Religion in South Sudan

There are conflicting reports as to the religious beliefs in South Sudan, though all agree that the three main religions are traditional African religions, Christianity and Islam. The South Sudanese President Kiir, a Roman Catholic, while speaking at Saint Theresa Cathedral in Juba, South Sudan, stated that South Sudan would be a nation which respects freedom of religion.[2] The reported estimated relative proportions of adherents of African Traditional Religion and Christianity have varied.[3][4][5][6][7][8][9]

Religion in South Sudan by the 2012 Pew Research on Religion.[1] Note that other sources give differing figures.

  Christianity (60.5%)
  Islam (20%)
  Other (0.4%)


Christianity has a long history in the region that is now South Sudan. Ancient Nubia was reached by Coptic Christianity by the 2nd century. Missionary activity from Coptic Etiopia consolidates de Coptic church community in South Sudan. In 1920, the Church Missionary Society originated a Diocese which expanded to form Lui, South Sudan.

Religious membership

In the early 1990s, official records of Sudan as a whole (Sudan and South Sudan) showed that a large percentage adhered to African Traditional Religion (17%) and Christianity (8%) (though both located mainly in the south, some also at Khartoum). Among Christians, most are Catholic and Anglican, though other denominations are also active, and African Traditional Religion beliefs are often blended with Christian beliefs.[10][11][12]

In addition to news sources, the Anglican and Catholic churches claim large membership. The US Episcopal Church claimed 2 million members in 2005 in the Episcopal Church of the Sudan.[13]

The most recent Pew Research Center on Religion and Public Life report from December 2012 estimated that in 2010, there were 6.990 million Christians (60.46%), 2.208 million followers of African Traditional Religion (19.1%), 2,312,539 Muslims (20%) and 50,000 unaffiliated (no known religion) of a total 11,562,695 people in South Sudan.[14]

These figures are also disputed as the Pew Research Center on Religion and Public Life report cites 'The United Nations provided the Pew Forum with special estimates for Sudan and the new nation of South Sudan'.[15] The UN does not have any official figures on ethnicity and religion outside National Census figures.

See also


  1. INSAMER - South Sudanese Muslims
  2. "South Sudan To Respect Freedom Of Religion Says GOSS President | Sudan Radio Service". 21 February 2011. Archived from the original on 12 July 2011. Retrieved 9 July 2011.
  3. "South Sudan profile". BBC News. 8 July 2011. Retrieved 9 July 2011.
  4. "Background Note: Sudan" U.S. Department of State 9 November 2010 Retrieved 8 December 2010
  5. Kaufmann, E.P. Rethinking ethnicity: majority groups and dominant minorities. Routledge, 2004, p. 45.
  6. Minahan, J. Encyclopedia of the Stateless Nations: S-Z. Greenwood Press, 2002, p. 1786.
  7. Arnold, G. Book Review: Douglas H. Johnson, The Root Causes of Sudan's Civil Wars. African Journal of Political Science Vol.8 No. 1, 2003, p. 147.
  8. "International Religious Freedom Report 2012 - South Sudan". U.S. Department of State. Retrieved 9 July 2013.
  9. Sudan: A Country Study Federal Research Division, Library of Congress – Chapter 2, Ethnicity, Regionalism and Ethnicity
  10. Christianity, in A Country Study: Sudan, U.S. Library of Congress.
  11. "More than 100 dead in South Sudan attack-officials" Archived 28 June 2011 at the Wayback Machine SABC News 21 September 2009 Retrieved 5 April 2011
  12. Hurd, Emma "Southern Sudan Votes To Split From North" Sky News 8 February 2011 Retrieved 5 April 2011
  13. "How many Anglicans are there in the Anglican Church in North America?"
  14. South Sudanese Muslims Archived 21 December 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  15. Global Religious Landscape

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