Panama
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  Preferred Religion (2015)1: Catholic

  Majority Religion (2015)2: Catholic (59.4%)

Religious Adherents, (2015)2

Panama Central America World
Christian (all denominations combined) 86.5% 91.7% 29.9%
 
  • Catholic
  • 59.4% 70.9% 15%
     
  • Protestant
  • 12.3% 7.1% 5.6%
     
  • Pentecostal
  • 10.5% 10.8% 2.8%
     
  • Anglican
  • 0.5% --- 1.2%
     
  • Other and Unknown Christian
  • 3.8% 3% 2.3%
    Ethnoreligionist (incl. Animist, Shamanist) 1.3% 1% 2.5%
    Bahai 1.2% 0.1% 0.1%
    Buddhist (all denominations combined) 0.8% --- 6.6%
    Muslim (all denominations combined) 0.7% --- 22.8%
     
  • Sunni Muslim
  • 0.6% --- 19%
     
  • Other and Unknown Muslim
  • 0.1% --- 0.3%
    Neoreligionist 0.6% --- 0.1%
    Christian Syncretic 0.5% 0.1% ---
    Jewish 0.2% --- 0.2%
    Chinese Folk Religionist 0.1% --- 4.3%
    Other Religionist 0.1% 0.3% 0.2%
    Not Religious (incl. Atheist) 7.9% 6.5% 12%

    Religious Demography3

    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.


    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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