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Religious Adherents, 2010 (World Christian Database)1

Uruguay South America World
Baha'i 0.2% 0.2% 0.1%
Buddhist <0.1% 0.2% 7.2%
Chinese Universalist 0.0% <0.1% 6.3%
Christian 63.9% 91.9% 32.8%
Confucianist 0.0% <0.1% 0.1%
Ethnoreligionist <0.1% 0.5% 3.5%
Hindu 0.0% <0.1% 13.8%
Jain 0.0% <0.1% <0.1%
Jewish 1.2% 0.1% 0.2%
Muslim <0.1% 0.3% 22.5%
Shintoist 0.0% <0.1% <0.1%
Sikh 0.0% <0.1% 0.3%
Spiritist 0.1% 2.6% 0.2%
Taoist 0.0% 0.0% 0.1%
Zoroastrian 0.0% 0.0% <0.1%
Neoreligionists <0.1% 0.4% 0.9%
Atheist 6.5% 0.5% 2.0%
Agnostic 28.0% 3.1% 9.8%

Religious Demography2

The country has an area of 68,039 square miles and a population of 3.24 million (according to the 2004 census). The most recent statistics from the National Bureau of Statistics indicate that 45.1 percent identify themselves as Roman Catholics, 10.5 percent as Christian but not Catholic, 0.4 percent as Jewish, 0.7 percent as Afro-Umbandistas, and 27.8 percent believe in God but do not claim a religious affiliation. Mainstream Protestants primarily include Anglicans, Methodists, Lutherans, and Baptists. Other groups include evangelicals, Pentecostals, Mennonites, Eastern Orthodox, Christian Scientists, and Jehovah's Witnesses. A 2007 study by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association reports a total of 2,113 evangelical churches with 6.1 percent of the population regularly attending. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) claims 100,000 members.

The Jewish community numbers between 12,500 and 20,000 members. The estimated 4,000 Baha'is are concentrated primarily in Montevideo. A 2006 report indicates that approximately 850 families practice Buddhism. The Unification Church is active and has major property holdings, including a daily newspaper. The Muslim population lives primarily near the border with Brazil. An Islamic cultural representative estimated 300 to 400 Muslims in the country but noted that the majority were minimally observant. On April 25, 2008, the Egyptian Islamic Center in Montevideo, which is supported by the Egyptian Embassy, was inaugurated as the first mosque in the country. Muslims also gather to pray at the Uruguay Islamic Center in Canelones. The mosque and the center serve primarily as social hubs for Muslim immigrants who wish to maintain ties to their culture and for native-born citizens who have converted to Islam.


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.

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