Irreligion in Latin America

Irreligion Secular humanism Agnosticism
Irreligious Latin Americans
Total population
Population in Latin America:
Not religious: 16%
Religious: 84%
Irreligion (Nones)
(including agnosticism, atheism, deism, skepticism, freethought/freethinker, secular humanism, ignosticism, Nonbeliever, Non-theist, secular Rationalist)

Irreligion in Latin America refers to various types of irreligion, including atheism, agnosticism, deism, secular humanism, secularism and non-religious. According to a global survey conducted in 2011, 16% of the population has no religion (13% of non-religious, 2% atheists convinced and 1% didn't know answer).[1][2][3]

Percentage by country

Country Percentage of the Local Population Population in
Uruguay Uruguay 47[4][5] 1.6
Cuba Cuba 40[6][7] 4.6
Chile Chile 29[8] 5.2
El Salvador El Salvador 24[9][10] 1.4
Dominican Republic Dominican Republic 19[11][12] 2.1
Guatemala Guatemala 18.3[13] 2.6
Argentina Argentina 19[14][15] 6.6
Nicaragua Nicaragua 15.7[16] 0.911
Belize Belize 15.6[17] 0.051
Honduras Honduras 14[18] 1.243
Venezuela Venezuela 11.7[12][19] 3.2
Puerto Rico Puerto Rico 11.1[12] 0.400
Costa Rica Costa Rica 09[14] 0.405
Ecuador Ecuador 08.05[20] 1.2
Mexico Mexico 08.04[21] 09.5
Brazil Brazil 08.04[22] 16.1
Colombia Colombia 07[23] 03.3
Peru Peru 06.1[24] 2.0
Panama Panama 05.1[14] 0.166
Bolivia Bolivia 03[25] 0.318
Paraguay Paraguay 02[26] 0.142
Haiti Haiti 01[27] 0.095

Central America and Caribbean


According to the 2010 census, about 15.5% of the population of Belize is not religious. This is an increase from 9.4% reported in the 2000 census, and is the second largest category in the country, with the first being Roman Catholicism.[28]

Costa Rica

Approximately 9% of the Costa Rican population is not religious (6% non-religious and 3% atheists).


Estimates of the Cuban people without religion varies from 30% to 40%, the number of atheists also varies from 10% to 20%. Due to the influence of communism in the country, atheism has grown and is promoted in the population.[citation needed] Religious organizations are prohibited from promoting their faith to the population (at least not publicly).[citation needed]

Dominican Republic

Religiously unaffiliated people account for 18% of the public in the Dominican Republic.[29]

El Salvador

El Salvador is the least religious country in Central America and the Caribbean. This percentage is sizable: 24%. Of these, 13% are atheist and 11% are people without religion.


According to a series of public opinion surveys (mainly CBN and CID Gallup Poll), Guatemala has had a progressive advance of irreligion, from 11.1% in 1990 to 14.2% in 2001 and 18.3% in 2008. The percentage of atheists round by 10% and 8.3% is considered simply non-religious.


In Haiti, 1% of the population are not religious.[30]


In Honduras 14% is considered without religion (10% non-religious and 4% atheists).


According to a 2010 census by the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI), the percentage of non-religious is 8% (4.7% of atheists convinced) more than five million of non-religious people. A survey question in 2006 by CID-Gallup 'Is religion important to you?' 20.5% said no, and almost 5% did not answer or said sometimes.


Nicaragua has also experienced a decline in religious affiliation, according to the 1995 census, about 8.5% of Nicaraguans had no religion, although the 2005 census shows an increase to 15.7%, of which 9% is non-religious and 6.7% atheists.


About 5% of Panamanians are irreligious (3% non-religious and 2% atheists).

Puerto Rico

Irreligion in Puerto Rico is a new phenomenon, and has grown in recent years; about 11.1% of Puerto Ricans today have no religion (6% non-religious and 5.1% atheists).

South America


A survey conducted in August 2019 (CEIL / CONICET) reports that 18.9% of Argentines are non-religious. It is observed that 81.9% believe in God and 18.1% do not. Gender, age, education level and geographical location have all been cited as variables for irreligion. Among men aged 18–29, those with better education and those from the most progressive, "modern" areas tend towards a lack of belief in God (83% and 89%).[15] A CID-Gallup poll affirms that in Argentina 16% of the population claims to be irreligious (8% non-religious and 8% atheists).


In Bolivia a large majority of the population is fanatically religious, of which only 3% of the population is atheist, agnostic or non-religious. A study of the city of Sucre estimated that 7% have no religion (the least religious area of the country).


Although in Brazil a large majority of the population is religious a demographic census in 2000 by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) said that 7.3% of the population is atheist, agnostic or non-religious (12 million). In 2010, the IBGE revealed that the increase to 8.3% (15 million),although the increase was only 1%, but in quantity amounted to three million increase.[31]


In Chile, the proportion of people who are religious fell from 92% in 1993 to 71% in 2013 (according to the Latinobarometro). In 1993 the percentage of agnostics or atheists was 8%, but in 2011 and 2013 had reached 29% (5 million people). Almost 17% of Chileans are atheist and 12% non-religious. In September 2011, a group of atheists founded the Atheist Society of Chile (In Spanish: Sociedad Atea de Chile).[8] According to Latinbarometer poll in 2017 Chile is the second most irreligious country in South America after Uruguay with 38% of the population not following any religion.[32]


According to a national census of Colombia from 1997 to 2004, non-religious people increased from 2.2% to 7% and convinced atheists remain at 0.4%. Americas Barometer reveals little change for 2009, placing a 6.1% non-religious and atheists convinced 0.6%. In Colombian modern areas there are atheist organizations.


According to the National Statistics Institute of Ecuador in 2011, 8.05% of Ecuadorians are not religious (7.94% atheists and 0.11% agnostics). There are atheists and secular organizations in the capital (Quito).


According to the 2012 Pew Global Religious Landscape study, 1.1% of Paraguayans are religiously unaffiliated.[33]


The non-religious population has been doubling between 1993 and 2007, according to the National Institute of Statistics Informaticas (INEI), in 1993 1.9% declared no religion (0.4% of atheists convinced), then in the 2007 this percentage increased to 2.7% (1.3% of atheists convinced). Although a survey by Phil Zuckerman showed that the percentage was 5.5%, also he see a reduction of 96% religious in 1993 to 86% in 2007.[24]


Uruguay is the most secularized nation in the Americas with the highest percentage of atheists and agnostics.[34] 17.2% atheist or agnostic according to Uruguayan census.[35] While according to the most recent official survey approximately 58.1% of Uruguayans define themselves as Christian,[36] Many Uruguayans nominally describe themselves as Roman Catholics but lifestyle is not affected by the religion.[37]

According to Kaufmann, E. (2010), between 29% to 53% (Endorsed by 47%) of Uruguayans are not religious, more than half are atheists and the other part is distributed between agnostics and non-religious,[4] according to a national census conducted in 2007, 40% of Uruguayans are not religious, 20% believe in God but do not belong to any religion, 17% are atheists or agnostics, and 3% didn't know answer.[38]

Irreligion in Uruguay is not a new phenomenon, although is growing considerably. Uruguay in religious and irreligious terms is similar to Europe, where modernization, economic growth, have brought atheism, since 1990, Uruguayans referred Easter Week as "Tourism Week". Uruguay is also the most democratic country in the region observed for its civic culture.


In Venezuela secularization has been influencing the country, this is due to the increasing modernization of the country and improvement of education, during the 20th century Venezuela was one of the most religious countries with a dominant Catholicism, although in the early twenty-first century Protestants, atheists, agnostics, among other religions have grown in the country, the most professional people (scientists, doctors, writers, etc.) are often less believers. According to a study by the University of Cambridge, 11.7% of Venezuelans are without religion (atheists 6% and 5.7% of non-religious), also a national study estimated that 6% of Venezuelans are agnostics and 2% atheists (in total of 8% of the population).

See also


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