Religion in Jamaica

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According to the most recent census (2001), religious affiliation in Jamaica consists of 64% Christian (62% Protestant and 2% Roman Catholic), 2% Jehovah's Witnesses, 3% unstated, and 10% other.[1] The category other includes 24,020 Rastafarians, an estimated 5,000 Muslims, 3,000 Buddhists 1,453 Hindus, approximately 350 Jews and the census reported 21% who claimed no religious affiliation.[1]



62% of the Jamaican population are Protestants. Jamaican Protestantism are composed of several denominations: 24% Church of God, 11% Seventh-day Adventist, 10% Pentecostal, 7% Baptist, 4% Anglican, 2% United Church, 2% Methodist, 1% Moravian and 1% Brethren.

The Church of God has 111 congregations in 6 regions:[2]

Roman Catholicism in Jamaica[edit]

There are about 50,000 (2%) Catholics in Jamaica, which is divided into three dioceses, including one archdiocese:

The Missionaries of the Poor monastic order originated in Kingston, Jamaica.

Rastafari movement[edit]

The Rastafari movement or Rasta is a new religious movement that arose in the 1930s in Jamaica, which at the time was a country with a predominantly Christian culture where 98% of the people were the black descendants of slaves.[3][4] Its adherents worship Haile Selassie I, Emperor of Ethiopia (ruled 1930–1974), as God incarnate, the Second Advent.

Other religions[edit]

Other popular religions in Jamaica include Islam, Bahá'í Faith with perhaps 8000 Bahá'ís[5] and 21 Local Spiritual Assemblies,[6] Buddhism, Sikhism and Hinduism.[7] There is also a small population of around 200 Jews forming the Shaare Shalom Synagogue in Kingston, who describe themselves as Liberal-Conservative.[8] The first Jews in Jamaica trace their roots back to early 15th century Spain and Portugal.[9] Islam in Jamaica estimate a total Muslim population of 5,000.[10]

Religious freedom[edit]

Jamaica's constitution provides for freedom of religion, laws and policies contribute to the generally free practice of religion.[1] The law at all levels protects this right in full against abuse, either by governmental or private actors. The Government generally respects religious freedom in practice.[1] In 2008, the U.S. government learned of no reports of societal abuses or discrimination based on religious affiliation, belief, or practice.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e International Religious Freedom Report 2008: Jamaica. U.S. Department of State (2008)  This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Rastafari, roots and Ideology". OneWorld Magazine. Retrieved 2010-02-01. 
  4. ^ ""Dread Jesus": A New View of the Rastafari Movement". Retrieved 2010-02-01. 
  5. ^ "Map Source:". Online. 2007.  |chapter= ignored (help)
  6. ^ Bahá'í International Community (2006-08-11). "Jamaicans celebrate 4th National Baha'i Day". Bahá'í World News Service. 
  7. ^[dead link],
  8. ^ Haruth Communications, Harry Leichter. "Jamaican Jews". Retrieved 2009-07-04. 
  9. ^ Dawes, Mark (2003-06-10). publisher=Gleaner Co. "Jews hold firm Life goes on in Old Synagogue". Retrieved 2007-12-15. [dead link]
  10. ^ "Jamaica". 2007-09-14. Retrieved 2009-07-04.