Section I. Religious Demography
The U.S. government estimates the total population at 5.7 million (July 2016 estimate). According to Kyrgyz government estimates, approximately 85 percent of the population is Muslim, the vast majority of whom are Sunni. The government estimates Shia make up less than 1 percent of the Muslim population. According to an international organization, there is also a small Ahmadiyya Muslim Community not reflected in government figures estimated at 1000 individuals. According to NGO estimates, 5 percent of the population is Russian Orthodox and approximately 10 percent is unaffiliated or adheres to other religious groups, including Baptists, Lutherans, Pentecostals, Presbyterians, charismatics, Seventh-day Adventists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Roman Catholics, Jews, Buddhists, and Bahais.
According to the National Statistics Committee, ethnic Kyrgyz make up approximately 73 percent of the country’s population, while ethnic Uzbeks comprise approximately 14.5 percent. Ethnic Uzbeks are most numerous in the South, making up almost half the population of the southern city of Osh, for example. Both ethnic Kyrgyz and ethnic Uzbeks are primarily Muslim, making Islam the main religion in both urban and rural areas. Ethnic Russians mostly belong to the Russian Orthodox Church or one of the several Protestant denominations. Members of the Russian Orthodox Church and other non-Muslim religious groups live mainly in major cities.