Patheos Watermark

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Population (2009 est.)2,130,819
Religious DemographicsChristian 80%, indigenous beliefs 20%
Ethnic GroupsSotho 99.7%, Europeans, Asians, and other 0.3%,
LanguagesSesotho (southern Sotho), English (official), Zulu, Xhosa

The country has an area of 11,720 square miles and a population of 1.9 million. Christianity is the dominant religion. The Christian Council of Lesotho, a nongovernmental organization made up of representatives of all major Christian churches in the country, estimates that 90 percent of the population is Christian. Roman Catholics represent 45 percent of the population, Lesotho Evangelicals 27 percent, Anglicans 9 percent, and other Christian groups such as the Seventh-day Adventist, American Methodist Episcopal, Dutch Reformed, Lesotho Methodist, and Pentecostal churches together constitute 9 percent. Members of indigenous religious groups make up approximately 10 percent of the population. There are an estimated 1,000 Muslim families, 150 Hindu families, and 800 members of the Baha'i faith. Muslim and Hindu numbers have declined significantly in recent years due to emigration to South Africa. There are a small number of Jews, but no practicing Jewish community.
While Christians can be found throughout the country, Muslims live primarily in Butha-Buthe, Leribe, and Berea districts, which are situated in the north. Many Christians practice traditional cultural beliefs and rituals in conjunction with Christianity.