Costa Rica
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  Preferred Religion (2015)1: Catholic

  Majority Religion (2015)2: Catholic (60.1%)

Features Of Constitution

Is there a constitution?3 Yes
Does the constitution provide for freedom of religion?3 Yes


Constitution Year4 1949
Last Amended4 2003
Source4 International Constitutional Law (ICL)
Translation4 Source is an English translation
Current as of4 May 11, 2011

Constitution Excerpts (clauses that reference religion)4


We, the Representatives of the people of Costa Rica, freely elected members to the National Constitutional Assembly, invoking the name of God and reaffirming our faith in democracy, decree and enact the following Constitution of the Republic of Costa Rica.

Article 28

(1) No one may be disturbed or persecuted for the expression of his opinions or for any act which does not infringe the law.
(2) Private actions which do not harm the morals or public order, or which do not cause any damages to third parties are outside the scope of the law.
(3) However, clergymen or secular individuals cannot make political propaganda in any way invoking religious motives or making use of religious beliefs.

Article 74

The rights and benefits to which this Chapter refers may not be waived. Their enumeration does not exclude others that may be derived from the Christian principle of social justice or established by law. They are equally applicable to all the concurrent factors in the process of production and regulated by social and labor legislation, striving for a permanent policy of national solidarity.

Article 75

The Roman Catholic and Apostolic Religion is the religion of the State, which contributes to its maintenance, without preventing the free exercise in the Republic of other forms of worship that are not opposed to universal morality or good customs.

Article 131

To be President or Vice President of the Republic, it is required to be:
1) A Costa Rican by birth and a citizen in the exercise of his or her rights;
2) A layman or a laywoman;
3) Over thirty years old.

Article 142

In order to be a Minister, it is required to:
1) Be a citizen in the exercise of his or her rights;
2) Be a Costa Rican by birth, or else by naturalization with ten years' residence in the country after naturalization;
3) Be a layman or a laywoman;
4) Be at least twenty-five years old.

Article 159

(1) The following is required to be a Justice:
1) To be a Costa Rican by birth, or by naturalization, with residence in the country for no less than ten years after obtaining the appropriate naturalization certificate.
However, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court must be a Costa Rican by birth;
2) To be a citizen in the exercise of his rights;
3) To be a layman;
4) To be over thirty-five years of age;
5) To have a degree in Law issued or legally recognized in Costa Rica and to have practiced the profession for at least ten years, except in the case of judicial officials with not less than five years of judicial experience.
(2) Before taking office, Justices provide an official bond as provided by law.


The oath that must be taken by public officials as provided in Article 11 of this Constitution is as follows:
"Do you swear before God and promise the Country to observe and defend the Constitution and the laws of the Republic and faithfully fulfill the duties of your office?” –Yes, I swear.- If you do, may God help you, and if you do not, may He and the Country call you to account.”


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.  Data under the "Features of Constitution" heading are drawn from coding of the U.S. State Department's 2008 International Religious Freedom Reports conducted by researchers at the Association of Religion Data Archives. The article by Brian Grim and Roger Finke describes the coding of the International Religious Freedom reports. A dataset with these and the other international measures highlighted on the country pages can be downloaded from this website. Used with permission.

4.  The constitutional excerpts shown above are reproduced from the websites given in the "Source" field; the links to these websites were active as of May 2011. Where the constitutional text shown on these websites was provided in a language other than English, this text was translated to English by ARDA staff with assistance from web-based translation utilities such as Google Translate and Yahoo! Babel Fish. Constitutional text was converted to American English where applicable. Constitutional clauses were judged to contain religious content based largely on the standards used in the construction of the Religion and State Constitutions Dataset collected by Jonathan Fox. Emphases were added to the text by ARDA staff to highlight religious content in articles that also contain content that does not pertain to matters of religion. The data on this page were correct to the best of the knowledge of the ARDA as of the date listed in the "Current as of" field shown above. Please contact us at if you are aware of any incorrect information provided on this page.

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