A first look at Latin America would lead us to conclude that it is predominantly Catholic with little religious diversity.
Data supports this notion. According to the Pew Research Center, 90% of Latin America’s population is Christian, while Muslims, Hindus, and Jews represent less than 1% each.
And yet, one of the 12 most religiously-diverse countries in the world, Suriname, is in Latin America. With a population of 520,000, Suriname is the smallest state in South America. According to Pew, it has a Christian majority (52% of the population), while the other half of the population is formed by two sizeable minorities: Hindus (close to 20%) and Muslims (about 15%). The rest of the population is made up of folk religions (5.3%), Buddhists (0.6%), and Jews (.2%). The unaffiliated represent close to 5%.
While exemplary in its diversity, Suriname shows us that the reality of religious diversity in Latin America is complex. So what exactly is meant by “religious diversity”?