Section I. Religious Demography

The U.S. government estimates the total population at 1.8 million (July 2018 estimate).  Estimates of the religious composition of the population vary widely, but according to a 2010 study by the Pew Research Center, approximately 45 percent is Muslim, 31 percent follows indigenous religious practices, and 22 percent is Christian.  There are small communities of Buddhists, Hindus, and Jews, many of whom are foreign citizens.

The Fula (Peuhl or Fulani) and Mandinka (Malinke) ethnic groups are the most numerous followers of Islam.  Muslims generally live in the north and northeast, and most Muslims are Sunni; Shia communities exist as well.  Adherents of indigenous religious beliefs generally live in all but the northern parts of the country.  The Christian population, including Roman Catholics and Protestants, is primarily from the Pepel, Manjaco, and Balanta ethnic groups and is concentrated in Bissau and along the coast.  Catholics represent more than half of the Christian population, while Brazilian Protestant and other Protestant denominations maintain a significant number of congregations and missions throughout the country.  Large numbers of Muslims and Christians hold indigenous beliefs as well.


Section I. Religious Demography

The U.S. government estimates the total population at 38.4 million (July 2018 estimate).  The Polish government statistical yearbook for 2018, which publishes the membership population for religious groups that voluntarily submit the information for publication, reports 86 percent of the population identifies as Roman Catholic.  The next largest religious groups are the Polish Orthodox Church, with approximately half a million members (although religious groups report that the number of Orthodox worshippers has doubled with an influx of migrant Ukrainian workers), and Jehovah’s Witnesses, with approximately 120,000 members.  Other religious groups include Lutherans, Pentecostals, the Old Catholic Mariavite Church, the Polish National Catholic Church, Seventh-day Adventists, Baptists, Church of Christ, Methodists, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, and Buddhists.  Some Jewish groups estimate there are 20,000 Jews, while other estimates put the number as high as 40,000.  Muslim groups estimate there are 25,000 Muslims.  Approximately 10 percent of Muslims are ethnic Tatars, a group present in the country for several hundred years.  A Central Statistical Office survey  published in December reported 91.9 percent of citizens aged 16 years or older identify as Roman Catholic and 1.7 percent as belonging to other denominations, including Orthodox (0.9 percent), Jehovah’s Witnesses (0.2 percent), or other Protestant groups (0.3 percent).  Approximately 3 percent reported no religious identification.

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The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future