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.

China (Includes Tibet, Hong Kong, and Macau)

Section I. Religious Demography

The U.S. government estimates the total population at 1.4 billion (July 2016 estimate). According to the State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA), there are more than 200 million religious believers in the country. Many experts, however, believe that official estimates underestimate the total number of religious adherents. The U.S. government estimates that there are 657 million religious believers in the country, including 250 million Buddhists, 70 million Christians, 25 million Muslims, 301 million observers of folk religions, and 10 million observers of other faiths, including Taoism (July 2010 estimate). According to 2014 data from the Jewish Virtual Library, the country’s Jewish population is 2,500.

The 2014 Blue Book of Religions, produced by the Institute of World Religions at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, a research institution directly under the State Council, reported the number of Protestants to be between 23 and 40 million. A June 2010 SARA report estimated there are 16 million Protestants affiliated with the Three-Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM), the state-sanctioned umbrella organization for all officially recognized Protestant churches. According to SARA more than 5.5 million Catholics worship in sites registered by the Catholic Patriotic Association (CPA), the state-sanctioned organization for all officially recognized Catholic churches. According to the most recent outside surveys by Pew in 2010 and 2012, respectively, there are nine million Catholics and 68 million Protestants, of which 5.7 million Catholics and 23 million Protestants are affiliated with state-sanctioned umbrella organizations. Accurate estimates are difficult to make, however, because many adherents practice exclusively at home.

According to SARA, there are more than 21 million Muslims in the country, with 10 ethnic minorities practicing Islam. Hui Muslims are concentrated primarily in the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region and Qinghai, Gansu, and Yunnan provinces. Uighur Muslims live primarily in Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region. The State Council’s 2015 White Paper on Xinjiang reports Hui, Kazakh, Kyrgyz, Uighur, and other predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities constitute 14.63 million residents in Xinjiang, or 63 percent of the total population.

Prior to the government’s 1999 ban on Falun Gong, the government estimated that there were 70 million adherents. Falun Gong sources estimate that tens of millions continue to practice privately.

Some ethnic minorities retain traditional religions, such as Dongba among the Naxi people in Yunnan Province and Buluotuo among the Zhuang in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. Media sources report Tibetan Buddhism is growing in popularity among the Han Chinese population.

China (Includes Tibet, Hong Kong, and Macau) – Hong Kong

Section I. Religious Demography

The U.S. government estimates the total population at 7.2 million (July 2016 estimate). The Hong Kong government’s Information Services Department data states that approximately 43 percent of the population practices some form of religion. The two most prevalent religions are Buddhism and Taoism, which are often observed in the same temple. According to SAR government statistics, there are approximately two million Buddhists and Taoists; 480,000 Protestants; 379,000 Roman Catholics; 100,000 Hindus; 20,000 members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons); 12,000 Sikhs, and 5,000-6,000 Jews. Local Muslim groups estimate the SAR has approximately 300,000 Muslims. Small communities of Bahai and Zoroastrians also reside in the SAR. Confucianism is widespread, and in some cases elements of Confucianism are practiced in conjunction with other belief systems. Human rights organizations estimate there are between 500 and 1,000 practitioners of Falun Gong.

There are approximately 50 Protestant denominations, including Anglican, Baptist, Christian and Missionary Alliance, the Church of Christ in China, Lutheran, Methodist, Pentecostal, and Seventh-day Adventists. The Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong recognizes the pope and maintains links to the Vatican; the Bishop of Hong Kong and his retired predecessor are the only Catholic cardinals in greater China.

China (Includes Tibet, Hong Kong, and Macau) – Macau

Section I. Religious Demography

The U.S. government estimates the total population at 597,000 (July 2016 estimate). The SAR Government Information Bureau reports nearly 80 percent of the population practices Buddhism. There are approximately 30,000 Roman Catholics (of whom more than half are foreign domestic workers and other expatriates) and more than 8,000 Protestants. Protestant denominations include the Anglican, Baptist, Lutheran, Methodist, Pentecostal, and Presbyterian Churches. Evangelical Christian and independent local nondenominational churches, some of which are affiliated with Mainland churches, are also present. The government reports smaller religious groups include Bahais (estimated at 2,500 persons), Muslims (estimated at 400 persons), and Falun Gong practitioners (estimated at 50 persons).

China (Includes Tibet, Hong Kong, and Macau) – Tibet

Section I. Religious Demography

According to official data from China’s most recent census in November 2010, 2,716,400 Tibetans make up 90 percent of the TAR’s total population. Han Chinese make up approximately 8 percent. Other ethnicities make up the remainder. Some experts, however, believe the number of Han Chinese and other non-Tibetans living there is significantly underreported. Overall, official census data show Tibetans constitute 24.4 percent of the total population in Qinghai Province, 2.1 percent in Sichuan Province, 1.8 percent in Gansu Province, and 0.3 percent in Yunnan Province, although the percentage of Tibetans is much higher within jurisdictions of these provinces designated as autonomous for Tibetans.

Most Tibetans practice Tibetan Buddhism, although a sizeable minority practices Bon, a pre-Buddhist indigenous religion, and small minorities practice Islam, Catholicism, or Protestantism. Some scholars estimate there are as many as 400,000 Bon followers across the Tibetan Plateau. Scholars also estimate there are up to 5,000 Tibetan Muslims and 700 Tibetan Catholics in the TAR. Other residents of traditionally Tibetan areas include Han Chinese, many of whom practice Buddhism (including Tibetan Buddhism), Taoism, Confucianism, or traditional folk religions, or profess atheism; Hui Muslims; and non-Tibetan Catholics or Protestants.


Section I. Religious Demography

The U.S. government estimates the total population at 66.8 million (July 2016 estimate). The French government does not maintain official statistics on religious affiliation, but government studies occasionally provide estimates. According to the most recent study by the National Institute for Demographic Studies, conducted in 2008 and published in 2010, 45 percent of respondents aged 18-50 reported no religious affiliation, 43 percent identified as Roman Catholic, 8 percent as Muslim, 2 percent as Protestant, and the remaining 2 percent as Orthodox Christian, Buddhist, Jewish, or other.

A 2012 poll by the private firm Conseil, Sondage et Analyse found 56 percent of respondents older than 18 years identify as Catholic. The Ministry of Interior estimates 8 to 10 percent of the population is Muslim. The Muslim population consists primarily of immigrants from former French colonies in North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa and their descendants.

The daily newspaper Le Parisien estimates there are 1.2 million Protestants, 500,000 of whom are evangelical. Many evangelical churches primarily serve African and Caribbean immigrants. The Buddhist Union of France estimates there are one million Buddhists, mainly Chinese and Vietnamese immigrants and their descendants. According to press reports, the Jewish community numbers approximately 500,000; approximately 40 percent identifies as Sephardic, 26 percent as Ashkenazi, and 14 percent as a mix from the two communities, while the remaining 20 percent identifies only as Jewish. Other religious groups estimate their numbers as follows: Jehovah’s Witnesses, 120,000; Orthodox Christians, most of whom are associated with the Greek or Russian Orthodox Churches, 80-100,000; The Church of Scientology, 45,000; The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), 36,000 in metropolitan France and 22,000 in overseas departments and territories; and Sikhs, 30,000, with the largest concentration in the Parisian suburbs.


Section I. Religious Demography

The U.S. government estimates the population at 80.7 million (July 2016 estimate). Unofficial estimates and figures provided by religious groups indicate approximately 30 percent of the population is Roman Catholic, while 28 percent belongs to the EKD – a confederation of Lutheran, Reformed (Calvinist), and United (Prussian Union) Protestant regional Churches. Other Protestant denominations (New Apostolic Church, Baptist communities and other nondenominational Christians) combined account for less than 1 percent of the population. Orthodox Christians represent 2 percent of the population.

According to government estimates, approximately 5 percent of the population is Muslim, of which 65 percent is Sunni, 12.5 percent Alevi, and 5.6 percent Shia. According to the Ministry of the Interior, Muslims accounted for approximately 70 percent of the 890,000 refugees and asylum seekers that entered the country in 2015. In 2016, 280,000 refugees and asylum seekers arrived. Estimates of the Jewish population vary widely, between 100,000 and 250,000. Groups that together constitute less than 1 percent of the population include Buddhists (270,000); Hindus (100,000); Jehovah’s Witnesses (222,000); The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) (40,000); COS (5,000-10,000); Sikhs, and Yezidis. Approximately 33 percent of the population either have no religious affiliation or are members of unrecorded religious groups.


Section I. Religious Demography

The U.S. government estimates the total population at 1.3 billion (July 2016 estimate). According to India’s 2011 census, the most recent year for which disaggregated figures are available, Hindus constitute 79.8 percent of the population, Muslims 14.2 percent, Christians 2.3 percent, and Sikhs 1.7 percent. Groups that together constitute less than 1 percent of the population include Buddhists, Jains, Zoroastrians (Parsis), Jews, and Bahais. The Ministry of Tribal Affairs officially classifies the more than 104 million members of Scheduled Tribes – indigenous groups historically outside the caste system who often practice animism and indigenous religious beliefs – as Hindus in government statistics.

According to the same government estimates, there are large, minority Muslim populations in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Telangana, Karnataka, and Kerala; Muslims constitute 68.3 percent of the population in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, the only state in which they constitute a majority of the population. Slightly more than 85 percent of Muslims are Sunni; most of the rest are Shia. Christian populations are found across the country but in greater concentrations in the northeast, as well as in the southern states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Goa. Three small northeastern states have large Christian majorities: Nagaland (90 percent), Mizoram (87 percent), and Meghalaya (70 percent). Sikhs constitute 54 percent of Punjab’s population, with an estimated 16 million members according to the 2011 census. The Dalai Lama’s office estimates there are significant resettled Tibetan Buddhist communities in Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Uttarakhand, and Delhi. In a 2009 parliamentary report, the MHA estimated the total number of Tibetan Buddhists in India to be 110,000.


Section I. Religious Demography

The U.S. government estimates the total population at 258.3 million (July 2016 estimate). According to the 2010 census, approximately 87 percent of the population is Muslim, 7 percent Protestant, 3 percent Roman Catholic, and 1.5 percent Hindu. Those identifying with other religious groups, including Buddhism, traditional indigenous religions, Confucianism, and other Christian denominations, and those who did not respond to the census question comprise approximately 1.3 percent of the population.

The Muslim population is overwhelmingly Sunni. An estimated one to three million Muslims are Shia. Many smaller Muslim groups exist; estimates put the total number of Ahmadi Muslims at 200,000 to 400,000.

An estimated 20 million people, primarily in Java, Kalimantan, and Papua, practice various traditional belief systems, often referred to collectively as aliran kepercayaan. There are approximately 400 different aliran kepercayaan communities throughout the archipelago. Many religious groups incorporate elements of Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism, making it difficult to disaggregate the exact number of followers.

There is a small Sikh population estimated at between 10,000 and 15,000, primarily in Medan and Jakarta. There are very small Jewish communities in Jakarta, Manado, Jayapura, and elsewhere. The Bahai Faith and Falun Dafa (or Falun Gong) community report thousands of members, but no independent estimates are available. The number of atheists is also unknown, but the group Indonesian Atheists states it has more than 500 members.

The province of Bali is predominantly Hindu, and the provinces of Papua, West Papua, East Nusa Tenggara, and North Sulawesi are predominantly Christian.


Section I. Religious Demography

The U.S. government estimates the total population at 126.7 million (July 2016 estimate). A report by the government’s Agency for Cultural Affairs (ACA) indicates that membership in religious groups totaled 190 million as of December 31, 2014. This number, substantially more than the country’s population, reflects many citizens’ affiliation with multiple religions. For example, it is common for followers of Buddhism to participate in religious ceremonies and events of other religions, such as Shinto, and vice versa. Also, the definition of follower and the method of counting followers varies with each religious organization, according to the ACA. According to the ACA, religious affiliation includes 92 million Shinto followers (48.5 percent), 87 million Buddhists (45.8 percent), and 1.9 million Christians (1 percent), while 8.9 million (4.7 percent) followed other religions. The category of “other” and nonregistered religious groups includes Islam, the Bahai Faith, Hinduism, and Judaism.

The indigenous Ainu people mainly practice an animist faith and are concentrated in northern Honshu and Hokkaido with smaller numbers in Tokyo. Most immigrants and foreign workers practice religions other than Buddhism or Shinto, according to a nongovernmental organization (NGO) in close contact with foreign workers.


Section I. Religious Demography

The U.S. government estimates the total population at 30.9 million (July 2016 estimate). Census figures from 2010 indicate that 61.3 percent of the population practices Islam; 19.8 percent, Buddhism; 9.2 percent, Christianity; 6.3 percent, Hinduism; and 1.3 percent, Confucianism, Taoism, or other traditional Chinese philosophies and religions. Other minority religious groups include animists, Sikhs, and Bahais. Ethnic Malays, who are defined in the federal constitution as Muslims from birth, account for approximately 55 percent of the population. Rural areas – especially in the east coast of peninsular Malaysia – are predominantly Muslim, while the states of Sabah and Sarawak on the island of Borneo have relatively higher numbers of non-Muslims.


Section I. Religious Demography

The U.S. government estimates the total population at 102.6 million (July 2016 estimate). According to the 2010 census conducted by the National Statistics Office, approximately 81 percent of the population is Roman Catholic. Approximately 9 percent belong to other Christian groups, including the following internationally based denominations: the Seventh-day Adventists, United Church of Christ, United Methodists, Episcopal Church in the Philippines, Bible Baptist Church, other Protestant churches, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons); and the following domestically established churches: Iglesia ni Cristo (Church of Christ), Philippine Independent Church (Aglipayan), Members Church of God International, the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, and the Name Above Every Name. Approximately 6 percent of the population is Muslim and the remaining 4 percent did not report a religious affiliation or belong to other groups, such as the various animistic and syncretic religions of some of the Lumad, or indigenous tribes.

A more recent estimate, made in 2012 by the NCMF, indicates that approximately 10-12 percent of the total population is Muslim. Most Muslims are members of various ethnic minority groups. The majority of Muslims reside in Mindanao and nearby islands in the south. Although most are Sunni, a small number of Shia live in the provinces of Lanao del Sur and Zamboanga del Sur on Mindanao. An increasing number of Muslims are migrating to the urban centers of Manila and Cebu.

Republic of Korea

Section I. Religious Demography

The U.S. government estimates the total population at 50.9 million (July 2016 estimate). According to a 2016 census released by the Korea Statistical Information Service, approximately 16 percent of the population is Buddhist; 20 percent Protestant; 8 percent Roman Catholic; and 56 percent professes no religious belief. The census counts members of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), the Seventh-day Adventists, and the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (Unification Church) as Protestants. Followers of all other religious groups, including Won Buddhism, Confucianism, Jeongsando, Cheondogyo, Daejonggyo, Daesun Jinrihoe, and Islam together constitute less than 1 percent of the population. There is a small Jewish population consisting almost entirely of expatriates. The Muslim population is estimated at 135,000, with approximately 100,000 consisting of expatriates and migrant workers, according to the Korean Muslim Federation.


Section I. Religious Demography

The U.S. government estimates the total population at 5.9 million (July 2016 estimate). The local government estimates 3.9 million of this total are citizens or permanent residents, of which 81.5 percent state a religious affiliation. Approximately 33.2 percent of the total population of citizens and permanent residents are Buddhist, 18.8 percent Christian, 14 percent Muslim (predominantly Sunni), 10 percent Taoist, and 5 percent Hindu. Groups together constituting less than 1 percent of the population include Sikhs, Zoroastrians, Jains, Jews, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and the Unification Church.

According to a 2015 national survey, 74.3 percent of the population is ethnic Chinese, 13.3 percent ethnic Malay, 9.1 percent ethnic Indian, and 3.2 percent other, including Eurasians. Nearly all ethnic Malays are Muslim. Among ethnic Indians, 59.9 percent are Hindu, 21.3 percent are Muslim, and 12.1 percent are Christian. The ethnic Chinese population includes Buddhists (42.3 percent), Christians (20.9 percent), and Taoists (12.9 percent).


Section I. Religious Demography

The U.S. government estimates the total population at 23.4 million (July 2016 estimate). Based on a comprehensive study conducted in 2005, the Religious Affairs Section of the Ministry of the Interior (MOI) estimates 35 percent of the population considers itself to be Buddhist and 33 percent Taoist. Although the MOI has not tracked population data on religious groups since the 2005 study, it states this estimate remains largely unchanged. While the majority of religious adherents categorize themselves as either Buddhist or Taoist, many adherents consider themselves both Buddhist and Taoist, and many others incorporate the religious practices of other faiths into their religious beliefs.

In addition to organized religious groups, many people also practice traditional Chinese folk religions, which include some aspects of shamanism, ancestor worship, and animism. Researchers and academics estimate as much as 80 percent of the population believes in some form of traditional folk religion. Such folk religions frequently overlap with an individual’s belief in Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, or other traditional Chinese religions. Some practitioners of Buddhism, Taoism, and other traditional Chinese religions also practice Falun Gong, a self-described spiritual discipline. According to the Falun Gong Society of Taiwan, Falun Gong membership exceeds one million in more than 1,000 branches island-wide and continues to grow.

Religious groups that total less than 5 percent of the population include I Kuan Tao, Tien Ti Chiao (Heaven Emperor Religion), Tien Te Chiao (Heaven Virtue Religion), Li-ism, Hsuan Yuan Chiao (Yellow Emperor Religion), Tian Li Chiao (Tenrikyo), Universe Maitreya Emperor Religion, Hai Tze Tao, Zhonghua Sheng Chiao (Chinese Holy Religion), Da Yi Chiao (Great Changes Religion), Pre‑cosmic Salvationism, Huang Chung Chiao (Yellow Middle Religion), Roman Catholicism, Islam, the Church of Scientology, the Bahai Faith, Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Mahikari Religion, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), and the Unification, Presbyterian, True Jesus, Baptist, Lutheran, Seventh-day Adventist, and Episcopal Churches. According to Ministry of Labor (MOL) statistics and conversations with religious leaders, the majority of the indigenous population of 551,000 is Protestant or Roman Catholic. Followers of Judaism number about 300 persons and are predominately foreign residents. Some 606,000 foreign workers, primarily from Southeast Asia, differ in religious adherence from the general population. The largest single group of foreign workers is from Indonesia, with a population of approximately 239,000 persons who are largely Muslim. Workers from the Philippines – numbering approximately 134,000 persons – are predominately Roman Catholic.


Section I. Religious Demography

The U.S. government estimates the total population at 68.2 million (July 2016 estimate). According to the 2010 census, the population is 93 percent Buddhist and 5 percent Muslim. NGOs, academics, and religious groups state that 85 to 95 percent of the population is Theravada Buddhist and 5 to 10 percent Muslim. Groups that together constitute less than 5 percent of the population include animists, Christians, Confucians, Hindus, Jews, Sikhs, and Taoists.

Most Buddhists also incorporate Hindu and animist practices into their worship. The Buddhist clergy (sangha) consists of two main schools of Theravada Buddhism, Mahanikaya and Dhammayuttika. The former is older and more prevalent within the monastic community. The same religious hierarchy governs both groups.

Islam is the dominant religion in four of the five southernmost provinces (Narathiwat, Yala, Satun, and Pattani) near the Malaysian border referred to as the “Deep South.” The majority of Muslims in those provinces are ethnic Malay, but the Muslim population nationwide also includes descendants of immigrants from South Asia, China, Cambodia, and Indonesia, as well as ethnic Thai. Statistics provided by the Religious Affairs Department (RAD) of the Ministry of Culture indicate that almost all Muslims (99 percent) are Sunni.

The majority of ethnic Chinese and Vietnamese practice either Mahayana or Theravada Buddhism. Many ethnic Chinese, as well as members of the Mien hill tribe, also practice forms of Taoism.

The majority of Christians are ethnic Chinese, and more than half of the Christian community is Roman Catholic.


Section I. Religious Demography

The U.S. government estimates the total population at 95.3 million (July 2016 estimate). According to statistics released by the Government Committee for Religious Affairs (CRA) in December, approximately 27 percent of the population consists of religious believers. According to previous CRA statistics, 95 percent of the population professes “religious or spiritual beliefs,” with more than half of the population identifying as Buddhist. Within that community, Mahayana Buddhism is the dominant affiliation of the Kinh (Viet) ethnic majority, while approximately 1.2 percent of the population, almost all from the ethnic minority Khmer group, practices Theravada Buddhism. Roman Catholics constitute 7 percent of the total population; Cao Dai, 2.5 to 4 percent; Hoa Hao Buddhists, 1.5 to 3 percent; and Protestants, 1 to 2 percent.

Smaller religious groups that together comprise less than 0.2 percent of the population include a devotional form of Hinduism mostly practiced by 50,000 ethnic Cham in the south-central coastal area; approximately 100,000 Muslims, who are scattered throughout the country (approximately 40 percent are Sunnis; the remaining 60 percent practice Bani Islam); an estimated 8,000 members of the Bahai Faith; and approximately 1,000 members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter‑day Saints (Mormons). Religious groups originating within the country (Buu Son Ky Huong, Tu An Hieu Nghia, To Tien Chinh Giao) and religious groups relatively new to the country (such as Brahmanism) comprise a total of 1.4 percent. A small, mostly foreign Jewish population exists in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

Other citizens claim no religious affiliation, or practice animism or the veneration of ancestors, tutelary and protective saints, national heroes, or local, respected persons. Many individuals blend traditional practices with religious teachings, particularly Buddhism and Christianity.

Ethnic minorities constitute approximately 14 percent of the population. Based on adherents’ estimates, two-thirds of Protestants are members of ethnic minorities, including groups in the Northwest Highlands (H’mong, Dzao, Thai, and others) and in the Central Highlands (Ede, Jarai, Sedang, and M’nong, among others, including groups referred to as Montagnards or Degar). The Khmer Krom ethnic group overwhelmingly practices Theravada Buddhism.

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