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Shia communities have always been seen as a minority which means that an overwhelming majority of Muslims are Sunnis and the Shia population statistics in the world prove that they generate about 10-13% percent of Muslims. It is estimated that there are between 154 million and 200 million Shia Muslims in the world today.

Shia Population Statistics in Asia:

A fair share of the Shia population in the world live in different parts of Asia. Between 116 million and 147 million Shias live in this continent representing about three-quarters of the world’s Shia population (note that Iran is included in the Asia-Pacific region). Meanwhile, nearly a quarter of the world’s Shias (36 million to 44 million) live in the Middle East-North Africa.

Looked at in a different way, 12-15% of the Muslim population in the Asia-Pacific region is Shia, as is 11-14% of the Muslim population in the Middle East-North Africa region. The figures for Shias are generally given as a range because of the limitations in the secondary-source.

Countries with the biggest Shia populations:

Most Shias (between 68% and 80%) live in four countries: Iran, Pakistan, India and Iraq. Iran has 66 million to 70 million Shias, or 37-40% of the world’s total Shia population. Iraq, India and Pakistan each are home to at least 16 million Shias.

Sizeable numbers of Shias (1 million or more) are found in Turkey, Yemen, Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Nigeria and Tanzania.

Shia Population Statistics in other regions of the world:

Shias constitute a relatively small percentage of the Muslim population elsewhere in the world. About 300,000 Shias are estimated to be living in North America, including both the U.S. and Canada, constituting about 10% of North America’s Muslim population. In four countries – Iran, Azerbaijan, Bahrain and Iraq – Shia Muslims make up a majority of the total population.


Prepared by: Pew Research Center


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