Thailand - Religions

Therevada Buddhism is the state religion of Thailand; only Buddhists are employed by the government, and the Thai monarch is legally required to be a Buddhist. According to 2000 government statistics, Buddhism was the religion of an about 94% of the population. However, other government agencies and religious groups estimate that the number of Buddhists is only about 85% to 90%. Although virtually all Thai are nominally Buddhists, the dominant form of religion in Thailand might be described as a spirit worship overlaid or mixed in varying degrees with Buddhist and Brahman beliefs imported from India.

An estimated 10% of the population, including the Malay ethnic minority, are Muslim. Among the other ethnic minorities, the Chinese practice a traditional mixture of Mahayana Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, and ancestor worship. Most Vietnamese are Mahayana Buddhists and most Indians are Hindus (0.1% of the population). Christians have been active in Thailand since the 17th century and account for and estimated 1% to 2% of the population. There are small Baha'i and Jewish communities.

At least six tribal groups (500,000 to 600,000 people) are animists.

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