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Religious Adherents, 2010 (World Christian Database)1

Panama Central America World
Baha'i 1.2% 0.1% 0.1%
Buddhist 0.8% <0.1% 7.2%
Chinese Universalist 0.1% <0.1% 6.3%
Christian 90.5% 95.9% 32.8%
Confucianist 0.0% 0.0% 0.1%
Ethnoreligionist 1.1% 1.0% 3.5%
Hindu <0.1% <0.1% 13.8%
Jain 0.0% 0.0% <0.1%
Jewish 0.1% <0.1% 0.2%
Muslim 0.7% <0.1% 22.5%
Shintoist 0.0% 0.0% <0.1%
Sikh <0.1% <0.1% 0.3%
Spiritist 0.5% 0.1% 0.2%
Taoist 0.0% 0.0% 0.1%
Zoroastrian 0.0% 0.0% <0.1%
Neoreligionists 0.6% <0.1% 0.9%
Atheist 0.6% 0.2% 2.0%
Agnostic 3.8% 2.4% 9.8%

Religious Demography2

The country has an area of 30,193 square miles and a population of 3.2 million. The Government does not collect statistics on religious affiliation, but various sources estimate that 75 to 85 percent of the population identifies itself as Roman Catholic and 15 to 25 percent as evangelical Christian. Smaller religious groups include the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) with an estimated 42,000 members, Seventh-day Adventists, Jehovah's Witnesses, Episcopalians with between 7,000 and 10,000 members, Jewish and Muslim communities with approximately 10,000 members each, Hindus, Buddhists, Rastafarians, and other Christians. Local Baha'is maintain one of the world's seven Baha'i Houses of Worship. Indigenous religions include Ibeorgun (among Kuna) and Mamatata (among Ngobe).

Catholics are found throughout the country and at all levels of society. Evangelical Christians also are dispersed geographically and are becoming more prominent in society. The mainstream Protestant denominations, which include Southern Baptist Convention and other Baptist congregations, United Methodist, Methodist Church of the Caribbean and the Americas, and Lutheran, derive their membership from the Antillean black and the expatriate communities, both of which are concentrated in Panama and Colón Provinces. The Jewish community is centered largely in Panama City. Muslims live primarily in Panama City and Colón, with a smaller but growing presence in David and other provincial cities. The vast majority of Muslims are of Lebanese, Palestinian, or Indian descent.


Note: The World Christian Database (WCD) estimates, used in the Religious Adherents section above, count each person as belonging to a maximum of one religious group. For more information, see the WCD methodology document. The U.S. State Department's International Religious Freedom report estimates, used in the Religious Demography section, use less restrictive criteria in which a person who identifies with more than one religion is classified as a follower of each. In certain cases (such as Japan and other nations with strong folk religion traditions), this can cause counts to vary widely between estimates. Users are advised to consult the relevant source documents before determining which counts to cite.

1.  The World Christian Database (WCD) is based on the 2600-page award-winning World Christian Encyclopedia and World Christian Trends, first published in 1982 and revised in 2001. This extensive work on World religion is now completely updated and integrated into the WCD online database. Designed for both the casual user and research scholar, information is readily available on religious activities, growth rates, religious literature, worker activity, and demographic statistics. Additional secular data is incorporated on population, health, education, and communications. A dataset with these and the other international measures highlighted on the country pages can be downloaded from this website. Used with permission.

2.  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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