Lebanon, which straddles a 200 km strip of coastal cities, snow-capped mountains and agricultural valleys along the Eastern Mediterranean, is home to the largest concentration of Catholics in the Middle East, living among a larger population of Muslims. A multi-confessional state, Lebanon is home to 18 officially recognized religious groups, among them Sunni, Shīʿa, and small numbers of Alawite and Ismaili Muslims; Maronite, Greek Melkite, and modest numbers of Armenian, Chaldean, Syrian and “Latin” Catholics; Lebanese Greek, Armenian and Syriac Orthodox; and Druze communities living in a patchwork of villages, cities and neighborhoods often dominated by one of these groups. As one author summarizes it, “an area about the size of Connecticut or Northern Ireland… host[s] almost the entire religious diversity of the Arab world.”

Among Catholics, the Maronite Church, which is centered in modern-day Lebanon and whose liturgy is rooted in Syriac ritual traditions, is by far the largest and most influential. The Greek Melkite Church, whose roots are in Northern Syria and whose traditions are Byzantine, is the second-largest Catholic church. The Roman, or Latin, Catholic Church is tiny, composed largely of expatriates. Though, as their names imply, the Syrian Catholic Church and the Armenian Catholic Church are originally rooted elsewhere, and though their members are relatively few in Lebanon, both have their patriarchates in Lebanon. Alongside the Maronite patriarchate, this means that three of the six patriarchs of the Catholic Church reside in Lebanon.

Continue reading...

    Religious Affiliation
    Chart source: Pew-Templeton Global Religious Futures Project, 2010
    Total Population
    6,093,509 1
    88.60% 1
    11.40% 1
    Immigrants as % of Population
    34.1% 2
    3.95 per 100,000 people (global median 6.9) 3
    Level of Public Corruption
    136 (1=lowest, 176=highest corruption) 4
    Gender Equality in the Economy, Health, Education and Politics
    135 (1=most equal, 144=least equal) 5
    Fertility Rate
    1.72 births per adult woman 6
    Children Who Do Not Live to Age 5
    0.80% 6
    Life Expectancy at Birth
    80 years 6
    Adult Literacy Rate
    89.61% 6
    Internet Users
    75% 6
    Gross National Income per Capita
    US$10,030 6
    • 1 United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division (2018). World Urbanization Prospects: The 2018 Revision, Online Edition.
    • 2 United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs. Trends in International Migrant Stock: The 2015 revision.
    • 3 United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime, Homicide Statistics 2015.
    • 4 Transparency International, Corruption Perceptions Index 2016.
    • 5 World Economic Forum, The Global Gender Gap Report, 2016.
    • 6 UNICEF, State of the World's Children, 2016.

    These statistics are derived from the Vatican's official publication, Statistical Yearbook of the Church 2020 (Vatican City: Librera Editrice Vaticana, 2022). The numbers may differ from data reported by other sources on this site.

    Baptized Catholics
    Baptized Catholics as % of Total Population
    Baptisms per Year (Under age 7)
    Baptisms per Year (Over age 7)
    First Communions per Year
    Confirmations per Year
    Students Enrolled in Catholic Primary Schools
    Students Enrolled in Catholic Secondary Schools
    Students Enrolled in Catholic Higher Education
    Church Marriages per Year
    Church Marriages in Which Both Spouses are Catholics
    Women Religious (Nuns & Sisters)
    Catholics per Priest
    Catholic Hospitals
    Homes for Aged, Handicapped, Invalids