who were Shi'a.
The World Values Survey compiles nationally representative public opinion data of adults (18 or older) from a variety of countries. The general methodology is a stratified random sample with each country containing a minimum of 1000 cases. Estimates represent the proportion of respondents to the third wave of the World Values Survey (2005-2008) who reported the specific religious tradition in the country of consideration.
The Pew report bases its estimates of the proportion of the Muslim population that is Shi'a on 1) "Analyses by more than 20 demographers and social scientists at universities and research centers around the world who are acting as consultants on this project"; 2) "Ethnographic analyses published in the World Religion Database (WRD)"; and 3) "review of other published or frequently used estimates."
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.