Sri Lanka
 National Profiles > > Regions > South-Central Asia > Sri Lanka
Search National Profiles:

Religious Adherents, 2010 (World Christian Database)1

Sri Lanka South-Central Asia World
Baha'i <0.1% 0.1% 0.1%
Buddhist 68.9% 1.6% 7.2%
Chinese Universalist <0.1% <0.1% 6.3%
Christian 8.8% 4.0% 32.8%
Confucianist 0.0% 0.0% 0.1%
Ethnoreligionist <0.1% 2.9% 3.5%
Hindu 13.0% 52.9% 13.8%
Jain 0.0% 0.3% <0.1%
Jewish <0.1% <0.1% 0.2%
Muslim 8.5% 35.8% 22.5%
Shintoist <0.1% <0.1% <0.1%
Sikh <0.1% 1.3% 0.3%
Spiritist 0.0% 0.0% 0.2%
Taoist 0.0% 0.0% 0.1%
Zoroastrian <0.1% <0.1% <0.1%
Neoreligionists <0.1% <0.1% 0.9%
Atheist <0.1% 0.1% 2.0%
Agnostic 0.5% 1.0% 9.8%

Religious Demography2

The country has an area of 25,322 square miles and a population of 20.1 million.

Approximately 70 percent of the population is Buddhist, 15 percent Hindu, 8 percent Christian, and 7 percent Muslim. Christians tend to be concentrated in the west, with much of the east populated by Muslims and the north almost exclusively by Hindus.

Most members of the majority Sinhala community are Theravada Buddhists. Most Tamils, who make up the largest ethnic minority, are Hindu. Almost all Muslims are Sunnis; there is also a small minority of Shi'a, including members of the Bohra community. Almost 80 percent of Christians are Roman Catholics, with Anglican and other mainstream Protestant churches also present in cities. Seventh-day Adventists, Jehovah's Witnesses, Methodists, Baptists, Dutch Reformed, Anglicans, Pentecostals, and Assemblies of God are also present. Evangelical Christian groups have grown in recent years, although membership is still small.

Sources

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.