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Argentina

Section I. Religious Demography

The U.S. government estimates the total population at 45.1 million (midyear 2019 estimate). Religious demographic and statistical data from nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), research centers, and religious leaders vary. According to a 2019 survey by Conicet, the country’s national research institute, 62.9 percent of the population is Catholic; 15.3 Protestant, including evangelical groups; 18.9 percent no religion, which includes agnostics; 1.4 percent Jehovah’s Witnesses and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Church of Jesus Christ); 1.2 percent other, including Muslims and Jews; and 0.3 percent unknown. Other sources state Seventh-day Adventists, Baptists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Lutherans, Methodists, and members of the Church of Jesus Christ together total 3 percent of the population. According to AMIA, there are 220,000 Jews in the country, and the Islamic Center estimates the Muslim population at 800,000 to 1,000,000. Evangelical Christian communities, particularly Pentecostals, are growing, but no reliable statistics are available. There is also a small number of Baha’is, Buddhists, and adherents of indigenous religions in the country; however, no data are available on the size of these groups.

Chile

Section I. Religious Demography

The U.S. government estimates the total population at 18.1 million (midyear 2019 estimate). According to ONAR’s 2018 estimates, approximately 60 percent of the population self-identifies as Roman Catholic and an estimated 18 percent identifies as “evangelical,” a term used in the country to refer to non-Catholic Christian groups, including Episcopalians, but not The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Church of Jesus Christ), Jehovah’s Witnesses, Orthodox Churches (including the Armenian, Greek, Persian, Serbian, and Ukrainian communities), and Seventh-day Adventists. In the most recent census that included religious affiliation, conducted in 2002, Baha’is, Buddhists, Jews, Muslims, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Seventh-day Adventists, members of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (Unification Church), Church of Jesus Christ, the Orthodox Churches, and other unspecified religious groups together constituted less than 5 percent of the population. An estimated 4 percent of the population identifies as atheist or agnostic, while 17 percent of the population identifies as nonreligious. According to ONAR, 9 percent of the population self-identifies as indigenous, of which approximately 30 percent identify as Catholic, 38 percent as evangelical, and 6 percent as other; the remaining 26 percent did not identify with any religion. ONAR states that many of those individuals also incorporate traditional indigenous faith practices into their worship.

Colombia

Section I. Religious Demography

The U.S. government estimates the total population at 48.6 million (midyear 2019 estimate). The Roman Catholic Church estimates 75 percent of the population is Catholic. According to a 2017 survey by the NGO Latinobarometer, 73 percent of the population is Catholic, 14 percent Protestant, and 11 percent atheist or agnostic. Groups that together constitute less than 2 percent of the population include nondenominational worshipers or members of other religious groups, including Jews, Muslims, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Seventh-day Adventists, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Church of God Ministry of Jesus Christ International, and Mennonites. The Colombian Confederation of Jewish Communities (CJCC) estimates there are approximately 5,500 Jews. There is also a small population of adherents to animism and various syncretic beliefs.

Some religious groups are concentrated in certain geographical regions. Most of those who blend Catholicism with elements of African animism are Afro-Colombians and reside on the Pacific coast. Most Jews reside in major cities (approximately 70 percent in Bogota), most Muslims on the Caribbean coast, and most adherents of indigenous animistic religions in remote rural areas. A small Taoist community is located in a mountainous region of Santander Department.

Dominican Republic

Section I. Religious Demography

The U.S. government estimates the total population at 10.4 million (midyear 2019 estimate). According to a 2019 Latinobarometer survey, the population is 49 percent Catholic, compared with 55 percent in a 2016 Latinobarometer survey and 68 percent in 2008. The same survey indicates 26 percent of the population is evangelical Protestant, compared with 12 percent in 2008. The 2017 Latinobarometer survey found 21 percent have no declared religion or identify as atheist or agnostic, compared with 13 percent in 2015. Other faiths include Seventh-day Adventists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Church of Jesus Christ, and nonevangelical Protestants. According to a November estimate by the Dominican Council of Evangelical Unity, evangelical Protestants make up approximately 30 percent of the population, with the number of Pentecostals growing the fastest.

According to representatives of the Muslim community, there are approximately 2,000 to 2,500 Muslims throughout the country. Jewish leaders estimate most of the approximately 350 members of the Jewish community live in Santo Domingo, with a small community in Sosua. There are small numbers of Buddhists, Hindus, and Baha’is.

Most Haitian immigrants are Christians, including evangelical Protestants, Catholics, and Seventh-day Adventists. According to the Dominican National Statistics Office, in 2017, the most recent survey year, there were 498,000 Haitian immigrants in the country. An unknown number practice Voodou or other Afro-Caribbean beliefs such as Santeria.

Ecuador

Section I. Religious Demography

The U.S. government estimates the total population at 16.7 million (midyear 2019 estimate). According to a 2012 survey by the National Institute of Statistics and Census, the most recent government survey available, approximately 92 percent of the population professes a religious affiliation or belief. Of those, 80.4 percent is Catholic; 11.3 percent evangelical Christian, including Pentecostals, although many evangelical Christian churches are not affiliated with a particular denomination; and 1.3 percent Jehovah’s Witnesses. Seven percent identify as members of other religious groups, including the Church of Jesus Christ, Buddhists, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Anglicans, Episcopalians, Lutherans, the Greek Orthodox-affiliated Orthodox Church of Ecuador and Latin America, Presbyterians, the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (Unification Church), Baha’is, spiritualists, followers of Inti (the traditional Inca sun god), and indigenous and African faiths. There are also Seventh-day Adventists and practitioners of Santeria, primarily resident Cubans, not listed in the survey results.

Some groups, particularly those in the Amazon jungle, combine indigenous beliefs with Catholicism. Pentecostals draw much of their membership from indigenous persons in the highland provinces. There are Jehovah’s Witnesses throughout the country, with the highest concentrations in coastal areas. Buddhist, Church of Jesus Christ, Jewish, and Muslim populations are primarily concentrated in large urban areas, particularly Quito, Guayaquil, and Cuenca.

Guyana

Section I. Religious Demography

The U.S. government estimates the total population at 745,000 (midyear 2019 estimate). According to the 2012 census, 64 percent of the population is Christian, 25 percent Hindu, 7 percent Muslim (mainly Sunni), and less than 1 percent belongs to other religious groups. Groups that together constitute less than 1 percent of the population include Rastafarians, Baha’is, Afro-descendent Faithists, and Areruya, an indigenous faith system. An estimated 3 percent of the population does not profess a religious affiliation. Among Christians, Pentecostals comprise 23 percent of the national population; Roman Catholics, 7 percent; Anglicans, 5 percent; Seventh-day Adventists, 5 percent; Methodists, 1 percent; The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Church of Jesus Christ), less than 1 percent, and other Christians, 21 percent, which includes those belonging to the Assembly of God Church, Church of Christ, and African Episcopal Methodist Zion Church, among others. The Church of Jesus Christ estimates its membership at approximately 5,800.

The membership of most religious groups includes a cross section of ethnic groups, although nearly all Hindus are of South Asian descent, and most Rastafarians are of African descent.

Paraguay

Section I. Religious Demography

The U.S. government estimates the total population at 7.1 million (midyear 2019 estimate). A 2014 Latinobarometro report estimated 88 percent is Roman Catholic; a 2018 Vatican report estimated 89 percent is Roman Catholic and 6 percent evangelical Protestant. The Association of Evangelical Ministers of Paraguay estimates that 9.6 percent of the population is evangelical Protestant. Groups that together constitute between 1 and 4 percent of the population include Jehovah’s Witnesses, Jews, Church of Jesus Christ, Muslims, Buddhists, Mennonites, Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (Unification Church), and adherents of indigenous tribal beliefs.

Members of the Mennonite Church, who Church leaders estimate to number 46,000, are prominent in the remote areas of the central Chaco and some eastern regions of the country. ICCAN estimates its membership at more than 100,000. The Church of Jesus Christ estimates 70,000 members. According to Muslim leaders, there are approximately 10,000 Muslims, with the majority in Ciudad del Este. Jehovah’s Witnesses estimate the group’s membership at 10,950. According to representatives of the Jewish community, there are approximately 1,000 Jews living primarily in Asuncion.

Peru

Section I. Religious Demography

The U.S. government estimates the total population at 31.6 million (midyear 2019 estimate). The 2017 national census reported the population as 76 percent Catholic (81 percent in 2007); 14 percent Protestant (mainly evangelical Protestant, compared with 13 percent in 2007); 5.1 percent nonreligious; and 4.9 percent other religious groups. The other religious groups include Jews, Muslims, Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Church of Jesus Christ, Israelites of the New Universal Pact (who define themselves as evangelical Protestant), Baha’is, Buddhists, Orthodox Christians (primarily Russian and Greek), and the International Society of Krishna Consciousness.

According to the World Jewish Congress, approximately 3,000 Jews reside in the country, primarily in Lima, Cusco, and Iquitos. According to the Islamic Association of Peru, there are approximately 2,600 Muslims, 2,000 in Lima and 600 in the Tacna region. Lima’s Muslim community is approximately half Arab in origin and half local converts, while Tacna’s is mostly Pakistani. The majority of Muslims are Sunni.

Some indigenous peoples in the far eastern Amazonian jungles practice traditional faiths. Many indigenous communities, particularly Catholics in the Andean highlands, practice a syncretic faith blending Christian and pre-Columbian beliefs.

Suriname

Section I. Religious Demography

The U.S. government estimates the population at 604,000 (midyear 2019 estimate). According to the 2012 census, the most recent available, approximately half of the population is Christian (26 percent Protestant, 22 percent Roman Catholic, 3 percent other Christian). Christian groups include Moravian, Lutheran, Dutch Reformed, evangelical Protestant, Baptist, Methodist, Seventh-day Adventist, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Hindus are 22 percent of the population, including the Sanatan Dharm and the Arya Dewaker. Muslims, including Sunni and Ahmadi Muslims and the World Islamic Call Society, are 14 percent. The remaining 13 percent includes Baha’is, Jews, Buddhists, Brahma Kumaris, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, and three Rastafarian organizations: the Aya Bingi Order, 12th Tribe, and Bobo Shanti.

Some Amerindian and Maroon populations, approximately 3 percent of the population, adhere to indigenous religions. Certain Amerindian groups, concentrated principally in the interior and to a lesser extent in coastal areas, practice shamanism through a medicine man (piaiman). Many Maroons, descendants of Africans who fled Dutch colonial plantations, worship nature. Those of Amerindian and Maroon origin who identify as Christian often combine Christian practices with indigenous religious customs. Some Creoles in urban areas, as well as some Maroons, worship their ancestors through a rite called wintie.

There is some correlation between ethnicity and religion. The Hindustani-speaking population is primarily Hindu, while some ethnic Indians, Javanese, and Creoles practice Islam. Christianity crosses all ethnic backgrounds.

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