Section I. Religious Demography
The U.S. government estimates the total population at 7.0 million (midyear 2021). According to reports by the International Organization for Migration, 12 percent of the population are migrants. Sunni Muslims represent between 90 and 95 percent of the population, Ibadi Muslims account for between 4.5 and 6 percent, and the remainder includes small communities of Christians, Hindus, Baha’is, Buddhists, and Ahmadi Muslims, all of whom are mostly foreigners. Many members of the Amazigh ethnic minority are Ibadi Muslims. Nearly all non-Muslim residents in the country are foreigners. Some Libyan Muslims practice Sufism.
Estimates of the number of Christians vary. According to Open Doors USA’s 2022 World Watch List Country Profile (covering 2021), there are 34,600 Christians. In 2015, Open Doors USA estimated 150 to 180 of these were Libyan nationals who converted from Islam, and the remainder migrant workers.
Foreign Christian communities consist almost exclusively of sub-Saharan African migrants and Filipino foreign workers, with smaller numbers of Egyptian migrants and a small number of other foreign residents of European nationalities. According to Christian groups in Tripoli, most Egyptian Christians are followers of the Coptic Orthodox Church. Most Filipino and some sub-Saharan African migrants are Catholic; the Catholic diocese of Tripoli estimates its followers include 3,000 sub-Saharan Africans and 500 Filipinos, a decline of 2,000 and 1,000, respectively, from the previous year. Estimates of the numbers of other Christian groups vary. According to Open Doors USA, these include Anglicans, Greek and Russian Orthodox, Protestants, and nondenominational Christians.
According to the World Holocaust Remembrance Center Yad Vashem, no Jews reside permanently in the country.