Belgium
 National Profiles > Regions > Western Europe > Belgium
Search National Profiles:

  Preferred Religion (2015)1: Catholic

  Majority Religion (2015)2: Catholic (64.6%)

Religious Adherents, (2015)2

Belgium Western Europe World
Christian (all denominations combined) 67.3% 62.9% 29.9%
 
  • Catholic
  • 64.6% 43.3% 15%
     
  • Protestant
  • 1.2% 16.3% 5.6%
     
  • Orthodox
  • 0.6% 1.4% 3%
     
  • Pentecostal
  • 0.2% 0.5% 2.8%
     
  • Other and Unknown Christian
  • 0.8% 1.4% 2.3%
    Muslim (all denominations combined) 5.8% 6.1% 22.8%
     
  • Sunni Muslim
  • 5.8% 5.7% 19%
     
  • Other and Unknown Muslim
  • < 0.1% < 0.1% 0.3%
    Jewish 0.3% 0.4% 0.2%
    Sikh 0.1% --- 0.4%
    Buddhist (all denominations combined) 0.2% 0.6% 6.6%
     
  • Mahayana Buddhist
  • 0.2% --- 4.3%
     
  • Other and Unknown Buddhist
  • < 0.1% --- 0.5%
    Other Religionist 0.3% 0.4% 0.2%
    Not Religious (incl. Atheist) 25.8% 27.4% 12%
    Unknown 0.2% 2% 4.8%

    Religious Demography3

    The country has an area of 11,780 square miles and a population of 10.5 million.

    The Government does not keep statistics listing religious affiliation, but the population is predominantly Roman Catholic. According to a 2007 report of the King Baudouin Foundation (KBF), 4.8 million inhabitants identify themselves as Catholic. Earlier statistics indicated that the number of nonbelievers is 924,000, and the number of those who identify themselves as belonging to the nonreligious philosophical community is 892,500.

    The KBF Report gives the number of adherents belonging to smaller religious groups as follows: Islam, 400,000; Protestantism, 132,000; Orthodox, 70,000; Judaism, 50,000; Anglicanism 10,800, and organized secular humanism, 110,000. The larger nonrecognized religious groups include Jehovah's Witnesses with 23,701 baptized and 50,000 "churchgoers;" independent Protestant congregations, 10,000; Buddhists, 10,000; members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), 4,000; Seventh-day Adventists, 2,000; Hindus, 5,000; Sikhs, 3,000; Hare Krishnas, 1,500; and the Church of Scientology, 200-300.

    A 2008 Catholic University of Leuven report estimated that 7 percent of the Catholic population regularly attends religious services. Fifty-seven percent of the children born in the country are baptized, 26.7 percent of couples opt for a religious marriage, and 61 percent of funerals include religious services.


    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.

    Bookmark and Share