World Christian Database

Belarus, Moldova, Kyrgystan and Indonesia

Changes to the official spelling of country names do not happen frequently nor lightly, but with this quarterly update Belorussia becomes Belarus, Moldavia becomes Moldova, and Kirgistan becomes Kyrgystan.

Belorussia to Belarus
(Belorussia is considered an inappropriate name in English because of the Soviet period)

Moldavia to Moldova
(Moldavia refers to the Medieval kingdom and also has Soviet baggage)

Kirgizstan to Kyrgyzstan
(The Economist used the first for a while but has now abandoned it)

Database administrators linking to the WCD should note that these changes have altered the alphabetical order of Belarus and Kyrgyzstan, and hence the country codes of these two countries have also changed to suit. For Belarus 'belo' becomes 'bela' and for Kyrgyzstan 'kirg' becomes 'kyrg'.

Religion in Indonesia

Other substantial data updates have been incorporated across many countries this quarter from new Census data and from a refinement of working definitions.

The most notable recategorization is to the religion of many Indonesians from being termed New Religionists to being termed Muslims. This change recognizes that the weighting of what is often a syncretistic mix of beliefs and practices can shift over time from being properly termed a 'New religion with Islamic influence', to being 'Islam with syncretistic practices'.

This change highlights once again that the World Christian Database is complete in itself for historical data and should not be compared even with it's own earlier versions. For example, to see how religion in Indonesia has changed between 2000 and 2005, one should use the "religion over time" queries in this present version (which has both those years and more), rather than refer to earlier versions for the 2000 data.