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Religion in Africa

As of 2020, Christianity was by far the largest religion in Africa, with an estimated 658 million adherents, nearly half (50%) of Africa’s Population. Islam was second, with an estimated 575 million adherents, or 44% of the African population.

Sub-Saharan African Nations have a higher percentage of the Christian population and North African countries have a Muslim majority. Nigeria the most populous country in Africa also has the largest Christian and Muslim population in Africa.

Adherents of various folk religions – including African traditional religions, folk religions, Native African religions, and aboriginal religions account for an estimated 34 million (2.65%) of the African population.

The unaffiliated population in Africa is around 33 million people or 2.53% of the African population. Other Religions include Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikkim, Jews, and other smaller faiths.

also read about Africa Population and Countries in Africa

As of 2020, Christianity was Africa’s largest religion, followed by Islam in the second spot. The Folk Religions come next closely followed by the unaffiliated population at fourth and Hinduism at fifth. Most North African Countries have a Muslim majority and Sub-Saharan Africa has a Christian majority. 

Let’s look at the African population by adherents

ReligionEstimated Population 2020
Christians658,530,000
Muslims575,350,000
Folk Religions34,550,000
Unaffiliated33,000,000
Hindus1,580,000
Buddhists150,000
Other Religions2,900,000
Total1,306,060,000 (estimated)

Source: Pew Research Center

Religion in Africa by Percentage

ReligionPercentage 2020
Christians50.43%
Muslims44.06%
Folk Religions2.65%
Unaffiliated2.53%
Hindus0.12%
Buddhists0.01%
Other Religions0.22%

Source: Pew Research Center

Religion in North and Sub Saharan Africa

North Africa

More than nine in ten people in the Middle East and North Africa were Muslim as of 2010 (93%), and the share of the region’s population that is Muslim is expected to be slightly higher in 2050 (94%). Only about a fifth of the world’s Muslims live in the Middle East and North Africa, but it is the only region where a majority of the population is Muslim. While the Muslim share of the region’s population increases slightly in the coming decades, the Christian and Jewish shares are expected to decline modestly.

Sub-Saharan Africa

In just over a century, the religious landscape of sub-Saharan Africa has undergone significant changes. In 1900, both Muslims and Christians were small minorities, while traditional African religions dominated. By 2010, the Muslim population increased over 20-fold to 234 million, and Christians grew nearly 70-fold to 470 million. Sub-Saharan Africa now houses around one-fifth of the world’s Christians (21%) and over one-seventh of the global Muslim population (15%).

While sub-Saharan Africa has almost twice as many Christians as Muslims, on the African continent as a whole the two faiths are roughly balanced, with 400 million to 500 million followers each. Since northern Africa is heavily Muslim and southern Africa is heavily Christian, the great meeting place is in the middle, a 4,000-mile swath from Somalia in the east to Senegal in the west.

Top African Countries by Christian Population

Nigeria is the country with the Largest Christian population in Africa. It has an estimated 96 million people who adhere to Chrisanity. With an 81 million Christain population, the Democratic Republic of the Congo is in second place followed by Ethiopia. Kenya with a 44 million Christian population is in 4th place closely followed by South Africa in the fifth spot.

Let’s have a Top 20 countries in Africa by the Christian population. 

RankCountryChristians% of total pop.
1Nigeria96,080,00046.90%
2Democratic Republic of the Congo81,520,00095.80%
3Ethiopia62,610,00061.90%
4Kenya44,460,00084.50%
5South Africa43,530,00080.80%
6Uganda39,390,00086.10%
7Tanzania38,740,00063.10%
8Madagascar23,200,00084.70%
9Ghana22,330,00073.60%
10Angola22,190,00090.50%
11Zambia17,510,00097.40%
12Malawi17,280,00083.40%
13Mozambique16,760,00057.80%
14Cameroon16,750,00069.60%
15Rwanda13,230,00093.80%
16Zimbabwe12,720,00087.10%
17Ivory Coast10,690,00044%
18Burundi9,180,00091%
19South Sudan7,530,00060.50%
20Chad6,040,00041.10%

Source: Pew Research Center

Top African Countries by Muslim Population

Nigeria is the country with the Largest Muslim population in Africa. It has an estimated 104 million people who adhere to Islam. With a 90 million Muslim population, Egypt is in second place followed by Algeria. Sudan with a 38 million Muslim population is in 4th place closely followed by Ethiopia in the fifth spot.

Most North African Countries have a Muslim majority and Sub-Saharan Africa has a Christian majority. 

Let’s have a Top 10 countries in Africa by the Muslim population. 

RankCountryEst. Muslim Population 2020% of the Total Population
1Nigeria104,650,00051.10%
2Egypt90,420,00095.30%
3Algeria39,430,00097.90%
4Sudan38,430,00090.70%
5Ethiopia36,290,00035.90%
6Morocco35,510,00099.00%
7Niger21,660,00098.30%
8Tanzania20,950,00034.10%
9Mali19,610,00094.60%
10Senegal15,480,00096.60%
11Burkina Faso14,240,00062.70%
12Somalia12,110,00099.00%
13Tunisia11,440,00099.00%
14Guinea10,800,00084.60%
15Ivory Coast9,040,00037.20%
16Chad8,090,00055%
17Libya7,170,00097%
18Sierra Leone5,620,00078.50%
19Kenya5,550,00010.50%
20Uganda5,550,00012.10%

Source: Pew Research Center

Top African Countries by Folk Religion

Let’s have a Top 10 countries in Africa by the Folk/ African population. 

RegionCountryFolk/ African Religions %
1Togo36.9
2South Sudan32.9
3Guinea-Bissau30.6
4Benin17.9
5Burkina Faso15.1
6Ivory Coast10.5

Source: Pew Research Center

Africa population by Religion 2024 | Africa Religion Percentage