- Religious Freedom
- Religious Regulation
- Religious Support
Preferred Religion (2015)1: Mixed Catholic, Sunni, Indigenous
Majority Religion (2015)2: Catholic (28.6%)
Religious Adherents, (2015)2
|Christian (all denominations combined)||42.7%||37.9%||29.9%|
|Muslim (all denominations combined)||29.5%||50.5%||22.8%|
|Ethnoreligionist (incl. Animist, Shamanist)||22.3%||9.8%||2.5%|
|Other Religionist||< 0.1%||0.1%||0.2%|
|Not Religious (incl. Atheist)||0.4%||0.3%||12%|
The country has an area of 43,483 square miles and a population of 8.3 million. According to the 2002 census, 27 percent of the population is Roman Catholic, 24 percent Muslim, 17 percent practitioners of Voodoo (also known as Vodun), 6 percent adherents of other traditional indigenous beliefs, and 5 percent Celestial Christians. Groups with less than 5 percent each include Methodists, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), Jehovah's Witnesses, Rosicrucians, the Unification Church, Eckankar, Baha'is, Baptists, Assemblies of God, and Pentecostals. Seven percent claim no religious affiliation.
Many individuals who identify themselves as Christian or Muslim also practice Voodoo or other traditional local religions.
Nearly all Muslims are Sunni. The few Shi'a Muslims are primarily Middle Eastern expatriates.
There are Christians, Muslims, and adherents of traditional local religious groups throughout the country. However, Muslims are represented most heavily in the north and southeast, while Christians are prevalent in the south, particularly in Cotonou.
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.