Peru
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  Preferred Religion (2015)1: Catholic

  Majority Religion (2015)2: Catholic (77%)

Religious Adherents, (2015)2

Peru South America World
Christian (all denominations combined) 92.5% 89.1% 29.9%
 
  • Catholic
  • 77% 66.2% 15%
     
  • Protestant
  • 7.5% 7% 5.6%
     
  • Pentecostal
  • 2.8% 10.5% 2.8%
     
  • Other and Unknown Christian
  • 5.2% 5.1% 2.3%
    Ethnoreligionist (incl. Animist, Shamanist) 1.4% 0.5% 2.5%
    Buddhist (all denominations combined) 0.6% 0.1% 6.6%
     
  • Other and Unknown Buddhist
  • 0.6% --- 0.5%
    Bahai 0.1% 0.2% 0.1%
    Other Religionist 0.2% 0.2% 0.2%
    Not Religious (incl. Atheist) 1.4% 6.4% 12%
    Unknown 3.8% 0.3% 4.8%

    Religious Demography3

    The country has an area of 496,225 square miles and a population of 28.2 million according to the 2007 census. Among the major religious groups are Roman Catholics, various Protestant denominations (including Baptist, Anglican, and Assembly of God), Seventh-day Adventists, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), Jehovah's Witnesses, Jews, Baha'is, Hare Krishnas, and Muslims. There also are indigenous communities practicing various forms of pre-Columbian and syncretistic (blending Christian and pre-Columbian) beliefs, as well as a local religious group, the Israelites of the New Universal Pact, which is unrelated to Israel or Judaism.

    The results of the 2007 National Census had not been published by the end of the reporting period, but a question regarding religious affiliation sparked controversy, and the President publicly recommended that it be left blank. The 2006 National Continuous Census conducted by the National Statistics Institute (INEI) finds that 85 percent of the population is Catholic and 11 percent Protestant; the remaining 4 percent includes Adventists, Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, and Israelites of the New Universal Pact. The Episcopal Commission for Social Action (CEAS), a Catholic nongovernmental organization (NGO), estimates that 5 percent of Catholics regularly attend Mass.

    In the last 20 years, according to some estimates, Protestant (mostly evangelical) representation in the population grew from approximately 2 percent to 15 percent. The National Evangelical Council (CONEP) estimates that evangelicals represent at least 15 percent of the population. Historically, they resided in smaller communities outside of Lima and in rural areas; in the last 15 years their presence in urban areas increased significantly. There are small Jewish populations in Lima and Cuzco, and small Muslim communities in Lima (mostly of Palestinian origin) and Tacna (mostly of Pakistani origin). The founder of the Israelites of the New Universal Pact organized the group in 1960 in Junín Department, but since his death in 2000 the membership has sharply declined; most adherents are concentrated in and near Lima. Some Catholics combine indigenous worship with Catholic traditions, especially in the Andean highlands. Some indigenous people in the remote eastern jungles also practice traditional faiths.


    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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