South Africans Religious Belief



The spire of the church in the town square
of Phillipolis in the Free State. The
majority (79.8%) of South Africans are

Religion of South Africans

According to the 2001 census the overwhelming majority of South Africans, or 79.8%, are Christian. The independent African Zion Christian churches predominate, being the faith of 15.3% of the total population, and 19.2% of all Christians.

Roughly 15% of the population have no religion, and 1.4% are undetermined about their faith. Islam is the religion of 1.5% of South Africans, Hinduism that of 1.2%, African traditional belief 0.3%, Judaism 0.2% and other beliefs 0.6%.

In terms of population groups, Christianity is most common among white and coloured South Africans, being the faith of 86.8% of the people in both groups. It’s slightly less dominant among black South Africans, among whom it falls in line with the national average, being the religion of 79.9% of black people. Roughly a quarter (24.4%) of the Indian population are Christian.

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The predominant form of Christianity among black South Africans is the independent and indigenous Zion Christian faith, the religion of 23.7% of black Christians. Black people also have the highest rate of unbelief, with 17.5% saying they have no religion, and 1.3% being undetermined.

Most white South African Christians (42.8%) belong to the Reformed churches, such as the Dutch Reformed Church. Some 9.2% of white Christians are Methodist, 7.8% Pentecostal or Charismatic, 7.7% Apostolic and 7.6% Catholic. White people have the second-highest rate of unbelief, with 8.8% saying they have no religion and 2% being undetermined. Judaism is most common in this community, being the religion of 1.4% of white South Africans.

Predominant churches among coloured Christians are Apostolic (18.6%), Pentecostal or Charismatic (14.2%), Anglican (10.4%) and Catholic (10.2%). Of the other religions, Islam predominates, being the faith of 7.4% of all coloured South Africans. Only 3.8% of the coloured population say they have no religion, and 1.3% are undetermined.

Hinduism is the most common religion (47.3%) in the Indian/Asian population group, followed by Islam (24.7%) and Christianity (24.2%). There is a fairly even spread of churches among Indian and Asian Christians. This group is most certain of their faith, with only 2.3% reporting that they have no religion, and 0.94% being undecided.


Religion Number %
Christianity 35 750 641 79.8%
Islam 654 064 1.5%
Hinduism 551 668 1.2%
Judaism 75 549 0.2%
Other beliefs 283 815 0.6%
No religion 6 767 165 15%
Undetermined 610 974 1.4%
Total 44 819 774 100%



Source: mediaclub

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