Followers of Islam are estimated to comprise 77% of Sierra Leone’s population, according to UNHCR, “Report on International Religious Freedom in Sierra Leone.” These are the most recent data adopted by UNHCR. The Pew Research Center however estimates the population at 71.3%. Muslims predominate in all three provinces of the country and the western area, although formerly they were concentrated in the north with the south being mainly Christian. About 21% of the total population are followers of Christianity, and 2% of the population practice indigenous animistic beliefs. The Constitution of Sierra Leone is freedom of religion and the government generally protects this right and did not tolerate its abuse.
According to Shopareview, the government of Sierra Leone officially recognizes the fourteen ethnic groups, each with its own language and customs. Unlike most African countries, Sierra Leone has no serious ethnic divisions and no serious religious divisions. People often married across tribal and religious boundaries. The largest and most dominant groups is the temne in 35% and 31% in Mende. The Temne predominate in the northern province and the western area. The Mende also predominate in the South-East provinces. The Mende, who are believed to be descendants of the mane, were originally found in the interior of Liberia. They began to move in Sierra Leone, little by little and peacefully in the 18th century.. The temne is believed to have come from Futa Jallon, which is located in present-day Guinea. Sierra Leone’s national centers, the politics of competition between the north-west of the country, dominated by the temne, and the south-east of the country dominated by the Mende.
The third largest ethnic group are the Limba at 8.5% of the population. The Limba are the natives of Sierra Leone. They do not have a tradition of origin and they have always lived in Sierra Leone since it was discovered. The Limba They are found mainly in northern Sierra Leone and are a close ally of the temne. First from Sierra Leone, President Siaka Stevens and the country under second President Joseph Saidu Momoh are from the Limba ethnic group. The fourth largest ethnic group are the Fula around the population, living mainly in the northeast and western part of Sierra Leone. The Fula are primarily merchants and many live in middle-class households. Due to their trade, Fulas are found practically everywhere in the country. Some notable ethnic Fula include the current president of Sierra Leone, Justice Umu Hawa Tejan Jalloh
The fifth largest ethnic group are the Mandingo at 7%. The Mandinga are found mainly in the east and north of the country, and are the largest resident of the big cities, especially Kabal and Falaba in Koinadugu District in the North District and Yengema, Kono in the east of the country. Some notable Mandinga include Sierra Leonean third, President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah, former Sierra Leonean Vice President Sorie Ibrahim Koroma and current Sierra Leonean Minister of Natural Resources Minkailu Mansaray. After the Mandingo, they are the Kono, who live mainly in the Kono district in eastern Sierra Leone. The Kono are descendants of Guinea. The Kono are mainly farmers and diamond miners.
Some notable Kono ethnicities include current Sierra Leonean vice president Alhaji Samuel Sam-Sumana and the first course Sierra Leonean lady Sia Koroma Nyama. Behind the Kono, are the Creoles found mainly in the capital city of Freetown and its western environs. Creole culture is different from that of other ethnic groups in Sierra Leone, and is typical of Western culture and ideals. Much smaller ethnic groups are the Kuranko, who are related to the Mandingo. The Kuranko are believed to have started arriving in Sierra Leone from Guinea around 1600. and settle in the north. The Loko in the north are native to Sierra Leone and have lived in Sierra Leone since it was discovered. The Susu and Yalunka in the far north, in the Kambia district around the border with Guinea are people, although they are both descendants of Guinea.
The Kissi and the much smaller Vai group are further inland in the Kailahun district in the East next to the Liberian border. On the coast of Bonthe District in the south are the Sherbro, who are native to Sierra Leone and have settled on Sherbro Island since its founding. In the past, Sierra Leoneans were noted for their educational achievements, business activity, entrepreneurial skills, and arts and crafts, particularly wood carving. Many are part of the large ethnic networks extending to several countries, linking West African states in the area. But the level of education and infrastructure has dropped dramatically in the last 30 years.