Cambodia
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  Preferred Religion (2015)1: Theravada Buddhist

  Majority Religion (2015)2: Theravada Buddhist (81.3%)

Religious Adherents, (2015)2

Cambodia South-Eastern Asia World
Buddhist (all denominations combined) 84% 20.6% 6.6%
 
  • Theravada Buddhist
  • 81.3% 15.7% 1.6%
     
  • Mahayana Buddhist
  • 2.7% 1.3% 4.3%
     
  • Other and Unknown Buddhist
  • < 0.1% 3.6% 0.5%
    Ethnoreligionist (incl. Animist, Shamanist) 5.1% 4.3% 2.5%
    Christian (all denominations combined) 2.9% 22% 29.9%
     
  • Protestant
  • 2% 4% 5.6%
     
  • Catholic
  • 0.6% 15.7% 15%
     
  • Pentecostal
  • 0.1% 1.8% 2.8%
     
  • Other and Unknown Christian
  • 0.2% 0.6% 2.3%
    Chinese Folk Religionist 2.5% 1.1% 4.3%
    Muslim (all denominations combined) 1.8% 36.6% 22.8%
     
  • Sunni Muslim
  • 1.8% 36.5% 19%
    Taoist 0.6% 0.3% 0.2%
    Buddhist Syncretic 0.3% 0.3% ---
    Hindu 0.2% 1.2% 14.5%
    Bahai 0.1% 0.2% 0.1%
    Other Religionist < 0.1% < 0.1% 0.2%
    Not Religious (incl. Atheist) 2.5% 3.9% 12%
    Unknown < 0.1% 8.9% 4.8%

    Religious Demography3

    The country has an area of 69,900 square miles and a population of 14.1 million. An estimated 93 percent of the population is Theravada Buddhist. The Theravada Buddhist tradition is widespread and strong in all provinces, with an estimated 4,100 pagodas throughout the country. The vast majority of ethnic Khmer Cambodians are Buddhist, and there is a close association between Buddhism, Khmer cultural traditions, and daily life. Adherence to Buddhism generally is considered intrinsic to the country's ethnic and cultural identity. The Mahayana school of Buddhism claims approximately 150,000 followers and has 63 temples throughout the country.

    There are approximately 500,000 to 700,000 Muslims (3.5 to 5 percent of the population), predominantly ethnic Cham, who generally are found in towns and rural fishing villages on the banks of the Tonle Sap and Mekong Rivers and in Kampot Province. Some organizations that work with or have contacts in the Cham Muslim population cite lower estimates for the number of Cham Muslims in the country. There are four branches of Islam represented: the Malay-influenced Shafi'i branch, practiced by 88 percent of Cham Muslims; the Saudi-Kuwaiti-influenced Salafi (sometimes called "Wahhabi") branch, which claims 6 percent of the total Muslim population, although this number is increasing; the indigenous Iman-San branch, practiced by 3 percent; and the Kadiani branch, which also accounts for 3 percent. There are 244 mosques and 333 Surav mosques, which are typically small, located in rural areas, lack a minbar from which Friday sermons are given, and may be affiliated with any branch except for the Iman-San branch.

    The small but growing Christian community constitutes approximately 2 percent of the population. An estimated 100 Christian organizations or denominations operate freely throughout the country. There are approximately 900 officially registered churches; however, a total of 1,609 churches (1,544 Protestant, 65 Catholic) exist within the country. Other religious groups with small followings include the ethnic Vietnamese Cao Dai and the Baha'i Faith, each with an estimated 2,000 practitioners.


    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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