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Congo, Republic of the
Population (2009 est.)4,012,809
Religious DemographicsChristian 50%, Animist 48%, Muslim 2%
Ethnic GroupsKongo 48%, Sangha 20%, M'Bochi 12%, Teke 17%, Europeans and other 3%
LanguagesFrench (official), Lingala and Monokutuba (lingua franca trade languages), many local languages and dialects (of which Kikongo is the most widespread)

The country has an area of 132,000 square miles and a population of 3.8 million. Approximately one-half of citizens are Christian. An estimated 90 percent of Christians are Roman Catholic; others include Methodists, Seventh-day Adventists, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), and Jehovah's Witnesses. There is a growing Muslim community, estimated at 2 percent of the population. Most Muslim workers in urban centers are immigrants from West Africa, Lebanon, and North Africa. The West African Muslim immigrants arrived mainly from Mali, Benin, Togo, Mauritania, and Senegal. The Lebanese are primarily Sunni Muslims. There is also a significant Chadian Muslim population.
The remainder of the population is made up of practitioners of indigenous religious beliefs, those who belong to various messianic groups, and those who practice no religion. A small minority of Christians practice Kimbanguism, a syncretistic movement that originated in the neighboring Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Mystical or messianic practices (particularly among the ethnic Lari population in the Pool region) have been associated with opposition political movements, including some elements of the armed insurrection in the southern part of the country from 1997 to 2003.