- Religious Freedom
- Religious Regulation
- Religious Support
Preferred Religion (2015)1: Sunni
Majority Religion (2015)2: Sunni Muslim (87.8%)
Religious Adherents, (2015)2
|Gambia, The||Western Africa||World|
|Muslim (all denominations combined)||88.4%||50.5%||22.8%|
|Ethnoreligionist (incl. Animist, Shamanist)||5.3%||9.8%||2.5%|
|Christian (all denominations combined)||4.3%||37.9%||29.9%|
|Other Religionist||< 0.1%||0.1%||0.2%|
|Not Religious (incl. Atheist)||0.8%||0.3%||12%|
The country has an area of 4,361 square miles and a population of 1.7 million. Sunni Muslims constitute more than 90 percent of the population. The vast majority are Malikite Sufis, of which the main orders represented are Tijaniyah, Qadiriyah, and Muridiyah. Sufi orders pray together at common mosques. Members of the Ahmadiyya order are also represented, while a small percentage of Muslims, predominantly immigrants from South Asia, do not ascribe to any traditional Islamic school of thought.
An estimated 9 percent of the population is Christian, and less than 1 percent practice indigenous animist religious beliefs. The Christian community, situated mostly in the west and south, is predominantly Roman Catholic; there are also Protestant groups including Anglicans, Methodists, Baptists, Seventh-day Adventists, Jehovah's Witnesses, and various small evangelical denominations. There is a small group of Baha'is, and a small community of Hindus among South Asian immigrants.
Intermarriage between Muslims and Christians is common. In some areas, Islam and Christianity are syncretized with animism.
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. 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.