- Religious Freedom
- Religious Regulation
- Religious Support
Georgia - Major World Religions2
Georgia - Largest Religious Groups2
Preferred Religion (2015)1: Orthodox
Majority Religion (2015)2: Orthodox (83.1%)
Religious Adherents, (2015)2
The country has an area of 25,900 square miles and a population of 4.4 million, including the separatist regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which are not fully under the control of the Government of Georgia.
Most ethnic Georgians (who constitute more than 80 percent of the population, according to the 2002 census) at least nominally associate themselves with the Georgian Orthodox Church (GOC). Membership in the GOC continued to increase. Non-Georgian Orthodox groups accept the territorial jurisdiction of the GOC and generally use the primary language of their communicants (e.g., Russian, Armenian, or Greek). There remains a small number of mostly ethnic Russian adherents of three dissident Orthodox schools--the Molokani, Staroveriy (Old Believers), and Dukhoboriy (Spirit Wrestlers).
The Armenian Apostolic Church (AAC), the Roman Catholic Church (RCC), Judaism, and Islam have traditionally coexisted with Georgian Orthodoxy. Some religious groups are correlated with ethnicity. Azeris comprise the second largest ethnic group (approximately 285,000, or 7 percent of the population) and are largely Muslim; most live in the southeastern region of Kvemo-Kartli, where they constitute a majority. Armenians are the third largest ethnic group (estimated at 249,000, or 6 percent of the population) and belong predominantly to the AAC; they constitute the majority of the population in the southern Samtskhe-Javakheti region.
Approximately 10 percent of the population is at least nominally Muslim. There are three main ethnic Muslim populations: Azeris, Georgian Muslims of Ajara, and Chechen Kists in the northeastern region.
There are an estimated 35,000 Catholics, largely ethnic Georgians or Assyrians, and 18,000 Kurdish Yezidis. The ethnic Greek Orthodox community numbers 15,000. There are an estimated 10,000 Jews. Protestant and other nontraditional denominations have become more active and prominent but constitute less than 1 percent of the population.
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.