Korea, (South) Republic of
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  Preferred Religion (2015)1: Mahayana Buddhist

  Majority Religion (2015)2: Mahayana Buddhist (22.1%)

Religious Adherents, (2015)2

Korea, (South) Republic of Eastern Asia World
Christian (all denominations combined) 34.7% 7.8% 29.9%
 
  • Catholic
  • 15.3% 1.3% 15%
     
  • Protestant
  • 14.4% 2.3% 5.6%
     
  • Pentecostal
  • 2.4% 0.6% 2.8%
     
  • Anglican
  • 0.2% --- 1.2%
     
  • Other and Unknown Christian
  • 2.5% 3.6% 2.3%
    Buddhist (all denominations combined) 22.4% 19.3% 6.6%
     
  • Mahayana Buddhist
  • 22.1% 18.4% 4.3%
     
  • Other and Unknown Buddhist
  • 0.4% 0.2% 0.5%
    Muslim (all denominations combined) 0.2% 1.5% 22.8%
     
  • Sunni Muslim
  • 0.2% 1.5% 19%
    Buddhist Syncretic 0.1% 0.2% ---
    Confucianist 0.1% 0.1% ---
    Other Religionist 0.3% < 0.1% 0.2%
    Not Religious (incl. Atheist) 1.8% 35.6% 12%
    Unknown 40.4% 9.7% 4.8%

    Religious Demography3

    The country has an area of 38,023 square miles and a population of 49 million. According to 2005 census data, the percentages of adherents to the predominant religious communities are: Buddhist, 22.8 percent; Protestant, 18.3 percent; and Roman Catholic, 10.9 percent.

    No official figures were available on the membership of other religious groups, which include Jehovah's Witnesses, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), Seventh-day Adventist Church, Daesun Jinrihoe, Unification Church, and Islam.

    According to Gallup Korea's 2004 survey on the state of religion in the country, 36 percent of those who practiced a faith reported that they attended religious services or rituals at a church or temple more than once a week, 10.6 percent attended two to three times per month, 20.6 percent attended once or twice a year, and 4.9 percent did not attend services. Of those who attended more than once a week, Protestants had the highest attendance rate at 71 percent, Catholics 42.9 percent, and Buddhists 3.5 percent.


    Sources

    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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