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A growing diversity

The Muslims are the group who grew most, mainly due to the immigration from former colonies, namely Guinea and Mozambique. The data still shows the overall superiority of the Christian confessions, in particular, the “other Christians”, among which, as we can see below, the Evangelical, the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Neo-Pentecostals from the Universal Church from the Kingdom of God are the most representative.

Current religious position, 2011 N %
Total 3837 100,0
Catholic 3052 79,5
Believer without religion 177 4,6
Atheist 158 4,1
Indifferent 123 3,2
Agnostic 86 2,2
Evangelical 84 2,2
Jehovah’s Witnesses 49 1,3
Other Christian 30 0,8
Orthodox 20 0,5
Other non Christian 14 0,4
Muslim 12 0,3
Other protestant 6 0,2
Universal Church from the Kingdom of God 3 0,1
Don’t know/ don’t answer 23 0,6

Note: Sample composed of residents in Continental Portugal, with 15 or more years. The maximum error of the sample with a confidence level of 95% is ± 1.6%.

Religious position 1999 (%) 2011 (%)
Catholic 86,9 79,5
Other religion 2,7 5,7
No religion 8,2 14,2
Don’t know/ don’t answer 2,2 0,6
Total 100,0 100,0

Besides the growth of believers of other religions, the census and the survey allow us to conclude to the decline of the relative importance of Catholic population in favor of the “No Religion”. Especially, according to the survey (Teixeira, 2012, p. 3), of the “believers without religion”, a fact that leads the authors of the study to consider the possible existence of a correlation between the growth of this position and the decreased percentage of Catholics. This category could include not only more diffuse believers, but also believers from the periphery of Catholicism, or former Catholics, whose link to the religion were already very tenuous.

Teixeira, Alfredo (2012) – Identidades religiosas em Portugal: representações, valores e práticas, Centro de Estudos e Sondagens de Opinião & Centro de Estudos de Religiões e Culturas – Universidade católica Portuguesa, 2011.
Vilaça, Helena, Da torre de Babel às terras prometidas: pluralismo religioso em Portugal. Porto, Edições Afrontamento, 2006.
Instituto nacional de estatística, Censos 2011 Resultados definitivos – Portugal. Lisboa, INE, 2012.

May 2013

D 31 May 2013    AHelena Vilaça AMaria João Oliveira

CNRS Unistra Dres Gsrl

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