RELIGION LIBRARY

Ecuador

COUNTRY PROFILE

Map of Ecuador

The country has an area of 109,483 square miles and a population of 13.4 million, according to the latest projections. The Episcopal Conference of the Roman Catholic Church estimates that 85 percent of the population identifies itself as Catholic, with 15 percent of the population actively practicing. The Episcopal Conference estimates attendance at mass rose slightly during the reporting period, as was the case during the previous reporting period, due to increased proselytizing by Catholic clergy. Some groups, particularly indigenous persons who live in the mountains, follow a syncretic form of Catholicism, combining indigenous beliefs with orthodox Catholic doctrine. Saints often are venerated in ways similar to indigenous deities. In the Amazon jungle region, Catholic practices often are combined with elements of shamanism.
Estimates of the number of non-Catholic Christians start at one million. Southern Baptists, members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), Jehovah's Witnesses, and Pentecostals find converts, particularly among indigenous people in the highland provinces of Chimborazo, Bolivar, Cotopaxi, Imbabura, and Pichincha, among persons who practice syncretic religions, as well as in other groups marginalized by society. Evangelical groups include the Assemblies of God, in urban areas, and the Church of the Word of God, which is growing rapidly in indigenous areas. In general, rural indigenous areas tend to be either overwhelmingly Catholic or overwhelmingly Protestant. Protestant organizations were usually divided between predominantly indigenous organizations, such as the Council of Evangelical Indigenous People and Organizations, and mestizo organizations. Many mestizos in the Guayaquil area are Protestant. In large cities, Protestant megachurches, with more than 10,000 members, continued to experience substantial growth. Hundreds of evangelical churches exist, many of which are not affiliated with a particular denomination. Some multidenominational Christian groups, such as the Gospel Missionary Union, now called Avant Ministries, the Christian and Missionary Alliance, and Hoy Cristo Jesús Bendice (Today Jesus Christ Blesses), have been active for nearly 70 years.
Many registered religious groups have few members, including Anglicans, Baha'is, Buddhists, Episcopalians, Jews, Lutherans, Muslims, Eastern Orthodox believers, Presbyterians, Unification Church members, and followers of Inti, the traditional Inca sun god.

Population Population (2009 est.) 14,573,101
Religious Demographics Roman Catholic 95%, other 5%
Ethnic Groups Ethnic Groups mestizo (mixed Amerindian and white) 65%, Amerindian 25%, Spanish and others 7%, black 3%
Languages Languages Spanish (official), Amerindian languages (especially Quechua)
Country Flag Flag of Ecuador