Religion in Belize

Last updated

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%)
   No religion (15.5%)
  Other religions (11.2%)
Holy Redeemer Cathedral in Belize City, built 1858. HRrubenFromEast fixed.jpg
Holy Redeemer Cathedral in Belize City, built 1858.

Christianity is the dominant religion in Belize . [1] The single largest denomination is the Roman Catholic Church with about 40.1% of the population (129,456 adherents), a reduction from 49.6% of the population in 2000, 57.7% in 1991 and 61.9% in 1980, 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, Baháʼís, Rastafarians and others.

Contents

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 followers of the Baháʼí Faith (down slightly from the 2000 census, which counted 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 Baháʼí, 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 Baháʼís in Belize in that year, as well as the highest proportion of Baháʼís in any country (though not nearly the highest absolute number). [5] The 2010 Belize Population Census, however, recorded only 202 Baháʼís 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 freedom

The constitution of Belize establishes the freedom of religion. Discrimination on religious grounds is illegal. A law against blasphemy is unenforced. The Council of Churches, a body which includes representatives from several Christian denominations, appoints one senator to the senate of Belize with the approval of the Governor-General. The law also establishes that prisoners in jails must have their religious beliefs respected and accommodated. [10]

Religious groups are required to register with the government in order to operate in the country. Religious groups are exempt from certain taxes. Missionaries are required to register with the government and purchase a religious worker's permit. [10]

The public school curriculum for primary schools includes nondenominational "spirituality" classes that introduce world religions, as well as ethics and morals associated with religion. Most public schools are managed by Christian churches. A few schools are run by non-Christian religious groups. [10]

Census results

Religion in Belize – 2010 Census, simplified
Religionpercent
Roman Catholic
40.4%
Protestant
31.8%
Jehovah's Witnesses
1.7%
Mormon
0.4%
Other religion
9.6%
No religion
15.6%
No response
0.3%
Main Religious Denominations in Belize
2000120102
Number%Number%
Total Population232,111304,106
Christian193,15083.3226,51574.3
- Roman Catholic 115,03549.6123,01040.4
- Total Protestant78,11531.8103,50531.8
- Anglican 12,3865.314,0164.6
- Baptist 8,0773.511,0093.6
- Mennonite 9,4974.111,6583.8
- Methodist 8,0243.58,8212.9
- Nazarene 6,1172.68,6602.8
- Pentecostal 17,1897.425,8998.5
- Seventh-day Adventist 12,1605.216,6655.5
- Salvation Army 3710.23700.1
- Jehovah’s Witnesses 3,3661.55,1141.7
- Mormon 9280.41,2930.4
No Religious Affiliation21,7959.447,51115.6
Other15,7996.829,3249.6
- Buddhist --7570.3
- Hindu 3670.26120.2
- Muslim 2430.15770.2
- Other15,1896.527,3788.9
No response1,3670.67560.3

See also

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References

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Belize Population and Housing Census 2010: Country Report (PDF). Belmopan, Belize C.A.: he Statistical Institute of Belize. 2013. p. 23. Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 January 2016. Retrieved 12 September 2015.
  2. 1 2 National Census Report 2000, Belize (PDF). pp. 23–25. ISBN   978-976-600-209-1 . Retrieved 12 September 2015.
  3. "Facts and Statistics: Belize". The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Retrieved 22 November 2015.
  4. "Belize: Religious Adherents (2010)". The Association for Religion Data Archives. Retrieved 21 November 2015.
  5. "Most Baha'i (sic) Nations (2005)". The Association for Religion Data Archives. Retrieved 21 November 2015.
  6. "2010 Census of Belize Overview". 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2017.
  7. "2010 Census of Belize Detailed Demographics of 2000 and 2010". 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2017.
  8. Orthodox Church of Belize homepage
  9. Muslim community officially opens Belize City Mosque
  10. 1 2 3 International Religious Freedom Report 2017 Belize , US Department of State, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor