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Section I. Religious Demography

The U.S. government estimates the total population at 156.2 million (July 2016 estimate). According to the 2011 census, the latest available, Sunni Muslims constitute 90 percent of the total population, and Hindus 9.5 percent. The remainder of the population is predominantly Christian (mostly Roman Catholic) and Theravada-Hinayana Buddhist. There are also small numbers of Shia Muslims, Bahais, animists, Ahmadi Muslims, agnostics, and atheists. Many of these communities estimate their numbers at between a few thousand and 100,000 adherents. Many ethnic minorities practice minority religions and are concentrated in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) and northern districts. For example, the Garo in Mymensingh are predominantly Christian as are the Santal in Gaibandha. Most Buddhists are members of the indigenous (non-Bengali) populations of the CHT. Bengali and ethnic minority Christians live in communities across the country, with relatively high concentrations in Barisal City, Gournadi in Barisal District, Baniarchar in Gopalganj, Monipuripara, and Christianpara in Dhaka city, Nagori in Gazipur and Khulna city.

The largest noncitizen population consists of Rohingya Muslims. According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, there are 32, 967 Rohingya refugees from Burma registered in the country residing in one of two official refugee camps within Cox’s Bazar district. The International Organization for Migration estimates another 200,000 to 500,000 unregistered Rohingya from Burma are in the southeast in Cox’s Bazar district. As many as 90,000 Rohingya fled to Bangladesh following violence in Rakhine State in October.

International Religious Freedom Reports
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U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future