Religious Adherents, 2010 (World Christian Database)1
The country has an area of 68,888 square miles and a population of 11.4 million. There was no independent authoritative source on the size or composition of religious institutions and their membership. The Roman Catholic Church estimates that 60 percent of the population is Catholic. Membership in Protestant churches is estimated to be 5 percent and includes Baptists, Pentecostals, Jehovah's Witnesses, Seventh-day Adventists, Presbyterians, Anglicans, Episcopalians, Methodists, Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), and Lutherans. Other groups include the Greek Orthodox Church, the Russian Orthodox Church, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Baha'is, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons). The remainder of the population is either non-practicing of any particular religion, atheist, or agnostic.
Some sources estimate that as much as 80 percent of the population consults with practitioners of religions with West African roots, such as Santeria or Yoruba, for assistance with specific immediate problems such as bearing children, curing illness, or ensuring safe passage. During the reporting period, a historically secretive group affiliated with Afro-Cuban religious practices, the Abalcua Society, opened a public office.
The Cuban Council of Churches (CCC) is a private, officially sanctioned umbrella organization that works closely with the Government and includes 25 religious organizations as full members, 9 associate members, and 3 with observer status. During the reporting period the Greek Orthodox Church and the Pentecostal Church of Sovereign Grace in Cuba became new full members. Three new communities were accepted as fraternal associate members: the Assembly of Christian Churches, the Quadrangular Pentecostal Church, and the Reflection and Solidarity Group Msgr. Oscar Arnulfo Romero. The Christian New Life Church became an observer member. The CCC is structured into 5 "zones" across the island and, according to the CCC's leadership, represents approximately 100,000 Christians. Most CCC members are officially recognized by the State, although several, including the Evangelical Lutheran Church, lack legal status and are recognized through their membership in the CCC. Other officially recognized groups, including the Catholic Church, Jehovah's Witnesses, and the small Jewish and Muslim communities, do not belong to the CCC.
Catholic Church officials estimate that 10 percent of baptized Catholics attend Mass regularly. Membership in Protestant churches increased and was estimated at 550,000 persons. The Baptists, represented in four different conventions, are possibly the largest Protestant denomination, followed closely by the Pentecostal churches, particularly the Assembly of God. The number of Pentecostals is believed to be rising sharply. Jehovah's Witnesses report more than 86,000 members, the Seventh-day Adventists 30,000, and Methodists 18,000. There are 22,000 Anglicans and 15,000 Presbyterians. The Jewish community has 1,500 members, with 1,200 of them residing in Havana. The Muslim population consists of 6,000 temporary residents and 300 native-born. There are small communities of Quakers (300) and Mormons (30).
Led by the Iranian mission, several embassies offered to build a mosque in Havana; however, the Government has not identified land for this project nor officially accepted the offer.
Foreign missionary groups operate through registered churches. Visits by religious figures are handled by the Religious Affairs Office of the Central Committee of the Communist Party.
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.