- Religious Freedom
- Religious Regulation
- Religious Support
Preferred Religion (2015)1: Catholic
Majority Religion (2015)2: Catholic (60.1%)
Religious Adherents, (2015)2
|Costa Rica||Central America||World|
|Christian (all denominations combined)||89.5%||91.7%||29.9%|
|Chinese Folk Religionist||0.4%||---||4.3%|
|Ethnoreligionist (incl. Animist, Shamanist)||0.2%||1%||2.5%|
|Not Religious (incl. Atheist)||9.3%||6.5%||12%|
The country has an area of 19,730 square miles and a population of 4.4 million, according to the National Institute of Census and Statistics. The most recent countrywide survey of religion, conducted in 2007 by the University of Costa Rica, found that 44.9 percent of the population identify themselves as practicing Roman Catholics, 25.6 percent non-practicing Roman Catholics, 13.8 percent evangelical Protestants, 11.3 percent report they do not have a religious affiliation, and 4.3 percent declare "another religion."
Methodist, Lutheran, Episcopal, Baptist, and other Protestant groups have significant membership. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) claims membership of 35,000 and has a temple in San Jose that serves the country and Panama. The Lutheran Church estimates it has 5,000 members in 30 communities, and the Jewish Zionist Center of Costa Rica estimates there are 2,500 Orthodox Jews and, 300 Reform Jews. An estimated 1,000 Quakers are found in the cloud forest reserve of Monteverde, Puntarenas and an additional 1,000 attend Quaker meetings as nonmembers throughout the country. Although they represent less than 1 percent of the population, Jehovah's Witnesses have a strong presence on the Caribbean coast. Seventh-day Adventists operate a university that attracts students from throughout the Caribbean Basin. The Unification Church has its continental headquarters for Latin America in San Jose. Other groups, including followers of Islam, Taoism, Hare Krishna, Scientology, Tenrikyo, and the Baha'i Faith, claim membership throughout the country, with the majority of worshippers residing in the Central Valley (the area that includes San Jose). While there is no general correlation between religious affiliation and ethnicity, indigenous peoples are more likely to practice animism than other religions.
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.