- Religious Freedom
- Religious Regulation
- Religious Support
- Public Opinion
Preferred Religion (2015)1: Catholic
Majority Religion (2015)2: Catholic (70.4%)
Religious Adherents, (2015)2
|Christian (all denominations combined)||90.2%||89.1%||29.9%|
|Muslim (all denominations combined)||2.2%||0.3%||22.8%|
|Ethnoreligionist (incl. Animist, Shamanist)||0.2%||0.5%||2.5%|
|Not Religious (incl. Atheist)||6.3%||6.4%||12%|
The country has an area of 1,068,302 square miles and a population of 37 million, according to the 2001 census. A 2008 estimate of the population is 40.7 million. Accurate estimates of religious affiliation are difficult to obtain due to legal prohibitions on including religion in the census; however, data from polling conducted by the National Institute against Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Racism (INADI) from December 2006 to March 2008 produced the following estimates: Roman Catholics, 76 percent of the population; agnostics or atheists, 12 percent; evangelical Protestants, 6 percent; Jews, 1 percent; Jehovah's Witnesses, 1 percent; other Protestants and Muslims, less than 1 percent; other religious groups (including Seventh-day Adventists, Buddhists, and some African and indigenous religions), 1.5 percent; and no declared religious affiliation, 1.2 percent. The INADI-sponsored polls indicate the following strength of religious affiliation: very observant/practicing, 7 percent; somewhat observant, 16 percent; a little observant, 23 percent; non-practicing/believer, 54 percent. Accuracy of estimates are impacted by outdated census data, questionable presumptions and, according to INADI, inaccuracy caused by African and indigenous religious followers experiencing societal pressure to declare themselves Roman Catholic in polls.
The Islamic Center estimates that one out of three Middle Eastern immigrants is Muslim. Syrian and Lebanese descendents, approximately half of whom are Orthodox Catholic or Maronite, constitute a significant portion of the Middle Eastern population. The Muslim community is comprised of 500,000 to 600,000 members, of whom 70 percent are Sunni and 30 percent Shiite, according to estimates by the Sunni-dominated Islamic Center.
Leaders of diverse religious groups noted the recent growth of evangelical Protestant communities due to conversion, principally in newer evangelical churches. Religious leaders also noted the impact of global secularization on religious demography.
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, the co-principal investigator of the World Religion Database, and co-author of the World Christian Encyclopedia series.
2. The Religious Characteristics of States Dataset Project: Demographics reports annual estimates of religious demographics, both country by country and region by region. It estimates populations and percentages of adherents of 100 religious denominations including second level subdivisions 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, the co-principal investigator of the World Religion Database, and co-author of the World Christian Encyclopedia series.
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.