Papua New Guinea
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  Preferred Religion (2015)1: Western Christian

  Majority Religion (2015)2: Protestant (incl. Anglican, Pentecostal) (41.4%)

Religious Adherents, (2015)2

Papua New Guinea Melanesia World
Christian (all denominations combined) 68.7% 71.1% 29.9%
 
  • Protestant
  • 30.5% 32.1% 5.6%
     
  • Catholic
  • 25.4% 23.9% 15%
     
  • Pentecostal
  • 8.1% 7.6% 2.8%
     
  • Anglican
  • 2.7% 4.6% 1.2%
     
  • Other and Unknown Christian
  • 1.9% 2.9% 2.3%
    Ethnoreligionist (incl. Animist, Shamanist) 3.4% 2.8% 2.5%
    Bahai 0.7% 0.6% 0.1%
    Buddhist (all denominations combined) 0.2% 0.2% 6.6%
    Other Religionist 0.2% 0.1% 0.2%
    Not Religious (incl. Atheist) 5% 4.4% 12%
    Unknown 21.9% 17.7% 4.8%

    Religious Demography3

    The country is an island nation with an area of 280,773 square miles and a population of 6.7 million. According to the 2000 census, 96 percent of citizens identify themselves as members of a Christian church. Churches with the most members are Roman Catholic, 30 percent; Evangelical Lutheran, 20 percent; United Church, 11.5 percent; Seventh-day Adventist, 10 percent; Pentecostal, 8.6 percent; Evangelical Alliance, 5.2 percent; Anglican, 3.2 percent; Baptist, 2.5 percent; and the Salvation Army, 0.2 percent. Other Christian groups, including the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) and the Jehovah's Witnesses, constitute 8 percent. There are approximately 15,000 Baha'is and 2,000 Muslims. Many citizens integrate Christian faith with some indigenous beliefs and practices.

    Western missionaries introduced Christianity to the country in the 19th century. Colonial governments initially assigned different missions to different geographic regions. Since territory in the country is aligned strongly with language group and ethnicity, this colonial policy led to the identification of certain churches with certain ethnic groups. However, churches of all denominations are now found throughout the country. The Muslim community has a mosque in the capital of Port Moresby with the capacity for 1,500 worshipers. There are seven Islamic centers. There are concentrations of Muslims in Port Moresby, Baimuru, Chimbu, Daru, Marshall Lagoon, the Musa Valley, and on the islands of New Britain and New Ireland.

    Nontraditional Christian and non-Christian religious groups are active throughout the country. According to the Papua New Guinea Council of Churches, both Muslim and Confucian missionaries have become active. Pentecostal and charismatic Christian groups have found converts within the congregations of the more established churches.

    Missionaries of many traditions operate freely. The Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL) partnered with the Department of Education and local communities in linguistic research, literacy, Bible translation, Scripture use, and training. The Department of Education relies on SIL to produce translations of the Bible for government-sponsored religious instruction in schools. As of June 2008, SIL had translated the New Testament into 166 of the country's indigenous languages.


    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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