Religious Beliefs In El Salvador

A Christian church in the center of a town in El Salvador.
A Christian church in the center of a town in El Salvador.

The Central American country of El Salvador is the region’s smallest nation. With a population of about 6.34 million living in an area of 21,041 square km, El Salvador is also the most densely populated region. The majority of the country’s population comprises of Mestizos with native American or European ancestry.

Christianity is the dominant religion in the country. Christians account for nearly 80% of the total population of El Salvador. 17% of the population are atheists and agnostics or do not claim to be affiliated with any religion. The remaining 3% of the population are affiliated with religions like Islam, Hinduism, Judaism, Buddhism, etc.

The Largest Religion In El Salvador

Both Catholics and Protestants have a significant presence in El Salvador. About 43% of the population adhere to the Catholic Church of the country. The Catholic Church is recognized by the country’s Constitution and granted a legal status in the country. Catholicism was introduced in El Salvador following the invasion of the country by a Spanish conquistador in the 16th century. Although the religion grew fast in the country since then to become the most popular religion in El Salvador, in recent times, the religion has experienced a decline in popularity. The decline is most noticeable in the younger age group than the elderly people.

Protestant Christians account for 37% of the population of the country making this group the second largest Christian group in El Salvador. Other Christian denominations also have followers in the country in lower numbers.

Other Religions Practiced In El Salvador

Several other religions are practiced by El Salvador’s minority communities. Most of the Muslims of the country trace their origins to Yemen. There are around 1000 to 1500 Muslims residing in the country. Central America’s first Islamic magazine was published by El Salvador’s Shia community. Jews have had a presence in El Salvador since the beginning of the 19th-century. The Sephardic Jews were the first to arrive from Spain and later, the Ashkenazi Jews arrived to escape the persecution during the Second World War. Hindus and Buddhists in El Salvador are mainly from South and Southeast Asia. A small percentage of the indigenous people of El Salvador also practice their traditional religions which are based on spirit and nature worship.


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