- Religious Freedom
- Religious Regulation
- Religious Support
Estonia - Major World Religions2
Estonia - Largest Religious Groups2
Preferred Religion (2015)1: Protestant
Majority Religion (2015)2: Not Religious (incl. Atheist) (59.2%)
Religious Adherents, (2015)2
The country has an area of 17,666 square miles and a population of 1.36 million (including 68 percent ethnic Estonian, 26 percent Russian, 2 percent Ukrainian, 1 percent Belarusian, and 1 percent Finnish). Approximately 60 percent of the population does not claim a religion. Less than 29 percent of the population are members of Christian congregations. The Estonian Evangelical Lutheran Church is the largest denomination, with 164 congregations and approximately 180,000 members. The Estonian Orthodox Church, subordinate to the Moscow Patriarchate (EOCMP), has 30 congregations with an estimated 170,000 members, and the Estonian Apostolic Orthodox Church (EAOC) has 61 congregations with approximately 25,000 members. The Roman Catholic Church has 9 congregations with an estimated 6,000 members. There are smaller communities of Baptists, Jehovah's Witnesses, Pentecostals, Old Believers, Methodists, and other religious groups. There is a Jewish community of approximately 2,500 members, with a community center, day school, and a synagogue that opened in May 2007, the only building in the country specifically designated for use as a synagogue. There are also small communities of Muslims, Buddhists, and other religious groups.
The ethnic Estonian majority is mainly Lutheran, while most religious adherents among the Russian-speaking population are Orthodox.
Fifty years of Soviet occupation diminished the role of religion in society. Many neighborhoods built since World War II do not have religious centers, and many of the surviving churches require extensive renovation. In May 2008 the Lutheran Nomme German Savior Church was consecrated after several years of renovation. In July 2007 St. James' Lutheran Church in Viimsi, the first new Lutheran church structure built in the country in almost six decades, was consecrated. This coastal church commemorates those who perished at sea. The national Government as well as Tallinn and other municipalities have their own ongoing projects for renovation of churches.
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.