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  Preferred Religion (2015)1: Catholic

  Majority Religion (2015)2: Catholic (49.1%)

Features Of Constitution

Is there a constitution?3 Yes
Does the constitution provide for freedom of religion?3 Yes


Constitution Year4 1987
Last Amended4 2010
Source4 National Assembly of Nicaragua
Translation4 Unofficial translation by ARDA staff from Spanish source
Current as of4 May 11, 2011

Constitution Excerpts (clauses that reference religion)4


…In the name:
Of the Nicaraguan people; of all democratic, patriotic, and revolutionary parties and organizations in Nicaragua; of its men and women; of its workers and peasants; of its glorious youth; of its heroic mothers; of the Christians who, due to their faith in God, committed to and entered into the struggle for the liberation of the oppressed; of the patriotic intellectuals; and of all those whose contributed to the defense of the homeland with their productive effort.

Article 5.

… Nicaragua bases its international relations on friendship and solidarity among peoples and reciprocity between States. Therefore, it inhibits and prohibits all types of political, military, economic, cultural and religious aggression, and the intervention into the internal affairs of other States…

Article 14.

The State has no official religion.

Article 27.

All persons are equal before the law and are entitled to equal protection. There will be no discrimination on the basis of birth, nationality, political views, race, sex, language, religion, opinion, national origin, economic status or social condition.
Foreigners have the same duties and rights as Nicaraguans, with the exception of political rights and those established by law; they cannot intervene in the political affairs of the country.
The State respects and guarantees the rights recognized in the present Constitution to all people within its territory and subject to its jurisdiction.

Article 29.

Everyone has the right to freedom of conscience, thought and the profession or non-profession of a faith. No person may be subjected to coercion which would impair these rights or to be obligated to declare their creed, ideology or beliefs.

Article 49.

In Nicaragua, workers in the city and countryside, women, youth, farmers, artisans, professionals, technicians, intellectuals, artists, the religious, the communities of the Atlantic Coast and the population in general have the right to organize, without any discrimination, to realize their aspirations according to their own interests and to participate in building a new society.
These organizations will be formed by the participatory and elective volition of the citizenry, will have a social function and may or may not have a partisan character, according to its nature and purpose.

Article 69.

All people, individually or collectively, have the right to express their religious beliefs in public or in private, through worship, practice and teaching.
No one can avoid observing the law, or prevent others from exercising their rights and fulfilling their duties, by citing religious beliefs or dispositions.

Article 82.

Workers are entitled to working conditions that will ensure, in particular:
1. - Equal pay for equal work under identical conditions, commensurate to their social responsibility, without discrimination for political, religious, racial, gender or any other kinds of reasons, assuring wellbeing compatible with human dignity.

Article 124.

Education in Nicaragua is secular. The State recognizes the right of private schools devoted to teaching and which have a religious orientation to teach religion as an extracurricular subject.

Article 134.

The following people may not be candidates to be Representatives, Proprietors or Deputies [ARDA translator’s note: unsure about the translation of the last two offices; the original Spanish words are "Proprietarios" and "Suplentes"]:
a) Ministers and deputy ministers of the State, magistrates of the Judiciary, members of the Supreme Electoral Council, members of the Council of the Comptroller General’s Office, the Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General, the Attorney and De


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.  Data under the "Features of Constitution" heading are drawn from coding of the U.S. State Department's 2008 International Religious Freedom Reports conducted by researchers at the Association of Religion Data Archives. The article by Brian Grim and Roger Finke describes the coding of the International Religious Freedom reports. A dataset with these and the other international measures highlighted on the country pages can be downloaded from this website. Used with permission.

4.  The constitutional excerpts shown above are reproduced from the websites given in the "Source" field; the links to these websites were active as of May 2011. Where the constitutional text shown on these websites was provided in a language other than English, this text was translated to English by ARDA staff with assistance from web-based translation utilities such as Google Translate and Yahoo! Babel Fish. Constitutional text was converted to American English where applicable. Constitutional clauses were judged to contain religious content based largely on the standards used in the construction of the Religion and State Constitutions Dataset collected by Jonathan Fox. Emphases were added to the text by ARDA staff to highlight religious content in articles that also contain content that does not pertain to matters of religion. The data on this page were correct to the best of the knowledge of the ARDA as of the date listed in the "Current as of" field shown above. Please contact us at if you are aware of any incorrect information provided on this page.

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