Kuwait
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  Preferred Religion (2015)1: Sunni

  Majority Religion (2015)2: Sunni Muslim (68.4%)

Religious Adherents, (2015)2

Kuwait Western Asia World
Muslim (all denominations combined) 85.8% 83.4% 22.8%
 
  • Sunni Muslim
  • 68.4% 57% 19%
     
  • Shia Muslim
  • 17.4% 24.6% 3.4%
     
  • Other and Unknown Muslim
  • < 0.1% 0.8% 0.3%
    Christian (all denominations combined) 8.8% 5.6% 29.9%
     
  • Catholic
  • 8% 2.1% 15%
     
  • Orthodox
  • 0.6% 3.2% 3%
     
  • Protestant
  • 0.2% --- 5.6%
     
  • Other and Unknown Christian
  • 0.1% 0.3% 2.3%
    Hindu 3.8% 0.8% 14.5%
    Sikh 0.5% --- 0.4%
    Bahai 0.3% --- 0.1%
    Not Religious (incl. Atheist) 0.8% 1.2% 12%

    Religious Demography3

    The country has an area of 6,880 square miles and a population of 3.2 million, of whom 1 million are citizens and the rest foreign workers and their families. More than 100,000 stateless residents, known as "Bidoon," either have no documentation of their citizenship, are unable to obtain legal identity cards, or are unwilling to disclose their nationality. Estimates derived from voting records and personal status documents indicate that 70 percent of citizens, including the ruling family, belong to the Sunni branch of Islam. The national census did not distinguish between Shi'a and Sunni Muslims. Most of the remaining 30 percent of citizens are Shi'a Muslims. There are approximately 150 to 200 Christian citizens and a small number of Baha'i citizens. An estimated 100,000 of noncitizen residents are Shi'a. While some areas have relatively high concentrations of Sunnis or Shi'a, most areas of the country are fairly well integrated religiously.

    The Christian population, comprised mostly of expatriates, is estimated to at be more than 400,000. The Christian community includes the Anglican (Episcopalian) Church with approximately 100 members (several thousand other Christians also use the Anglican church for worship services); Armenian Orthodox Church with approximately 4,000 members; Coptic Orthodox Church with at least 65,000 members; Greek Catholic (Melkite) Church with approximately 1,000 to 2,000 members (Greek Catholics worship in a rented house, not at the Catholic cathedral in Kuwait City); Greek Orthodox Church (referred to in Arabic as the Roman Orthodox Church) with an estimated 3,500 members; National Evangelical (Protestant) Church with more than 70 congregations serving approximately 40,000; and the Roman Catholic Church, with 2 official churches and a third worship facility in a rented house, with an estimated 250,000 to 300,000 members (Latin, Maronite, Coptic Catholic, Armenian Catholic, Malabar, and Malankara congregations all worshipped at the Catholic cathedral in Kuwait City).

    There are other unrecognized Christian religious groups, although reliable estimates of their numbers are not available, including: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), Indian Orthodox Syrian Church, Mar Thoma, and Seventh-day Adventists.

    There are also communities of Baha'is (400 adherents), Buddhists (100,000), Hindus (300,000), and Sikhs (10,000).


    Sources

    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, the co-principal investigator of the World Religion Database, and co-author of the World Christian Encyclopedia series.

    2.  The Religious Characteristics of States Dataset Project: Demographics reports annual estimates of religious demographics, both country by country and region by region. It estimates populations and percentages of adherents of 100 religious denominations including second level subdivisions 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, the co-principal investigator of the World Religion Database, and co-author of the World Christian Encyclopedia series.

    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.

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