- Religious Freedom
- Religious Regulation
- Religious Support
Preferred Religion (2015)1: Tibetan Buddhist
Majority Religion (2015)2: Vajrayana Buddhist (54.3%)
Religious Adherents, (2015)2
|Buddhist (all denominations combined)||54.3%||19.3%||6.6%|
|Muslim (all denominations combined)||2.9%||1.5%||22.8%|
|Christian (all denominations combined)||2.6%||7.8%||29.9%|
|Ethnoreligionist (incl. Animist, Shamanist)||2.5%||3.7%||2.5%|
|Chinese Folk Religionist||0.5%||18.7%||4.3%|
|Other Religionist||< 0.1%||< 0.1%||0.2%|
|Not Religious (incl. Atheist)||18.6%||35.6%||12%|
The country has an area of 604,247 square miles and a population of 2.9 million. Buddhism and the country's cultural traditions are closely linked. When government controls on religion and on traditional practices ended in 1990, there was an increase in Buddhist activity. Local scholars claim that more than 90 percent of all citizens ascribe to some form of Buddhism, although practice varies widely. Lamaist Buddhism of the Tibetan variety is the traditional and dominant religion.
Ethnic Kazakhs, most of whom are Muslim, are the largest ethnic minority, constituting approximately 6 percent of the population nationwide and 80 percent in the western province of Bayan-Olgiy. Muslims operate approximately 40 mosques in Bayan-Olgiy and 4 Islamic centers in Ulaanbaatar, serving nearly 3,000 students combined. The mosques and Islamic centers receive financial assistance from religious organizations in Kazakhstan, Turkey, and the Gulf States.
There is a small but growing number of Christians. Church officials estimate that more than 4 percent of the population practice Christianity, of which an estimated 90 percent are Protestant and 9 percent are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon). Roman Catholics and members of the Russian Orthodox Church together account for the remaining 1 percent. Some citizens practice shamanism, often in tandem with another religion, but there are no reliable statistics on their number.
Throughout the country, there were 432 registered places of worship, 217 of which were Buddhist, 161 were Christian, 44 were Muslim, and 5 each were Baha'i and shamanistic. During the period covered by this report, the Ministry registered 18 churches, 20 mosques, and 3 shaman temples. Evangelical Christians estimated that there were 250 unregistered evangelical churches throughout the country.
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.