Religious Adherents, 2010 (World Christian Database)1
The country has an area of 42,043 square miles and a population of 13.7 million. According to official census data, the indigenous population is 43 percent, although unofficial estimates are higher.
The religious demography has changed significantly over the last few decades, influenced by political and societal pressures. Historically, the country was overwhelmingly Roman Catholic; however, in part due to active proselytizing efforts, evangelical groups have flourished.
There is no official census of religious affiliation. The Episcopal Conference of Guatemala, the official ruling body of the Catholic Church, estimates that 65 percent of the population is Catholic (2008). Alianza Evangelica, the official umbrella organization for Protestants, estimates that 35 to 40 percent is Protestant. A 2006 survey conducted by Latinobarómetro indicates that Catholics comprise 56.9 percent of the population and evangelicals 30.7 percent. The largest Protestant group is the Full Gospel Church, followed by the Assembly of God, the Central American Church, and the Prince of Peace Church, as well as many independent evangelical groups. Baptists, Presbyterians, Lutherans, Episcopalians, and Seventh-day Adventists are present, as are the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), and Jehovah's Witnesses. Jews (approximately 2,000) and Muslims reside primarily in Guatemala City.
Catholics and Protestants are distributed throughout the country, and their adherents are found among all major ethnic groups and political parties. According to leaders of Mayan spiritual organizations and Catholic and Protestant missionaries, many indigenous Catholics and some Protestants also practice some form of indigenous spiritual ritual.
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.