religion in vietnam
- Buddhism: 51.8%
- Non-Religious: 21.4%
- Ethnic Religions: 11.5%
- Evangelical Christianity: 1.8%
- Christianity: 9.4%
- Other: 5.9%
Source: Joshua Project
Vietnam is an ‘S-shaped’ country that borders China to the north with Laos and Cambodia to the west. The southeastern edge of the Indochinese peninsula, Vietnam’s eastern border is a long coastline that faces the Gulf of Tonkin and the South China Sea. Vietnam is roughly the size of the U.S. state of New Mexico (about 331,688 square kilometers) and is considerably larger in its northern and southern regions than its long and narrow central region.
Starting with the days of French-controlled Indochina in the 1800s, Vietnam has a long history of war. The Communist Party eventually defeated the French under the command of Ho Chi MINH in 1954, causing the division of the communist north and anti-communist south. By 1975, the north defeated the south and united Vietnam under communist rule, as it stands today.
Though many are familiar with Vietnam because of war, the country is also well known for its diversity and rich cultural heritage spanning from north to south. Vietnam has a population of at least 90 million and contains 74 distinct people groups with their own languages and cultures handed down through generations. The people of Vietnam take great pride in preserving the customs of their peoples, showing them to visitors from all over the world, and passing them on to their children.
The communist government formally recognizes six religions including Protestant Christianity. Although roughly 50 percent of the population claim to be Buddhist, the prevailing religion of most Vietnamese is ancestral worship. This practice permeates daily life in Vietnam with altars of honor for ancestors in most homes and places of business.
Evangelical Christians make up about 1.8 percent of the peoples of Vietnam. Christians face persecution from the government and families, resulting in Vietnam receiving the #16 spot on the World Watch List for persecution of Christians—ahead of its communist neighbor, China. Despite persecution, the church in Vietnam continues to grow and has gained more religious freedoms in recent years.