Patheos Watermark

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Population (2009 est.)12,799,293
Religious Demographicsindigenous beliefs 47%, Roman Catholic 38%, Protestant 15% (1998 est.)
Ethnic GroupsOvimbundu 37%, Kimbundu 25%, Bakongo 13%, mestico (mixed European and native African) 2%, European 1%, other 22%
LanguagesPortuguese (official), Bantu and other African languages

The country has an area of 481,351 square miles and a population of 17 million. The majority of the population is Christian and Roman Catholics are the largest religious group. The Catholic Church estimates that 55 percent of the population is Catholic, while the Government estimates 70 percent; neither figure could be independently verified. Data from the National Institute for Religious Affairs (INAR) indicate that 25 percent of the population adheres to African Christian denominations; 10 percent follows Protestant traditions, including Methodist, Baptist, Adventist, Congregationalist (United Church of Christ), and Assemblies of God; and 5 percent belongs to Brazilian evangelical churches. A small portion of the rural population practices animism or indigenous religious beliefs. There is a small Muslim community, unofficially estimated at 80,000 to 90,000 adherents, perhaps one-half of whom are migrants from West Africa or of Lebanese origin.