Fewer Norwegians than before are members of a religious community
Many Norwegians belong to religious or life stance communities outside the Church of Norway, which last year lost a record number of members.
At the end of last year, the Church of Norway had 3,526,000 members, which corresponds to 65 per cent of the population. The church lost 129,000 members from the previous year.
“This is the largest decrease in members of the Church of Norway over the course of one year, compared to statistics which go back to 2005,” Senior Consultant Andreas Østhus at Statistics Norway (SSB) says.
The reason for the decline is that the Church of Norway removed children who have not been baptised from the membership register at the start of 2021. Children who have not been baptised were listed as ‘belonging’ to the Church of Norway if one of their guardians was a member. As a result, 117,000 of those children were removed from the membership register.
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Around 13 per cent of the population in Norway, approximately 700,000 people, are members of a religious or life stance community outside the Church of Norway. This is an increase of 20,000 from the previous year.
Most are members of Christian communities, around 374,000 people. Next come Muslim communities with 176,000 members. Almost 107,000 are members of a life stance community, this figure mostly reflects members of the Norwegian Humanist Association.
In total, an ever-lower proportion of the population is associated with a religious or life stance community.
“Despite the rise in the number of members in religious and life stance communities outside the Church of Norway, the drop in membership at the church is large enough that the proportion of the population belonging to these communities falls overall. This proportion now corresponds to 78 per cent,” says Østhus.
48 per cent of those born in 2021 were baptised in the Church of Norway. This is a slight increase from 2020, when the proportion was 45 per cent.