- Religious Freedom
- Religious Regulation
- Religious Support
Preferred Religion (2015)1: Western Christian
Majority Religion (2015)2: Catholic (30.3%)
Religious Adherents, (2015)2
|Christian (all denominations combined)||53.1%||65.3%||29.9%|
|Ethnoreligionist (incl. Animist, Shamanist)||28.1%||8.7%||2.5%|
|Muslim (all denominations combined)||18.1%||22.1%||22.8%|
|Not Religious (incl. Atheist)||0.4%||0.5%||12%|
The country has an area of 308,642 square miles and a population of 19.9 million. According to the 1997 census, 24 percent are Roman Catholic, 22 percent Protestant, 20 percent Muslim, and one-third do not profess a religion or belief; however, religious leaders speculated that a significant number of this group practiced some form of traditional indigenous religions, a category not included in the 1997 census. The South Asian immigrant population is predominantly Muslim.
Major Christian groups include Anglican, Baptist, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), Congregational, Methodist, Nazarene, Presbyterian, Jehovah's Witnesses, Roman Catholic, Seventh-day Adventist, and Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, as well as evangelical, apostolic, and Pentecostal churches. The three principal Islamic organizations are the Mohammedan Community, Islamic Congress, and Islamic Council. There are small Jewish, Hindu, and Baha'i groups.
Religious communities are dispersed throughout the country. The northern provinces are predominantly Muslim, particularly along the coast, while areas of the northern interior have a stronger concentration of Christian communities. Christians are generally more numerous in the southern and central regions, but Muslims are also present in these areas.
Muslim journalists report that the distinction between Sunni and Shi'a is not particularly important for many local Muslims, and Muslims are much more likely to identify themselves by the local religious leader they follow than as Sunni or Shi'a.
Many small, independent Protestant and Catholic churches that have split from mainstream denominations fuse African traditional beliefs and practices within a Christian framework. The country's leading mosques and the Catholic Church have gradually eliminated many traditional indigenous practices from their places of worship; however, some Christian and Muslim adherents continue to incorporate traditional practices and rituals.
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.