Burkina Faso
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Religious Adherents, 2010 (World Christian Database)1

Burkina Faso Western Africa World
Baha'i <0.1% <0.1% 0.1%
Buddhist 0.0% <0.1% 7.2%
Chinese Universalist 0.0% <0.1% 6.3%
Christian 22.4% 36.5% 32.8%
Confucianist 0.0% 0.0% 0.1%
Ethnoreligionist 23.4% 12.1% 3.5%
Hindu 0.0% <0.1% 13.8%
Jain 0.0% 0.0% <0.1%
Jewish 0.0% <0.1% 0.2%
Muslim 53.7% 51.0% 22.5%
Shintoist 0.0% 0.0% <0.1%
Sikh 0.0% <0.1% 0.3%
Spiritist 0.0% 0.0% 0.2%
Taoist 0.0% 0.0% 0.1%
Zoroastrian 0.0% 0.0% <0.1%
Neoreligionists <0.1% <0.1% 0.9%
Atheist <0.1% <0.1% 2.0%
Agnostic 0.5% 0.3% 9.8%

Religious Demography2

The country has an area of 105,689 square miles and a population of 14.3 million. The Government estimated in the 1996 census that approximately 60 percent of the population practices Islam, and that the majority of this group is Sunni. The Government also estimated that 24 percent of the population maintains exclusively traditional indigenous beliefs, 17 percent are Roman Catholic, and 3 percent are members of various Protestant denominations.

Statistics on religious affiliation are approximate because the majority of citizens practice traditional indigenous religious beliefs to varying degrees, and strict adherence to Christian and Muslim beliefs is often nominal.

Muslims reside largely in the northern, eastern, and western border regions, while Christians live in the center of the country. Persons practice traditional indigenous religious beliefs throughout the country, especially in rural communities. Ouagadougou, the capital, has a mixed Muslim and Christian population. Bobo-Dioulasso, the second largest city, is mostly Muslim. Small Syrian and Lebanese immigrant communities reside in the two largest cities and are more than 90 percent Christian.

There are more than 60 different ethnic groups. Most are religiously heterogeneous, although the Fulani and Dioula communities are overwhelmingly Muslim.


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.

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