Religion in South America
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Religion in South America

Religion in South America is characterized as a continent where the majority of the population professes the Catholic faith, with a notable increase of Protestants and people without religion.

Religious freedom

Currently, all countries in the region in general are separate of the Catholic Church and declared laic states, which guarantees freedom of religion for its inhabitants. The last country to approve the freedom of religion was Bolivia (since 2008).


The Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida is the second largest in the world, after only of the Basilica of Saint Peter in Vatican City.[1]

According to the Association of Religion Data Archives 91.9% of the South American population is Christian,[2] although less than half of them are praticant.


Except for Suriname and Uruguay, the more professed religion in the South American countries is the Catholic religion. While countries such as Paraguay, Peru, Colombia and Argentina more than three-quarters of the population is Catholic, in Chile it is 57%.

Catholicism was the only religion allowed in the colonial era, the indigenous were forced to abandon their beliefs, although many did not abandon it at all, for example, countries with predominantly Amerindian population such as Bolivia and Peru there is a syncretism between indigenous religions and the Catholic religion, that has occurred since colonial times. In Brazil or Colombia, Catholicism was mixed with certain African rituals.


Protestantism has been a presence since the nineteenth century, as a minority, but has had a strong increase since the 1980s. The majority of Latin American Protestants in general are Pentecostals.[3]Brazil today is the most evangelical country in South America, where 89% of Brazilians evangelicals are Pentecostals, in Chile represents 79% of the total evangelicals in that country, 69% in Argentina and 59% in Colombia.[3] On the other part, in Uruguay 66% of evangelicals are Methodists, while only 20% are Pentecostal.[3]

Other Christian

Practitioners of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Jehovah's Witnesses religions also are exercised in Latin America.

Non-Christian Religions

The Mosque of Abou Bakr Alsiddq in Bogotá.

Argentina has the largest communities of both Jews[4][5][6] and Muslims[7][8][9] in Latin America.

Brazil is the country with more practitioners in the world of Allan Kardec's Spiritism. Practitioners of the Judaism, Buddhist, Islamic, Hinduism, Bahá'í Faith, and Shinto denominations and religions also exercised in Latin America.[10]

Indigenous creeds and rituals are still practiced in countries with large percentages of Amerindians, such as Bolivia and Peru.


Part of Religions in South America (2013):[11]

Countries Christians Roman Catholics Other Christians Others, no religion (atheists and agnostics) and no answer
 Argentina 84 % 77 % 7 % 16 %
 Bolivia 93 % 76 % 17 % 7 %
 Brazil 84 % 63 % 21 % 16 %
 Chile 70 % 57 % 13 % 30 %
 Colombia 78 % 75 % 3 % 22 %
 Ecuador 93 % 81 % 12 % 7 %
 Paraguay 96 % 88 % 8 % 4 %
 Perú 87 % 77 % 10 % 13 %
 Suriname 48 % 21 % 27 % 52 %
 Uruguay 49 % 41 % 8 % 51 %
 Venezuela 91 % 79 % 12 % 9 %

See also


  1. ^ Facts of Basilica of Aparecida
  2. ^ Largest Religious Groups (South America). The Association of Religion Data Archives (ARDA)
  3. ^ a b c «Luis Palau: Evangelist to Three Worlds», Christianity Today, 20 de mayo de 1983, pp. 30-1. Luis Palau, «The Gospel's Social Impact», Briefing (Portland, Oregon: Cruzada Luis Palau), verano de 1984, pp. 14-16.
  4. ^ LeElef, Ner. "World Jewish Population". Retrieved . 
  5. ^ The Jewish People Policy Planning Institute; Annual Assessment, 2007
  6. ^ United Jewish Communities; Global Jewish Populations
  7. ^ Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs - Background Note: Argentina
  8. ^ International Religious Freedom Report 2008 - Argentina
  9. ^ Árabes y musulmanes en América Latina
  10. ^ LANIC religion page
  11. ^ "Las religiones en tiempos del Papa Francisco" (PDF) (in Spanish). Latinobarómetro. April 2014. p. 7. Archived from the original (pdf) on 4 April 2015. Retrieved 2015. 

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