RELIGION LIBRARY

Italy

COUNTRY PROFILE

Map of Italy

The country has an area of 116,347 square miles and a population of 59.6 million. An estimated 87 percent of native-born citizens are Roman Catholic, but only 20 percent regularly participate in worship services. Members of non-Catholic Christian groups, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Baha'i Faith adherents, and Buddhists constitute less than 5 percent of the population. Significant Christian communities include Christian Orthodox, Jehovah's Witnesses, Assembly of God, the Confederation of Methodist and Waldensian Churches, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), and other small Protestant groups.
Immigration--both legal and illegal--continued to add large groups of non-Christian residents, mainly Muslims, from North Africa, South Asia, Albania, and the Middle East. According to an independent research center in 2008, 1.3 million immigrants were Christian Orthodox, 1.25 million Muslim, 0.14 million Protestant, and 0.1 million Hindu or Buddhist.
The Ministry of the Interior reported that there are 258 places of worship for Muslims (mainly "garage" mosques) concentrated in the regions of Lombardy, Veneto, Lazio, Emilia Romagna, and Tuscany. The Jewish community is estimated at 30,000 and maintains synagogues in 21 cities.

Population Population (2009 est.) 58,126,212
Religious Demographics Roman Catholic 90% (approximately; about one-third practicing), other 10% (includes mature Protestant and Jewish communities and a growing Muslim immigrant community)
Ethnic Groups Ethnic Groups Italian (includes small clusters of German-, French-, and Slovene-Italians in the north and Albanian-Italians and Greek-Italians in the south)
Languages Languages Italian (official), German (parts of Trentino-Alto Adige region are predominantly German speaking), French (small French-speaking minority in Valle d'Aosta region), Slovene (Slovene-speaking minority in the Trieste-Gorizia area)
Country Flag Flag of Italy