Religious Adherents, 2010 (World Christian Database)1
The country has an area of 439,735 square miles and a population of 41.2 million. The Government does not keep statistics on religious affiliation, and estimates from religious leaders varied. According to the Colombian Evangelical Council (CEDECOL), approximately 15 percent of the population is Protestant, while the Catholic Bishops' Conference estimates that 90 percent of the population is Catholic. A 2007 article in the daily newspaper, El Tiempo, claims that 80 percent of the population is Catholic, although not all are practicing; 13.5 percent belong to non-Catholic forms of Christianity, 2 percent are agnostic, and the remaining 4.5 percent belong to other religious groups, such as Islam and Judaism. The Seventh-day Adventist Church and the Methodist Church have 261,000 and 1,500 members respectively. The Anglican Church and the Presbyterian Church have approximately 50,000 members each. Other Protestant and Evangelical Churches have an estimated 5 million followers. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) claims approximately 150,000 members. Other religious groups with a significant number of adherents include Judaism, estimated at 5,000 members; Islam, with an estimated 10,000 followers; animism; and various syncretic belief practitioners.
Adherents of some religious groups are concentrated in specific geographical regions. For example, the vast majority of practitioners of syncretic beliefs that blend Catholicism with elements of African animism are Afro-Colombian residents of the western department of Choco. Jews are found in major cities, Muslims on the Caribbean coast, and adherents of indigenous animistic religions in remote, rural areas. A small Taoist commune exists in a mountainous region of Santander Department.
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.