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 29,026 Rastas, an estimated 5,000 Muslims, 3,000 Buddhists 1,453 Hindus, approximately 350 Jews. The census reported 21% who claimed no religious affiliation.[1] The largest religion indigenous to Jamaica is Rastafari.[2]



62% of the Jamaican population are Protestants. Jamaican Protestantism is 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 Christian.

The Church of God has 111 congregations in 6 regions:[3]

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.

Latter-day Saints[edit]

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints reports having 5,891 members living in Jamaica.[4] Members of the Church are organized under the Kingston Jamaica Stake, the Mandeville Jamaica District and the Kingston Jamaica Mission and members attend the Panama City Panama Temple.[5][6]

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.[7][8] Its adherents worship Haile Selassie I, Emperor of Ethiopia (ruled 1930–1974), as God incarnate, the Second Advent of Jesus Christ or as Christ in his Kingly Character depending on their views on the Emperor. The 2001 census counted 29,026 Rastafari.[1]

Other religions[edit]

Other popular religions in Jamaica include Islam, Bahá'í Faith with perhaps 8000 Bahá'ís[9] and 21 Local Spiritual Assemblies,[10] Buddhism, Sikhism and Hinduism.[11] There is also a small population of around 200 Jews forming the Shaare Shalom Synagogue in Kingston, who describe themselves as Liberal-Conservative.[12] The first Jews in Jamaica trace their roots back to early 15th century Spain and Portugal.[13] Islam in Jamaica estimate a total Muslim population of 5,000.[14]

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 f 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. ^ Savishinsky, Neil J. "Transnational popular culture and the global spread of the Jamaican Rastafarian movement." NWIG: New West Indian Guide/Nieuwe West-Indische Gids 68.3/4 (1994): 259-281.
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Jamaica - LDS Statistics and Church Facts". Retrieved 2015-08-09. 
  5. ^ "Find Places of Worship - LDS Maps". Retrieved 2015-08-09. 
  6. ^ "Panama City Panama LDS (Mormon) Temple District". Retrieved 2015-08-09. 
  7. ^ "Rastafari, roots and Ideology". OneWorld Magazine. Retrieved 2010-02-01. 
  8. ^ ""Dread Jesus": A New View of the Rastafari Movement". Retrieved 2010-02-01. 
  9. ^ "Map Source:". Online. 2007.  |contribution= ignored (help)
  10. ^ Bahá'í International Community (2006-08-11). "Jamaicans celebrate 4th National Baha'i Day". Bahá'í World News Service. 
  11. ^, Archived February 21, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  12. ^ Haruth Communications, Harry Leichter. "Jamaican Jews". Retrieved 2009-07-04. 
  13. ^ Dawes, Mark (2003-06-10). "Jews hold firm Life goes on in Old Synagogue". Gleaner Co. Archived from the original on November 30, 2004. Retrieved 2007-12-15. 
  14. ^ "Jamaica". 2007-09-14. Retrieved 2009-07-04.