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Religion in Guyana

Population

In 2019, Guyana had an average population density of 4 residents per km2. Almost the entire population lives along the coast, while the hinterland is largely unpopulated. As a result of extensive emigration, Guyana has a low population growth.

Religions of Guyana

According to Countryaah data, the country is little urbanized; In 2019, 27 percent of the population lived in cities. The capital Georgetown (118,400 residents, 2013) is the completely dominant city.

Guyana's indigenous population, the Indians, in 2002 reached almost 10 percent of the population, or about 77,000 individuals, following strong growth (nearly 50 percent) in the last decade.

The coastal Indian people are highly acculturated. More of the original culture has been preserved in the Caribbean's inland people, such as akawaio, patamona and waiwai, and among the ara-speaking wapisiana. These peoples live mainly by burning, focused on cassava, but also devote themselves to fishing, hunting and gathering. Ancestry is counted bilaterally (on the paternity and maternity), but settlement usually takes place near the mother's family. During the 19th century, the Native Americans were monitored by mission stations, but in 1910 several reserves were formed. Today, multinational mining companies pose the greatest threat to Guyanese Indians, and many have moved across the border to Venezuela.

Other ethnic groups are largely found on a narrow strip along the coast. Slave settlements of African origin constitute about one-third (2002). A well-known but small part of these constitute the so-called maroons. These managed to escape from the plantations during the 18th century and re-establish their African culture in the rainforest. After the abolition of slavery in 1834–38, many slaves left the plantations and became small farmers or moved to the cities.

The Indians, who replaced the Africans on the plantations, today make up about 44 percent of the total population. Among the other ethnic groups are Chinese (0.2 per cent) and Portuguese (0.2 per cent). They also originally came to the country as plantation workers but are now mainly engaged in trade.

Language

The country's official language is English. However, the vast majority (85%) speak an English-based Creole language. Among the Native American population there are various Arabic and Carib languages, such as macushi and wapishana.

Religion

About 55% of the population is Christian, most of them Anglicans, Methodists, Presbyterians and Baptists. About 7.9% are Catholics, 10,000 Orthodox.

Through immigration there is a strong element of Hinduism (about 35%) and Islam (about 10%) as well as Confucianism and Buddhism.

There is ecumenical cooperation between Christian churches, mainly for the poor and the marginalized. In recent years, there has been a marked increase in fundamentalist, evangelical and charismatic groups living in a tension relationship with older Christian communities.

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