Religious Adherents, 2010 (World Christian Database)1
The country has an area of 157,047 square miles and a population of 6.8 million. According to the 2002 national census, 89.6 percent of the population is Roman Catholic, and 6.2 percent is evangelical Protestant. Groups that constitute less than 5 percent of the population include Jehovah's Witnesses, Jews (Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform), Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), Mennonites, Muslims, and Baha'is. A 2006 survey indicates similar results; however, 84.7 percent of respondents consider themselves Catholic, a decrease from 2002.
Native-born citizens tend to be Catholic, while immigrants generally belong to other religious groups. The eastern department of Alto Parana has a large Muslim community due to substantial immigration from the Middle East, particularly Lebanon. A large Mennonite community flourishes in the western department of Boquerón. Members of other religious groups are concentrated in the largest cities, including Asunción, Ciudad del Este, and Encarnación. Non-Catholic immigrant groups tend to have a higher per capita income than the primarily Catholic, native-born citizens. Membership in religious groups is high.
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.