Religion In Belize
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Religion in Belize

Religion in Belize (2010 census)[1]

  Roman Catholic (40.1%)
  Pentecostal (8.4%)
  Seventh Day Adventist (5.4%)
  Anglican (4.7%)
  Mennonite (3.7%)
  Baptist (3.6%)
  Methodist (2.9%)
  Nazarene (2.8%)
  Jehovah's Witness (1.7%)
  Not religious (15.5%)
  Other religions (11.2%)

Belize is a small country with a total population of 322,453 according to the 2010 census.[1] The largest single denomination is the Roman Catholic Church with about 40.1% of the population (129,456 adherents), a reduction from 49.4% of the population in 2000 and 57.71% in 1991, although absolute numbers have still risen.[1][2] Other major groups include Pentecostal with 8.4% of the population up from 7.4% in 2000 and 6.3% in 1991, Seventh-day Adventists with 5.4% of the population up from 5.2% in 2000 and 4.1% in 1991. The following of the Anglican Church has been steadily declining, with only 4.7% of the population in 2010 compared to 6.95% in 1991.[1][2] About 12,000 Mennonites (3.7% of the population)[1] live mostly in the rural districts of Cayo and Orange Walk. People who declared they belong to no religion make up 15.5% of the population (just under 50,000 people) in 2010, more than double their 2000 census numbers.[1] 11.2% adhere to other religions which include the Maya religion, Afro-American religions (Garifuna religion, Obeah and Myalism), Mormons, Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, Bahá'ís, Rastafarians and others.

There were 1,333 Mormons in 2010[1] though The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints claims 4,807 members as of 2015 (in 11 congregations).[3]

The 2010 census also found 216 Bahá'ís (down slightly from the 2000 census which found 219). It also found small numbers of Buddhists (820 or 0.3% of the population), Hindus (about 650), and Muslims (about 620).[1] However, the Association of Religion Data Archives states that as of 2005, 2.5% of the population identifies as Bahá'í, 2.0% identifies as Hindu, 1.1% identifies as Jewish, 1.0% identifies as spiritists, 0.6% identifies as followers of indigenous religions, 0.5% identifies as Muslim, and 0.5% identifies as Buddhist.[4] They estimate there were 7,776 Bahá'ís in Belize in that year, as well as the highest proportion of Bahá'ís in any country (though not nearly the highest absolute number).[5] The 2010 Belize Population Census, however, recorded only 202 Bahá'ís out of a total population of 304,106,[6][7] yielding a proportion of 0.066%, far less than 2.5%.

Belizean Roman Catholic churches belong to the Diocese of Belize City-Belmopan; Anglican churches belong to the Diocese of Belize, part of the Church in the Province of the West Indies. Catholics frequently visit the country for special gospel revivals. The Greek Orthodox Church has a presence in Santa Elena.[8] Muslims have been in Belize since the 18th century. Activism of the 1960s saw many converts to Islam. It is also common among Middle Eastern immigrants and has gained a following among some Kriols. Mosques continue to be built in major cities.[9]Hinduism is followed by most Indian immigrants.

Religious conditions

The Constitution of Belize provides for freedom of religion, and other laws and policies contribute to the generally free practice of religion. The Government at all levels protects this right in full against abuse, either by governmental or private actors. According to the United States Department of State, the Government generally respects religious freedom in practice; however, it does note that the sole prison is managed by a Christian non-government organization and that one member of the 13 member senate is appointed by the Governor General with advice of the Council of Churches and the Evangelical Association of Churches. In 2014, the U.S. government received no reports of societal abuses or discrimination based on religious affiliation, belief, or practice.[10]

Census results

Main Religious Denominations in Belize
20001 20102
Number  % Number  %
Total Population 232,111 304,106
Christian 193,150 83.2 226,515 74.5
- Roman Catholic 115,035 49.5 123,010 40.5
- Total Protestant 78,115 33.7 103,505 34.0
- Anglican 12,386 5.3 14,016 4.6
- Baptist 8,077 3.5 11,009 3.6
- Jehovah's Witness 3,366 1.5 5,114 1.7
- Mennonite 9,497 4.1 11,658 3.8
- Methodist 8,024 3.5 8,821 2.9
- Mormon 928 0.4 1,293 0.4
- Nazarene 6,117 2.6 8,660 2.8
- Pentecostal 17,189 7.4 25,899 8.5
- Seventh Day Adventist 12,160 5.2 16,665 5.5
- Salvation Army 371 0.2 370 0.1
No Religious Affiliation 21,795 9.4 47,511 15.6
Other 15,799 6.8 29,324 9.6
- Buddhist - - 757 0.3
- Hindu 367 0.2 612 0.2
- Muslim 243 0.1 577 0.2
- Other 15,189 6.5 27,378 8.9
No response 1,367 0.6 756 0.3

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Belize Population and Housing Census 2010: Country Report (PDF). Belmopan, Belize C.A.: he Statistical Institute of Belize. 2013. p. 23. Retrieved 2015. 
  2. ^ a b National Census Report 2000, Belize (PDF). pp. 23-25. ISBN 978-976-600-209-1. Retrieved 2015. 
  3. ^ "Facts and Statistics: Belize". The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Retrieved 2015. 
  4. ^ "Belize: Religious Adherents (2010)". The Association for Religion Data Archives. Retrieved 2015. 
  5. ^ "Most Baha'i Nations (2005)". The Association for Religion Data Archives. Retrieved 2015. 
  6. ^ "2010 Census of Belize Overview". 2011. Retrieved 2017. 
  7. ^ "2010 Census of Belize Detailed Demographics of 2000 and 2010". 2011. Retrieved 2017. 
  8. ^ Orthodox Church of Belize homepage
  9. ^ Muslim community officially opens Belize City Mosque
  10. ^ "International Religious Freedom Report for 2014: Belize". United States Department of State. Retrieved 2015. 

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