Most people in the Caribbean Netherlands belong to a religious group

BES ISLANDS – The majority of the Caribbean Netherlands’ population aged 15 and over consider themselves to be part of a religious group. In 2021, 85 percent of the population on Bonaire belonged to a denomination or ideological group; this was 78 percent on St
Eustatius and 80 percent on Saba. On St Eustatius, the share who consider themselves
religious has decreased since 2017, while no change was observed on the other two
islands. This is evident from figures taken from The Caribbean Netherlands in numbers
2023, published by Statistics Netherlands (CBS).

On Bonaire and Saba, Catholicism is by far the largest religion, with the respective
shares of those belonging to the Roman Catholic church at 60 and 50 percent. On St
Eustatius, there are three religious groups of approximately the same size: Methodists
(25 percent), Roman Catholics (23 percent) and Seventh-Day Adventists (19 percent).

Decline in religion on St Eustatius
On St Eustatius, the percentage of people who say they are part of a religious
denomination or ideological group decreased from 85 percent in 2017 to 78 percent in
2021. There were no significant differences between these years on Bonaire and Saba.
However, the percentage of Evangelists on Bonaire rose from 3 percent in 2017 to 6
percent in 2021. On St Eustatius, the percentage of people describing themselves as
Pentecostals fell from 7 percent in 2017 to 3 percent in 2021.

Lower educated more likely to be religious
On Bonaire and Saba, people with a low level of education are more likely to be religious
than highly educated people. The greatest difference is seen on Saba, where 92 percent
of the lower educated population are religious, against 72 percent of those with medium
or high education level. On St Eustatius, more women (88 percent) than men (68
percent) are religious.

In the European Netherlands, a much smaller share of the population consider
themselves to be part of a religious denomination or ideological group: 43
percent in 2022.

StatLine: Caribbean Netherlands; Religious denomination, personal characteristics
Relevant link:
Publication – The Caribbean Netherlands in Numbers 2023
News release – Almost 6 in 10 Dutch people do not have a religious affiliation