Maldives
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  Preferred Religion (2015)1: Sunni

  Majority Religion (2015)2: Sunni Muslim (98.3%)

Religious Adherents, (2015)2

Maldives South-Central Asia World
Muslim (all denominations combined) 98.4% 36.2% 22.8%
 
  • Sunni Muslim
  • 98.3% 27.3% 19%
     
  • Shia Muslim
  • 0.1% 8.6% 3.4%
    Buddhist (all denominations combined) 0.7% 1.6% 6.6%
     
  • Theravada Buddhist
  • 0.7% 0.9% 1.6%
    Christian (all denominations combined) 0.4% 2.2% 29.9%
     
  • Catholic
  • 0.2% 0.7% 15%
     
  • Protestant
  • 0.2% 0.7% 5.6%
    Hindu 0.4% 56.1% 14.5%
    Other Religionist < 0.1% < 0.1% 0.2%
    Not Religious (incl. Atheist) 0.1% 1.1% 12%

    Religious Demography3

    The country has an area of 500 square miles distributed across 1,200 coral atolls and islands, with a population of 380,000.

    The population is a distinct ethnic group with historical roots in South Indian, Sinhalese, and Arab communities. The vast majority of the Muslim population practices Sunni Islam. Non-Muslim foreigners, including 675,000 tourists who visit annually (predominantly Europeans and Japanese) and 70,000 foreign workers (mainly Pakistanis, Sri Lankans, Indians, and Bangladeshis), in general are only allowed to practice their religious beliefs in private. Most Muslim tourists and Muslim foreign workers choose to practice Islam in private or at mosques located at the resorts where they work and live.


    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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