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Section I. Religious Demography

The U.S. government estimates the total population at 3 million (July 2017 estimate). According to the most recent census conducted in 2011, Sunni Muslims constitute nearly 57 percent of the population, Roman Catholics 10 percent, members of the Autocephalous Orthodox Church of Albania nearly 7 percent, and members of the Bektashi Order (a form of Shia Sufism) 2 percent. Other groups include Protestant denominations, Bahais, Jehovah’s Witnesses, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), and a small Jewish community. Nearly 20 percent of respondents declined to answer the optional question about religious affiliation, creating the potential for an undercount. No other official estimate is expected until the next census in 2021.

Section IV. U.S. Government Policy and Engagement

In meetings with the state commissioner on cults and the ATP, embassy officers continued to urge the government to accelerate its handling of religious property claims and to restore to religious groups their property confiscated during the communist era. In June the embassy sponsored the participation of two individuals, including a diversity specialist in the state police, in an exchange program designed to raise awareness and acceptance of human and civil rights for groups, including religious minority communities. The embassy also sponsored the rector of Beder University to attend a Study of the United States Institutes visit to the United States, with a focus on religious tolerance.

The Ambassador and other embassy officers continued to promote religious tolerance in meetings with the Sunni Muslim, Bektashi, Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant communities, and in visits to churches, mosques, and other religious sites. The Ambassador hosted an iftar for Muslim youth from different communities where he stressed the value of religious dialogue and tolerance.

The embassy continued its youth education programs and its work with religious communities to decrease the potential appeal of violent religious extremism. As part of these programs, students at Islamic, Catholic, and Orthodox religious schools planned and carried out projects celebrating religious diversity and tolerance. Other embassy-sponsored programs focused on promoting women’s empowerment in the religious communities in Elbasan and celebrating religious diversity through sports clinics with students from madrassahs and Catholic and Muslim universities. Additional seminars sponsored by the embassy with key religious figures and leaders in government and academia focused on the compatibility of religious faith and democracy.


Section I. Religious Demography

The U.S. government estimates the total population at 13.8 million (July 2017 estimate). According to the 2015 nationwide Demographic and Health Survey conducted by the government statistics agency, 86 percent of the population is Christian, 11 percent reports no religious affiliation, less than 2 percent adheres uniquely to traditional beliefs, and less than 1 percent is Muslim. According to the survey, of the total population, 37 percent is Apostolic, 21 percent Pentecostal, 16 percent other Protestant, 7 percent Roman Catholic, and 5 percent other Christian.

While there are no reliable statistics regarding the percentage of the Christian population that is syncretic, many Christians also associate themselves with traditional practices, and religious leaders reported a continued increase in syncretism.

The Muslim population is concentrated in rural areas and some high-density suburbs, with smaller numbers living in other suburban neighborhoods. There are also small numbers of Greek Orthodox, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, and Bahais.

Section IV. U.S. Government Policy and Engagement

Embassy representatives met with Catholic, evangelical and other Protestant, Apostolic, and Muslim religious leaders and faith-based NGOs to discuss the status of religious freedom in the country and the role of faith communities in mitigating violence in advance of the 2018 election.

International Religious Freedom Reports
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U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future