An official website of the United States Government Here's how you know

Official websites use .gov

A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS

A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Benin

Section I. Religious Demography

The U.S. government estimates the total population at 11.3 million (July 2018 estimate).  According to the 2013 census, 48.5 percent of the population is Christian, 27.7 percent is Muslim (mostly Sunni), 11.6 percent practice Voodoo, 2.6 percent are members of indigenous religious groups, 2.6 percent are members of other religious groups, and 5.8 percent declare no religious affiliation.  The largest Christian denominations are Roman Catholicism with 25.5 percent of the population, and Celestial Christians with 6.7 percent.  Other smaller religious groups include Methodists, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Baha’is, Baptists, Pentecostals, the Family Federation of World Peace and Unification, the Very Holy Church of Jesus Christ of Baname, and Eckankar followers.

Many individuals who identify themselves as Christian or Muslim also practice Voodoo or other traditional religions.

Most Muslims are concentrated in northern regions.  The few Shia Muslims are primarily foreign residents.  Southern regions are predominantly Christian.

Burkina Faso

Section I. Religious Demography

The U.S. government estimates the total population at 19.7 million (July 2018 estimate).  According to the 2006 census, 61 percent of the population is Muslim, predominantly Sunni, 19 percent is Roman Catholic, 4 percent belong to various Protestant groups, and 15 percent maintain exclusively indigenous beliefs.  Less than 1 percent is atheist or belongs to other religious groups.  Statistics on religious affiliation are approximate because Muslims and Christians often adhere simultaneously to some aspects of indigenous religious beliefs.

Muslims reside largely in the northern, eastern, and western border regions, while Christians are concentrated in the center of the country.  Indigenous religious beliefs are practiced throughout the country, especially in rural communities.  The capital has a mixed Muslim and Christian population.  There is no significant correlation between religious affiliation and ethnicity, political, or socioeconomic status.

Cabo Verde

Section I. Religious Demography

The U.S. government estimates the total population at 568,000 (July 2018 estimate).  The national government’s statistics indicate 77 percent of the population is Roman Catholic, 10 percent Protestant, and 2 percent Muslim; 1 percent does not identify with any religion.  The second-largest Christian denomination is the Church of the Nazarene.  Other Christian denominations include Seventh-day Adventists, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Church of Jesus Christ), Assemblies of God, Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, Independent Baptists, and other Pentecostal and evangelical Christian groups.  There are small Baha’i and Jewish communities.

Chad

Section I. Religious Demography

The U.S. government estimates the total population at 15.8 million (July 2018 estimate).  According to the most recent census, in 2014-15, 52.1 percent of the population is Muslim, 23.9 percent Protestant, 20 percent Roman Catholic, 0.3 percent animist, 0.2 percent other Christian, 2.8 percent no religion, and 0.7 percent unspecified.  Most Muslims adhere to the Sufi Tijaniyah tradition.  A small minority hold beliefs associated with Wahhabism or Salafism.  The majority of Protestants are evangelical Christians.  There are also small numbers of Baha’is and Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Most northerners practice Islam, and most southerners practice Christianity or indigenous religions; religious distribution is mixed in urban areas.

Côte d’Ivoire

Section I. Religious Demography

The U.S. government estimates the total population at 26.3 million (July 2018 estimate).  According to the most recent census (in 2014), 42 percent are Muslim, 34 percent are Christian, and 4 percent are adherents of indigenous religious beliefs.  Approximately 20 percent of the population did not respond to the census.  Many Christians and Muslims also practice some aspects of indigenous religious beliefs.

Christian groups include Roman Catholics, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Seventh-day Adventists, Lutherans, Methodists, Presbyterians, Harrists, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Southern Baptists, Greek Orthodox, Copts, members of the Celestial Church of Christ, and members of the Assemblies of God.  Muslim groups include Sunnis (95 percent of Muslims), Shia, Sufis, and Ahmadis.  Other religious groups include Buddhists, Baha’is, Rastafarians, followers of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, and Bossonists, who follow traditions of the Akan ethnic group.

Traditionally, the north of the country is associated with Islam and the south with Christianity, although members of both religious groups live throughout the country.

Ghana

Section I. Religious Demography

The U.S. government estimates the total population at 28.1 million (July 2018 estimate).  According to the 2010 government census (the most recent available), approximately 71 percent of the population is Christian, 18 percent Muslim, 5 percent adheres to indigenous or animistic religious beliefs, and 6 percent belongs to other religious groups or has no religious beliefs.  Smaller religious groups include the Baha’i Faith, Buddhism, Judaism, Hinduism, Shintoism, Eckankar, and Rastafarianism.

Christian denominations include Roman Catholic, Methodist, Anglican, Mennonite, Presbyterian, Evangelical Presbyterian Church, African Methodist Episcopal Zion, Christian Methodist Episcopal, Evangelical Lutheran, Eden Revival Church International, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Seventh-day Adventist, Pentecostal, Baptist, African independent churches, the Society of Friends (Quaker), and numerous nondenominational Christian groups.

Muslim communities include Sunnis, Ahmadiyya, Shia, and Sufis (Tijaniyah and Qadiriyya orders).

Many individuals who identify as Christian or Muslim also practice some aspects of indigenous beliefs.  There are syncretic groups that combine elements of Christianity or Islam with traditional beliefs.  Zetahil, a belief system unique to the country, combines elements of Christianity and Islam.

There is no significant link between ethnicity and religion, but geography is often associated with religious identity.  Christians reside throughout the country; the majority of Muslims reside in the northern regions and in the urban centers of Accra, Kumasi, and Sekondi-Takoradi; and most followers of traditional religious beliefs reside in rural areas.

Guinea

Section I. Religious Demography

The U.S. government estimates the total population at 11.9 million (July 2018 estimate).  According to the SRA, approximately 85 percent of the population is Muslim, 8 percent Christian, and 7 percent adheres to indigenous religious beliefs.  Much of the Muslim and Christian population incorporates indigenous rituals into their religious practices.  Muslims are generally Sunni; Sufism is also present.  Christian groups include Roman Catholics, Anglicans, Baptists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Seventh-day Adventists, and several evangelical groups.  There is also a small Baha’i community, and small numbers of Hindus, Buddhists, and adherents of traditional Chinese religious beliefs among foreign residents.

Muslims constitute a majority in all four regions of the country.  Christians are concentrated in large cities, including Conakry, the south, and the eastern Forest Region.  Adherents of indigenous religious beliefs are most prevalent in the Forest Region.

Liberia

Section I. Religious Demography

The U.S. government estimates the total population at 4.8 million (July 2018 estimate).  According to the 2008 National Population and Housing Census, the population is 85.6 percent Christian, 12.2 percent Muslim, 1.4 percent persons who claim no religion, 0.6 percent adherents of indigenous religious beliefs, and less than 1 percent members of other religious groups, including Baha’is, Hindus, Sikhs, and Buddhists.  Unofficial reports and surveys estimate Muslims constitute up to 20 percent of the population.  Christian churches include African Methodist Episcopal, African Methodist Episcopal Zion, Baptist, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Episcopal, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic, Seventh-day Adventist, United Methodist, and a variety of Pentecostal churches.  Many members of religious groups also incorporate elements of indigenous beliefs and customs into their religious practices.

Christians reside throughout the country.  Muslims belonging to the Mandingo and Fula ethnic groups reside throughout the country, while Muslims of the Vai ethnic group live predominantly in the west.  The Sande and Poro societies – often referred to as secret societies – combine traditional religious and cultural practices and are present in the northern, western, and central regions of the country.  Other traditional cultural and religious societies, including the Kui Society and Bodio priests, exist in the country’s southeast.

Mali

Section I. Religious Demography

The U.S. government estimates the total population at 18.4 million (July 2018 estimate).  According to statistics of the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Worship, Muslims constitute an estimated 95 percent of the population.  Nearly all Muslims are Sunni and most follow Sufism.  Groups that together constitute less than 5 percent of the population include Christians, of whom approximately two-thirds are Roman Catholic and one-third Protestant, groups with indigenous religious beliefs, and those with no religious affiliation.  Groups adhering to indigenous religious beliefs reside throughout the country but mostly in rural areas.  Many Muslims and Christians also adhere to some aspects of indigenous beliefs.  The ministry estimates fewer than 1,000 individuals in Bamako and an unknown number outside of the capital are associated with the Muslim group Dawa al-Tablig.

Mauritania

Section I. Religious Demography

The U.S. government estimates the total population of the country at 3.8 million (July 2018 estimate).  According to official sources, Sunni Muslims constitute an estimated 99 percent of the population.  Unofficial estimates, however, indicate that Shia Muslims constitute 1 percent of the population and non-Muslims, mostly Christians and a small number of Jews, make up a further 1 percent.  Almost all the Christians and Jews are foreigners.

Niger

Section I. Religious Demography

The U.S. government estimates the total population at 19.9 million (July 2018 estimate).  According to the Ministry of Interior (MOI), more than 98 percent of the population is Muslim.  Most Muslims are Sunni, with less than 1 percent following the Shia branch of Islam.  Roman Catholics, Protestant groups, and other religious groups account for less than 2 percent of the population.  There are several thousand Baha’is, who reside primarily in Niamey and in communities on the west side of the Niger River.  A small percentage of the population adheres primarily to indigenous religious beliefs.  Some animist practices exist culturally among the Muslim majority, although they have become much less common over the past decade.

Nigeria

Section I. Religious Demography

The U.S. government estimates the total population at 203.5 million (July 2018 estimate).  A 2012 survey by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion and Public Life estimated the population to be 49.3 percent Christian and 48.8 percent Muslim, while the remaining 2 percent belong to other or no religions.  Many individuals combine indigenous beliefs and practices with Islam or Christianity.  A 2010 Pew report found 38 percent of the Muslim population self-identified as Sunni and 12 percent as Shia, with the remainder declining to answer or identifying as “something else” (5 percent) or “just a Muslim” (42 percent).  Included among the Sunnis are several Sufi groups, including Tijaniyah and Qadiriyyah.  There are also Izala (Salafist) minorities and small numbers of Ahmadi Muslims.  Christian groups include evangelicals, Roman Catholics, Anglicans, Pentecostals, Baptists, Anabaptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and Jehovah’s Witnesses.  Other groups include Jews, Baha’is, and individuals who do not follow any religion.

The Hausa-Fulani and Kanuri ethnic groups are most prevalent in the predominantly Muslim northern states.  Significant numbers of Christians, including some Hausa-Fulani and Kanuri, also reside in the north.  Christians and Muslims reside in approximately equal numbers in the central region and southwestern states, including Lagos, where the Yoruba ethnic group, whose members include both Muslims and Christians, predominates.  In the southeastern states, where the Igbo ethnic group is dominant, Christian groups, including Catholics, Anglicans, and Methodists, constitute the majority.  In the Niger Delta region, where the Ogoni and Ijaw ethnic groups predominate, Christians form a substantial majority, and a very small minority of the population is Muslim.  Evangelical Christian denominations are growing rapidly in the central and southern regions.  Ahmadi Muslims maintain a small presence in several cities, including Lagos and Abuja.

Senegal

Section I. Religious Demography

The U.S. government estimates the total population at 15 million (July 2018 estimate).  According to government statistics from the 2014 census, 96.1 percent of the population is Muslim.  Most Muslims are Sunni and belong to one of several Sufi brotherhoods, each of which incorporates unique practices.  There are approximately 5,000 Shia Muslims, according to an unofficial 2011 estimate.  Approximately 3.8 percent of the population is Christian.  Christian groups include Roman Catholics, Protestants, and groups combining Christian and indigenous beliefs.  The remaining 0.1 percent exclusively adheres to indigenous religions or professes no religion.

The Christian minority is located in towns in the west and south.  Members of indigenous religious groups live mainly in the east and south.

Sierra Leone

Section I. Religious Demography

The U.S. government estimates the total population at 6.3 million (July 2018 estimate).  Members of the IRC report that the country is approximately 60 percent Muslim (primarily Sunni), 30 percent Christian, and 10 percent animist.  The 2010 Pew Global Religious Futures Report estimated the breakdown at 78 percent Muslim and 21 percent Christian.  Many individuals regularly blend Christian and Islamic practices with animism in their private and public worship.  According to the Pew 2010 estimates, groups that together constitute less than 5 percent of the population include Baha’is, Hindus, Jews, atheists, and practitioners of voodoo and sorcery.  Ahmadi Muslims report their community has 560,000 members, representing 9 percent of the population.  Christians include Anglicans, other Protestants, Roman Catholics, Maronite Catholics, Greek Orthodox Christians, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  Evangelical Christians are a growing minority, drawing members primarily from other Christian groups.  Rastafarian leaders report their community has approximately 20,000 members.  Many individuals practice both Islam and Christianity.

Tribes living in the Northern Province, such as the Fullah, Themne, Loko, Madingo, and Susu, are predominantly Sunni Muslim.  The largest tribe in the South and East Provinces, the Mende, are also predominantly Sunni Muslim.  The Kono, Kissi, and Sherbro tribes of the South and East Provinces are majority Christian with large Muslim minorities.  Krios live in the western part of Freetown and are mainly Christian.  The city’s eastern neighborhoods are mostly Muslim.

The Gambia

Section I. Religious Demography

The U.S. government estimates the total population at 2.1 million (July 2018 estimate).  Approximately 95.7 percent of the population is Muslim, most of whom are Sunni.  The Christian community makes up 4.2 percent of the population, the majority Roman Catholics.  Religious groups that constitute less than 1 percent of the population include Ahmadi Muslims, Baha’is, Hindus, and Eckankar members.  A small number of individuals mixes indigenous beliefs with Islam and Christianity.

Togo

Section I. Religious Demography

The U.S. government estimates the total population at 8.2 million (July 2018 estimate).  According to a 2009 estimate by the University of Lome, the most recent data available, the population is 43.7 percent Christian, 35.6 percent traditional animist, 14 percent Sunni Muslim, and 5 percent followers of other religions.  Roman Catholics are the largest Christian group at 28 percent of the total population, followed by Protestants at 10 percent, and other Christian denominations totaling 5.7 percent.  Protestant groups include Methodists, Lutherans, Assemblies of God, and Seventh-day Adventists.  Other Christians include members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  The 5 percent representing “other religions” includes Nichiren Buddhists, followers of the International Society of Krishna Consciousness, Baha’is, Hindus, and persons not affiliated with any religious group.  Many Christians and Muslims also engage in indigenous religious practices.

Christians live mainly in the south, while Muslims are predominately in the central and northern regions.

International Religious Freedom Reports
Edit Your Custom Report

01 / Select A Year

02 / Select Sections

03 / Select Countries You can add more than one country or area.

U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future