Philippines still overwhelmingly Catholic

Xave Gregorio - Philstar.com
Philippines still overwhelmingly Catholic
Catholic faithful pray inside a chapel after receiving ash on the observance of Ash Wednesday at a church ground in Paranaque City suburban Manila on Feb. 22, 2023.
AFP / Ted Aljibe

MANILA, Philippines — The number of Filipinos who identified as Roman Catholic in the latest census rose by around five million to over 85 million people, representing 78.8% of the over 108 million people who were counted in 2020.

While more Filipinos reported themselves to be adherents of Roman Catholicism, they accounted for less of the population compared to the 2015 census when they represented 79.5% of the over 100 million people then.

The 2020 census differed from 2015 as the latter included Catholic Charismatics in counting Roman Catholics, while the former excluded them.

Across all regions, the proportion of Roman Catholics exceeded 50% except in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao where only 5.3% identified with Roman Catholicism.

Of all the regions in the country, the Bicol region accounted for the highest proportion of Ramon Catholics at 93.5%, followed by Eastern Visayas at 92.3% and Central Visayas at 90.5%.

Among the highly urbanized cities, Mandaue had the highest proportion of Roman Catholics, while Albay had the highest proportion among all provinces.

Meanwhile, in the Bangsamoro region, Islam was the most predominant region, accounting for 4.49 million people or 90.9% of the population there.

After Roman Catholicism, Islam came in far second with nearly seven million adherents, comprising 6.4% of the population. The number of Muslims in the Philippines grew by close to one million compared to the 2015 census.

Coming in third is Iglesia ni Cristo with over 2.8 million adherents, accounting for 2.6% of the entire country. The homegrown Christian church grew by around 200,000 people since the 2015 census.

Catholicism, Islam and Iglesia ni Cristo were also the top three religions in the 2015 census.

Completing the list of the top 10 religions in the Philippines are followers of the Seventh Day Adventist and Aglipay churches (0.8% each), Iglesia Filipina Independiente (0.6%), Bible Baptist Church (0.5%), and the United Church of Christ in the Philippines, Jehovah’s Witness and Church of Christ (0.4% each).

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