Religious Adherents, 2010 (World Christian Database)1
The country has an area of 194,897 square miles and a population of 45,200,000.
The law prohibits the collection of census data based on religious belief, which limits the ability to compile statistical data on the number of adherents of religious groups. The Center for Sociological Investigation (CIS), an independent government agency, periodically collects survey data on religious trends. A February 2008 CIS survey reported that 75.6 percent of respondents considered themselves Catholic; however, 53.1 percent of those persons stated that they almost never attend Mass. Religious groups that constitute less than 10 percent of the population include all Protestant and evangelical denominations, Islam, Judaism, Jehovah's Witnesses, Buddhism, Hinduism, Eastern Orthodox, Baha'ism, Christian Scientists, Adventists, and Mormons.
The Episcopal Conference of Spain estimates there are 35 million Catholics in the country. The Federation of Evangelical Religious Entities (FEREDE) estimates there are 1.2 million evangelical Christians and other Protestants, 800,000 of whom are immigrants or live in the country at least 6 months of the year. A December 2007 study by Observatorio Andalusí, an institute associated with the Union of Islamic Communities in Spain (UCIDE), estimates that there are 1.15 million Muslims. The Federation of Jewish Communities estimates that there are 48,000 Jews.
The Observatorio Andalusí calculated that although there are converts to Islam, more than two-thirds of Muslims are immigrants without Spanish nationality. Most are recent immigrants from Morocco, but there are also Algerians, Pakistanis, and immigrants from other Arab or Islamic countries. As of the end of 2007, the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs reported that Moroccans are the largest legal immigrant population, numbering over 600,000. The largest concentrations of Muslims are in the regions of Catalonia, Madrid, Valencia, Andalucia, and the Spanish North African enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla.
The Ministry of Justice's (MOJ) Office of Religious Affairs noted that a small number of Christians emigrated from countries such as Egypt and Lebanon. The country also has received a large influx of immigrants from Latin America, many of them Catholics. Most Orthodox Christians are from Eastern European countries such as Romania, Bulgaria, and Ukraine. Evangelical Protestant immigrants typically come from African and Latin American countries, according to government officials.
As of April 29, 2008, the MOJ's Register of Religious Entities includes 12,418 entities affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church. There are 2,057 non-Catholic entities and 3,583 non-Catholic places of worship registered. These included 1,337 Protestant or evangelical church entities and 2,413 Protestant or evangelical places of worship; 13 Orthodox entities and 25 Orthodox places of worship; 2 Jehovah's Witnesses entities and 773 places of worship; 1 Mormon entity with 120 places of worship; 1 Unification Church; 20 entities of Judaism with 22 places of worship; 563 Islamic entities with 160 places of worship; 11 entities of the Baha'i Faith with 12 places of worship; 5 entities of Hinduism; 32 entities of Buddhism with 32 places of worship; and 4 Christian Scientist entities.
The number of non-Catholic churches and religious communities may be much larger than indicated in the above list. Some religious groups choose to register as cultural organizations with regional governments rather than with the National Registry of Religious Entities in Madrid because the national registration process requires more paperwork and can take up to 6 months.
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.