Religious Beliefs In Panama

A Catholic church in Panama City, Panama.
A Catholic church in Panama City, Panama.

The Central American country of Panama is home to around 3.7 million people. Although Panama’s government does not gather statistics on the basis of the population’s religious affiliations, some sources have estimated the religious demographics of the country. According to the CIA World Factbook, Roman Catholicism is the religion of the majority in Panama. About 85% of the population is affiliated to this religion. Almost the entire remaining population are Protestant Christians. A small number of followers of other faiths like the Bahá'í Faith, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and other Christian denominations also inhabit Panama. Indigenous religions like the Mamatata and Ibeorgun are practiced by the Kuna peoples and the Nogbes, respectively.

Distribution Of Religion In Panama

Roman Catholics are found all over Panama and in every stratum of the society. Evangelicals are also found throughout the nation. The followers of other Christian denominations like the Lutheran Church, Baptist congregations, United Methodist, etc., are primarily from the expatriate and Antillean communities of Panama. Those of Muslim, Hindu,  or Jewish faith also represent a minority population in Panama, primarily in Panama City. 

The Largest Religion In Panama

As with the rest of Latin America, Roman Catholicism arrived in Panama with the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors. The Spanish promoted their religion with the help of Christian missionaries who arrived in the region in large numbers during colonial rule. The Diocese of Panama, which was established in 1514, is one of the oldest in the Americas. Later, however, Protestant denominations started gaining popularity in Panama. In recent times, Protestant denominations with a strong presence in North America are growing faster in Panama than ever before.

Religious Freedom And Tolerance In Panama

The Constitution of Panama provides for the freedom of religion. The law of the country generally protects this right of the people as long as it does not violate public order or Christian morality. Catholicism continues to enjoy certain special privileges in the nation. Although it is not the official religion of the country, the Constitution does recognize it as the religion of the majority of Panama. The society is Panama is also generally tolerant towards all religions.

Religious Beliefs In Panama

RankReligionPopulation (%)
1Roman Catholic85

More in Society