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Included Nations/Regions: Panama [x], Central America [x]


Religion and State (RAS) Indexes1

Religion Indexes (Panama)

State Funding of Religion
Summary categories: None (0/3), Low (1/3), Medium (2/3), High (3/3)

Ranking: 128/253
Societal Discrimination of Minority Religions
Summary categories: None (0/3), Low (1/3), Medium (2/3), High (3/3)

Ranking: 110/253
State Regulation of Majority or All Religions
Summary categories: None (0/3), Low (1/3), Medium (2/3), High (3/3)

Ranking: 79/253
State Discrimination of Minority Religions
Summary categories: None (0/3), Low (1/3), Medium (2/3), High (3/3)

Ranking: 120/253
For details on how these indexes were constructed, click here

Panama: Major World Religions (1900 - 2050) (World Religion Database, 2020)2

The following groups with less than 1% of the population were hidden from this graph: Buddhists, Chinese folk-religionists, Hindus, Jews, Muslims, New religionists, Sikhs, Spiritists.


Panama: Largest Religious Groups (1900 - 2050) (World Religion Database, 2020)2

The following groups with less than 1% of the population were hidden from this graph: Atheists, doubly-affiliated, Islamic schismatics, Mahayanists, Orthodox, Saktists, Shaivites, Shias, Sunnis, Vaishnavites.


Religious Adherents (World Religion Database 2020)2

Religion Panama
[x]
Central America
[x]
The World
Baha'is 1.19% 0.12% 0.11%
Buddhists 0.76% 0.05% 6.83%
--Mahayanists 0.76% 0.05% 4.89%
--Theravadins --- --- 1.72%
--Lamaists --- --- 0.23%
Chinese folk-religionists 0.15% 0.03% 5.98%
Christians 90.11% 95.72% 32.16%
--unaffiliated Christians 2.92% 1.73% 1.46%
--Orthodox 0.04% 0.19% 3.75%
--Catholics 72.31% 84.36% 15.90%
--Protestants 9.85% 7.73% 7.51%
--Independents 5.91% 7.35% 5.00%
Daoists --- --- 0.11%
Confucianists --- --- 0.11%
Ethnic religionists 1.33% 0.96% 3.65%
Hindus 0.05% 0.01% 13.58%
--Vaishnavites 0.01% 0.00% 5.15%
--Shaivites 0.01% 0.00% 4.86%
--Saktists 0.02% 0.00% 3.57%
Jains --- --- 0.08%
Jews 0.23% 0.03% 0.19%
Muslims 0.71% 0.10% 24.20%
--Sunnis 0.63% 0.07% 21.56%
--Shias 0.07% 0.02% 2.44%
--Islamic schismatics 0.02% 0.00% 0.21%
New religionists 0.62% 0.03% 0.85%
Shintoists --- --- 0.04%
Sikhs 0.01% 0.00% 0.34%
Spiritists 0.48% 0.14% 0.19%
Zoroastrians --- --- 0.00%
Non-Religious 4.36% 2.82% 11.57%
--Agnostics 3.80% 2.66% 9.65%
--Atheists 0.56% 0.16% 1.92%

Religious demographics (Panama)3

The country has an area of 30,193 square miles and a population of 3.2 million. The Government does not collect statistics on religious affiliation, but various sources estimate that 75 to 85 percent of the population identifies itself as Roman Catholic and 15 to 25 percent as evangelical Christian. Smaller religious groups include the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) with an estimated 42,000 members, Seventh-day Adventists, Jehovah's Witnesses, Episcopalians with between 7,000 and 10,000 members, Jewish and Muslim communities with approximately 10,000 members each, Hindus, Buddhists, Rastafarians, and other Christians. Local Baha'is maintain one of the world's seven Baha'i Houses of Worship. Indigenous religions include Ibeorgun (among Kuna) and Mamatata (among Ngobe).

Catholics are found throughout the country and at all levels of society. Evangelical Christians also are dispersed geographically and are becoming more prominent in society. The mainstream Protestant denominations, which include Southern Baptist Convention and other Baptist congregations, United Methodist, Methodist Church of the Caribbean and the Americas, and Lutheran, derive their membership from the Antillean black and the expatriate communities, both of which are concentrated in Panama and Colón Provinces. The Jewish community is centered largely in Panama City. Muslims live primarily in Panama City and Colón, with a smaller but growing presence in David and other provincial cities. The vast majority of Muslims are of Lebanese, Palestinian, or Indian descent.

Summary Information

Panama
[x]
Central America
[x]
The World
[x]
Region Central America The World --
Total Population4 3,929,141 172,740,074 7,335,774,068
Area in square miles 29,120 959,946 196,939,900
Life Expectancy from birth, in years5 77.8 74.9 71.9
Gross National Income per capita, in current international dollars5 20,990.0 11,031.3 16,101.0
Description of Polity Score6 (strongly democratic) -- --
Judicial Independence Composite Score, as average of scores for higher and lower courts7 -0.3 0.3 0.8
Official Religion(s)8 Catholicism -- --

Panama - Google Map


Religion and the State

Religion and State Collection (2014)

Panama
[x]
Is proselytizing Legal?1 Yes
Is religious registration someties denied?1 There is no registration requirement
What are the consequences of registration?1 Groups need not register but registration is allowed or encouraged. This encouragement may include benefits given only to registered religions.
Official Support: The formal relationship between religion and state.1 Preferred Religion
The extent to which religious education is mandatory in public schools.1 Mandatory, but upon specific request, a student may opt out of the course.
The extent to which funding is exclusive to one or a few religions.1 Government funding of religion goes primarily to one religion but at least some other religions receive some funds.
The extent to which there are religious requirements and oaths for holding office.1 The oath of office for some or all officials contains mention of God or religion in general but that part is optional.

Constitutional Features [ View Excerpts]

Constitution

Panama
[x]
Constitution Year10 1972
Last Amended10 2004
Source10 Constitute Project;
Translation10 Source is an English translation.
Current as of10 July 17, 2018

Socio-Economic Measures

Military Measures

Panama
[x]
Central America
[x]
The World
[x]
Composite Index of National Capability, in fraction of 117 0.0002897 0.002215513 0.005162584
2012 Military expenditure (% of GDP)5 -- 0.6 --

Other Measures on Religion, State, and Society


Constitution Clauses Related to Religion


Constitution Excerpts (clauses that reference religion) (Panama)10

Preamble

... invoking the protection of God, ...

Article 19.

There shall be no public or private privileges, or discrimination, by reason of ... religion ...

Article 35.

All religions may be professed and all forms of worship practiced freely, without any other limitation than respect for Christian morality and public order. It is recognized that the Catholic religion is practiced by the majority of Panamanians.

Article 36.

Religious organizations have juridical capacity and manage and administer their property within the limits prescribed by law, the same as other juridical persons.

Article 45.

Ministers of religious faiths and members of religious orders, aside from the performance of duties inherent to their missions, may hold public posts only when such are positions related to social welfare, public education, or scientific research.

Article 67.

A like wage or salary shall always be paid for like work under identical conditions, irrespective of the person who performs it, without taking into account ... religious ideologies.

Article 90.

The State recognizes and respects the ethnic identity of national indigenous communities, and shall establish programs to develop the ... spiritual values of each of their cultures.

Article 94.

...

Educational institutions, whether public or private, are open to all students without distinction of ... religion ...

...

Article 107.

The Catholic religion shall be taught in public schools, but, upon the requests of parents or guardians, certain students shall not be obliged to attend religion classes, nor to participate in religious services.

Article 139.

It is unlawful to form political parties based on ... religion ...

Article 181.

...

A citizen who professes no religious belief may dispense with the invocation to God in the oath.

Article 300.

Public Employees shall be of Panamanian nationality, without discrimination for reasons of ... religion ...

Variable Details

  • For more details on State Funding of Religion (FUN_4CAT) see this document.
  • For more details on Societal Discrimination of Minority Religions (SOC_4CAT) see this document.
  • For more details on State Regulation of Majority or All Religions (NXX_4CAT) see this document.
  • For more details on State Discrimination of Minority Religions (MXX_4CAT) see this document.
  • Sources

    1 The Religion and State (RAS) Project is a university-based project located at Bar Ilan University in Ramat Gan, Israel and is directed by Jonathan Fox. Round 3 of the RAS includes all countries with populations of 250,000 or more as well as a sampling of smaller states and offers annual measures from 1990 to 2014. The methods used for conducting the RAS3 collection and the complete codebook can be reviewed online. Or, the codebook and data file can be downloaded free of charge here. For details on how the RAS indexes reported on the ARDA’s National Profiles were coded, constructed, and placed into categories, click here.

    2 Todd M. Johnson and Brian J. Grim, eds. World Religion Database (Leiden/Boston: Brill, 2022).

    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.

    4 The Religious Characteristics of States Dataset Project: Demographics reports the estimates of religious demographics, both country by country and region by region. The RCS was created to fulfill the unmet need for a dataset on the religious dimensions of countries of the world, with the state-year as the unit of observation. It estimates populations and percentages of adherents of 100 religious denominations including second level subdivision 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 co-principal investigator of the World Religion Database.

    5 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.

    6 The Center for Systemic Peace (CSP) is engaged in innovative research on the problem of political violence within the structural context of the dynamic global system. The Center supports scientific research and quantitative analysis in many issue areas related to the fundamental problems of violence in both human relations and societal-systemic development processes. The Center continually monitors political behavior in each of the world's major states and reports on emerging issues and persisting conditions related to the problems of political violence and "state failure." A dataset with these and other international measures can be downloaded from here. Used with permission. *Note: Polity Scores range from -10 to 10 and include the following categories: -10 to -9: strongly autocratic, -8 to -7 autocratic, -6 to -4 weakly autocratic, -3 to +3 anocratic, +4 to +6 weakly democratic, +7 to +8 democratic, +9 to +10 strongly democratic.

    7 Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem) is a new approach to conceptualizing and measuring democracy. V-Dem provides a multidimensional and disaggregated dataset that reflects the complexity of the concept of democracy as a system of rule that goes beyond simple presence of elections. The V-Dem project distinguishes between seven high-level principles of democracy: electoral, liberal, participatory, deliberative, egalitarian, majoritarian, and consensual, and collects data to measure these principles. A dataset with these and other international measures can be downloaded from here. Used with permission.

    8 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.

    9 Data under the "Features of Constitution" heading are drawn from coding of the U.S. State Department's 2008 International Religious Freedom Reports conducted by researchers at the Association of Religion Data Archives. The article by Brian Grim and Roger Finke describes the coding of the International Religious Freedom reports. A dataset with these and the other international measures highlighted on the country pages can be downloaded from this website. Used with permission.

    10 Text from country constitutions was copied from primary documents obtained online using a variety of sources, including the Constitute Project, World Constitutions Illustrated, and government sources. When the text was in a language other than English, it was translated to English by ARDA staff or with web-based translation utilities such as Google Translate. Emphases were added to the text by ARDA staff to differentiate religious content from non-religious content. Text is current to the date listed in the "Current as of" field shown above. Please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you are aware of any incorrect information provided on this page.

    11 Freedom House is an independent non-governmental organization that offers measures of the extent to which governments are accountable to their own people; the rule of law prevails; and freedoms of expression, association, belief and respect for the rights of minorities and women are guaranteed. A dataset with these and the other international measures highlighted on the country pages can be downloaded from this website. Used with permission.

    12 The CIA's World Factbook was created as an annual summary and update to the now defunct National Intelligence Survey (NIS) studies. The first classified Factbook was published in August 1962, and the first unclassified version was published in June 1971. The NIS program was terminated in 1973 except for the Factbook, map, and gazetteer components. The 1975 Factbook was the first to be made available to the public with sales through the US Government Printing Office (GPO). The year 2010 marks the 67th year of the World Factbook and its predecessor programs. The maps and flags are also from the World Factbook, which is an open source.

    13 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.

    14 The Heritage Foundation/Wall Street Journal Index of Economic Freedom is a systematic, empirical measurement of economic freedom in countries throughout the world. A set of objective economic criteria are used to study and grade various countries for the annual publication of the Index of Economic Freedom. A dataset with these and the other international measures highlighted on the country pages can be downloaded from this website. Used with permission.

    15 The United Nations Human Development Reports provide data and statistical analysis in various areas of human development. The Human Development Report (HDR) presents two types of statistics: the human development indicator tables, which provide a global assessment of country achievements in different areas of human development, and thematic statistical analysis. A dataset with these and the other international measures highlighted on the country pages can be downloaded from this website. Used with permission.

    16 The 2013 Gender Inequality Index is a composite measure reflecting inequality in achievements between women and men in three dimensions: reproductive health, empowerment and the labor market. It varies between zero (when women and men fare equally) and one (when men or women fare poorly compared to the other in all dimensions). The health dimension is measured by two indicators: maternal mortality ratio and the adolescent fertility rate. The empowerment dimension is also measured by two indicators: the share of parliamentary seats held by each sex and by secondary and higher education attainment levels. The labor dimension is measured by women’s participation in the work force. Source: The United Nations Human Development Reports provide data and statistical analysis in various areas of human development. The Human Development Report (HDR) presents two types of statistics: the human development indicator tables, which provide a global assessment of country achievements in different areas of human development, and thematic statistical analysis. A dataset with these and the other international measures highlighted on the country pages can be downloaded from this website. Used with permission.

    17 Military data is drawn from the National Material Capabilities (v4.0) dataset, which is a component of and hosted by the Correlates of War Project. The Correlates of War Project seeks to facilitate the collection, dissemination, and use of accurate and reliable quantitative data in international relations. Correlates of War data may be accessed through the above link. Used with permission.

    18 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.

    19 The Cingranelli-Richards (CIRI) Human Rights Dataset contains standards-based quantitative information on government respect for 15 internationally recognized human rights for 202 countries, annually from 1981-2011. It is designed for use by scholars and students who seek to test theories about the causes and consequences of human rights violations, as well as policy makers and analysts who seek to estimate the human rights effects of a wide variety of institutional changes and public policies including democratization, economic aid, military aid, structural adjustment, and humanitarian intervention. The full CIRI Human Rights Dataset can be accessed through the above link. Used with permission.

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