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Section I. Religious Demography

The U.S. government estimates the total population at 5.9 million (midyear 2021).  According to the Singapore government, the citizen population decreased by 0.7 percent, the permanent resident population by 6.2 percent, and the nonpermanent resident population by 10.7 percent since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic to a total population of 5.45 million by June 2021.  According to 2020 census data, of the four million citizens and permanent residents, 31.1 percent of the population of citizens and permanent residents are Buddhist, 18.9 percent Christian, 15.6 percent Muslim (predominantly Sunni), 8.8 percent Taoist, 5 percent Hindu, and 20 percent identify as having no religion.  Groups together constituting less than 1 percent of the population include Sikhs, Zoroastrians, Jains, Jews, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and members of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (Unification Church).  Although estimates varied widely, the government estimates there are 2,500 members in the Jewish community.

According to the 2020 Census, 74.3 percent of the resident population is ethnic Chinese, 13.5 percent ethnic Malay, 9 percent ethnic Indian, and 3.2 percent other, including Eurasians.  Nearly all ethnic Malays are Muslim.  Among ethnic Indians, 57.3 percent are Hindu, 23.4 percent Muslim, and 12.6 percent Christian.  The ethnic Chinese population includes Buddhists (40.4 percent), Christians (21.6 percent), Taoists (11.6 percent), and 25.7 percent with no religion.


Section I. Religious Demography

The U.S. government estimates the total population at 23.6 million (midyear 2021).  According to a survey by the Academia Sinica’s Institute of Sociology released in 2019, 49.3 percent of the population exclusively practices traditional folk religions, 14 percent Buddhism, and 12.4 percent Taoism, with 13.2 percent identifying as nonbelievers.  The rest of the population consists mainly of Protestants (5.5 percent), I-Kuan Tao (2.1 percent), Catholics (1.3 percent), and other religious groups, including Jews, Sunni Muslims, Tien Ti Chiao (Heaven Emperor Religion), Tien Te Chiao (Heaven Virtue Religion), Li-ism, Hsuan Yuan Chiao (Yellow Emperor Religion), Tian Li Chiao (Tenrikyo), Pre-cosmic Salvationism, Church of Scientology, the Baha’i Faith, Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Mahikari, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (Unification Church).

Some studies found that as many as 80 percent of religious practitioners combine multiple faith traditions.  Many adherents consider themselves both Buddhist and Taoist, and many individuals also incorporate some aspects of traditional folk religions, such as shamanism, ancestor worship, and animism, into their belief in Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, or other religions.  Some practitioners of Buddhism, Taoism, and other religions also practice Falun Gong, a self-described spiritual discipline.  According to the Falun Gong Society of Taiwan, Falun Gong practitioners number in the hundreds of thousands.

According to 2021 MOL statistics and the Council of Indigenous Peoples, the majority of the indigenous population of 580,000 is Protestant or Roman Catholic.  There are an estimated 695,000 foreign workers, primarily from Southeast Asia.  The largest group of foreign workers is from Indonesia, consisting of approximately 247,000 persons, who are predominantly Muslim.  The second largest group of workers is from Vietnam, consisting of approximately 243,000 persons, who are predominantly Buddhist.  Workers from the Philippines – numbering approximately 146,000 persons – are predominantly Roman Catholic.

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U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future