Religious Adherents, 2010 (World Christian Database)1
Religious Adherence, 2007 (other estimates)2
The country has an area of 328,100 square miles and a population of 20 million.
Virtually all citizens are Muslims, predominantly belonging to either the Zaydi order of Shi'a Islam or to the Shafa'i order of Sunni Islam. While there are no available statistics, estimates are that the Zaydis make up 45 percent and the Shafa'is make up 55 percent of the population. There are a few thousand Ismaili Muslims who reside mainly in the north. There are reportedly 150 Baha'is.
Jews are the only indigenous non-Muslim religious minority. Nearly all of the once-sizable Jewish population has emigrated. Fewer than 400 Jews remain in the northern part of the country, primarily in Amran Governorate. Since January 2007 the historic Saada Governorate community of 45 Jews has lived in Sana'a, under the protection and care of the Government, after abandoning their homes in the face of threats from al-Houthi rebels. The community has abandoned its synagogues in Saada. There is at least one functioning synagogue in Amran Governorate.
There are an estimated 3,000 Christians throughout the country, most of whom are refugees or temporary foreign residents. There are four churches in Aden, three Roman Catholic and one Anglican. There are approximately 40 Hindus living in Aden who trace their origins to India. Aden also has one Hindu temple.
Among religious minorities, approximately 1,000 Christians and most Jews actively participated in some form of formal religious service or ritual, although not always in a public place of worship.
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. Estimates for the country were taken from the United States Department of
State's Report on
International Religious Freedom. "The 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." The report profiles issues of religious adherence and freedom for each nation in the world. The information for each country was derived from a combination of "government and religious officials, nongovernmental organizations, journalists, human rights monitors, religious groups, and academics." Section I of each specific country report contains information on the religious demography of that nation. It is important to note that the estimates are of the proportion of national citizens (excluding resident non-nationals) who identify with specific religious traditions.
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.