- Religious Freedom
- Religious Regulation
- Religious Support
Preferred Religion (2015)1: Western Christian
Majority Religion (2015)2: Catholic (49.4%)
Religious Adherents, (2015)2
|Christian (all denominations combined)||90.2%||62%||29.9%|
|Ethnoreligionist (incl. Animist, Shamanist)||6.4%||7.5%||2.5%|
|Not Religious (incl. Atheist)||0.2%||5.5%||12%|
The country has an area of 11,720 square miles and a population of 1.9 million. Christianity is the dominant religion. The Christian Council of Lesotho, made up of representatives of all major Christian churches in the country, estimates that approximately 90 percent of the population is Christian. Roman Catholics represent 45 percent of the population, Lesotho Evangelicals 26 percent, and Anglican and other Christian groups such as the Seventh-day Adventist, American Methodist Episcopal, Dutch Reformed Church, Lesotho Methodist, and Pentecostal churches constitute an additional 19 percent. Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Baha'i, and members of traditional indigenous religions constitute the remaining 10 percent of the population.
While Christians can be found throughout the country, Muslims live primarily in Butha-Buthe district, in the north. Many Christians practice their traditional cultural beliefs and rituals in conjunction with Christianity.
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.