National Profiles > > Regions > South America > Ecuador
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Region: South America
2012 Population1: 15,492,264
Total Area (sq. miles)1: 95,892
Life Expectancy at Birth1: 76.0
Gross National Income Per Capita (PPP 2012 US $)1: $10,260
Official Religion(s) Or Church(es) 2: None

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Largest Religious Groups (Ecuador)


Government Regulation of Religion Index: Average government regulation score over ARDA researchers' coding of 2003, 2005 and 2008 U.S. Department of State's International Religious Freedom Reports (0-10, lower means less regulation) Government Favoritism of Religion Index: Average government favoritism score over ARDA researchers' coding of 2003, 2005 and 2008 U.S. Department of State's International Religious Freedom Reports (0-10, lower means less favoritism) Social Regulation of Religion Index: Average social regulation score over ARDA researchers' coding of 2003, 2005 and 2008 U.S. Department of State's International Religious Freedom Reports (0-10, lower means less regulation) Religious Persecution: Average number of people physically abused or displaced due to their religion according to U.S. Department of State's 2005 and 2008 International Religious Freedom Reports (as coded by ARDA researchers). 0 = None; 1 = 1-10; 2 = 11-20; 3 = 21-100; 4 = 101-500; 5 = 501-1000; 6 = 1001-5000; 7 = 5001-10000; 8 = 10001-50000; 9 = 50001-100000; 10 = greater than 100000.


Ecuador, officially the Republic of Ecuador, is a representative democratic republic in northwestern South America, bordered by Colombia on the north, Peru on the east and south, and the Pacific Ocean to the west. Ecuador also includes the Galápagos Islands in the Pacific, about 1,000 kilometres (620 mi) west of the mainland. Spanning an area of 283,520 km2, what is now Ecuador was home to a variety of indigenous groups that were eventually incorporated into the Inca Empire. The territory was colonized by Spain during the sixteenth century, achieving independence in 1820 as part of Gran Colombia, from which it emerged as its own sovereign state in 1830. Ecuador is ethnically diverse, with most of its 15.2 million people comprised mostly mestizos followed by large minorities of European, Amerindian, and African descendants. Spanish is the official language and is spoken by a majority of the population, though thirteen indigenous languages are also recognized, including Quichua and Shuar. The capital city is Quito, while the largest city is Guayaquil. In reflection of the country's rich cultural heritage, the historical centers of Quito and Cuenca, the third-largest city, were each declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site was also declared a World Heritage Site in 1999 as an outstanding example of a planned, inland Spanish-style colonial city in the Americas. Ecuador is also known for its rich ecology, hosting many endemic plants and animals, such as those of the Galápagos Islands. It is one of seventeen megadiverse countries in the world, with the most species diversity per unit area. The new constitution of 2008 is the first in the world to recognize legally enforceable Rights of Nature, or ecosystem rights. Ecuador is a democratic presidential republic. A medium-income country, its developing economy is highly dependent on commodities, namely petroleum and agricultural products.



Note: All country histories and flags were obtained from, 2015. (

1.  Relying on agencies from each country, as well as a synthesis of data from United Nations divisions, Eurostate Demographic statistics, the U.S. Census international database, and its own data collection, the World Bank’s Open Data site offers free and open access to data about development in countries around the globe.

2.  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.

3.  The article by Brian Grim and Roger Finke describes the coding of the U.S. State Department’s International Religious Freedom reports. The 2003, 2005, and 2008 reports were coded by researchers at the Association of Religion Data Archives. The GRI, GFI and SRI values reported on the National Profiles are averages from the 2003, 2005, and 2008 International Religious Freedom reports, while the Religious Persecution measure is an average from the 2005 and 2008 reports. All other measures derived from the International Religious Freedom reports were coded from the reports 2008. A data file with all of the 2008 coding, as well as data files with other cross national collections are available for preview and download from the data archive on this site. Used with permission.

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