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Religion in Nauru

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Religion in Nauru, based on the 2011 census[1]

  Roman Catholic (32.96%)
  Nauru Independent Church (9.50%)
  Baptist (1.48%)
  Other or not stated (7.34%)

In Nauru, the Nauru Congregational Church is the largest religion, encompassing 35.71% of the population as of the 2011 census. Freedom of religion is a constitutional right, and the country's laws and society uphold this right without any significant breaches.


According to the 2002 census, approximately two-thirds of Christians are Protestant, and the remainder are Catholic.[2] The largest denomination is the Nauru Congregational Church. The ethnic Chinese on the island, approximately 3 to 4 percent of the population, may be Confucian, Buddhist, Taoist, Christian, or nonreligious.[2] The largely Christian communities of Tuvaluan and I-Kiribati expatriates were repatriated in late 2006 following the near cessation of phosphate mining in the country.[2] The Jehovah's Witnesses and the Mormons said they had small numbers of followers among the native population.[2]

A welcome ceremony for a missionary, 1916-17
A welcome ceremony for a missionary, 1916-17

Nauruan indigenous religion was the predominant religion in Nauru before the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, when foreign missionaries introduced Christianity to the island.[2] There are a few active Christian missionary organisations, including representatives of Anglicanism, Methodism, and Catholicism.[2]

According to data from Pew Research, the religions of Hinduism, Judaism, and Islam had a small presence in the island, with about 0.1% of the population (fewer than ten people), adhering to each faith. With the exception of detainees in Nauru Regional Processing Centre, in which majority are Muslims, with significant minority of Buddhists and Hindus, although the population were slowly decreasing due to re-settlement program by the Australian Government.[3]

Religious freedom

The constitution of Nauru establishes the freedom of conscience and expression, although it provides that these rights may be limited by any law which is "reasonably required".[4]

Religious groups are required to register with the government in order to proselytize, build houses of worship, hold religious services, or officiate marriages. As of 2014, religious groups are required to have 750 members to register. According to local religious leaders, in practice the only activity which is restricted for unregistered groups is marriage officiation.[4]

Religious groups are allowed to operate private schools. In public schools, religious groups are allowed to provide religious studies courses once a week during school hours. Students are expected to attend courses pertaining to their chosen religious denomination; other students are expected to use the time as an independent study period.[4]

According to a 2017 US government report, there are no significant societal limits on religious freedom in Nauru.[4] In the past, some elements of the Nauru Protestant and Roman Catholic communities have occasionally voiced discomfort with religious groups they perceived as foreign, in particular the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Jehovah's Witnesses.[2]


  1. ^ "Nauru 2011 Census Report Final" (PDF). Republic of Nauru. p. 56. Retrieved 28 November 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g International Religious Freedom Report 2007: Nauru. United States Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (September 14, 2007). This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b c d International Religious Freedom Report 2017 § Nauru US Department of State, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor.
This page was last edited on 20 October 2019, at 21:06
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