Malaysia
 National Profiles > Regions > South-Eastern Asia > Malaysia
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  Preferred Religion (2015)1: Sunni

  Majority Religion (2015)2: Sunni Muslim (56.1%)

Religious Adherents, (2015)2

Malaysia South-Eastern Asia World
Muslim (all denominations combined) 56.2% 36.6% 22.8%
 
  • Sunni Muslim
  • 56.1% 36.5% 19%
     
  • Other and Unknown Muslim
  • 0.1% 0.1% 0.3%
    Chinese Folk Religionist 14.9% 1.1% 4.3%
    Christian (all denominations combined) 9.3% 22% 29.9%
     
  • Catholic
  • 4.3% 15.7% 15%
     
  • Protestant
  • 2.9% 4% 5.6%
     
  • Anglican
  • 0.8% --- 1.2%
     
  • Pentecostal
  • 0.4% 1.8% 2.8%
     
  • Other and Unknown Christian
  • 0.8% 0.6% 2.3%
    Hindu 6.3% 1.2% 14.5%
    Buddhist (all denominations combined) 5.3% 20.6% 6.6%
     
  • Mahayana Buddhist
  • 2.8% 1.3% 4.3%
     
  • Theravada Buddhist
  • 0.3% 15.7% 1.6%
     
  • Other and Unknown Buddhist
  • 2.1% 3.6% 0.5%
    Taoist 3.4% 0.3% 0.2%
    Ethnoreligionist (incl. Animist, Shamanist) 3.4% 4.3% 2.5%
    Sikh 0.3% --- 0.4%
    Bahai 0.2% 0.2% 0.1%
    Neoreligionist 0.2% 0.2% 0.1%
    Other Religionist < 0.1% < 0.1% 0.2%
    Not Religious (incl. Atheist) 0.5% 3.9% 12%

    Religious Demography3

    The country has an area of 127,000 square miles and a population of 26.9 million. According to 2000 census figures, 60 percent of the population practices Islam; 19 percent Buddhism; 9 percent Christianity; 6 percent Hinduism; and 3 percent Confucianism, Taoism, and other traditional Chinese religions. Other minority religious groups include animists, Sikhs, and Baha'is. Ethnic Malay Muslims account for approximately 55 percent of the population. Three of the five most prominent political parties are organized along ethnic and religious lines. The majority of Christians reside in the eastern states of Sabah and Sarawak.


    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, 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.

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