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Religious belonging and religious demography

Religious belonging: a majority of Catholic

Population according to the answer to the question on religion in the Census of 1900, 1940, 1950, 1960, 1981, 1991, 2001, 2011 Census Total Catholic Others No religion No answer 1900 5 423 (...)

Population according to the answer to the question on religion in the Census of 1900, 1940, 1950, 1960, 1981, 1991, 2001, 2011

Census Total Catholic Others No religion No answer
1900 5 423 132 5 416 204
(99,87%)
5 012
(0,09%)
1 454
(0,03%)
462
(0,01%)
1940 7 722 152 7 191 913
(93,13%)
63 060
(0,81%)
347 284
(4,49%)
119 895
(1,55%)
1950 8 510 240 8 167 457
(95,97%)
342 783
(4,03%)
1960 8 889 392 8 701 898
(97,89%)
39 747
(0,44%)
147 774
(1,66%)
1981 7 836 504 6 352 705
(81,06%)
115 398
(1,44%)
253 786
(3,23%)
1 114 615
(14,22%)
1991 8 376 840 6 524 908
(77,89%)
149 850
(1,76%)
225 334
(2,68%)
1 476 748
(17,62%)
2001 8 699 515 7 353 548
(84,53%)
216 158
(2,49%)
342 987
(3,94%)
786 822
(9,04%)
2011* 8 989 849 7 281 887
(81,0%)
319 161
(3,55%)
615 332
(6,84%)
744 874
(8,29%)

Source: Vilaça (2006, p. 160) based on Instituto Nacional de Estatística (INE).
*Data for 2011, percentages are our calculations.

Predominantly Catholic, the Portuguese society, according to the dominant trends of the Western Europe, has come to display an increasingly diverse religious world. This phenomenon has its roots in the late nineteenth century, but its impact has been accentuated in the last three decades. The statistical weight of non Catholic religions remains of little importance. However, apart from the Jews, all other non Catholic religions have grown in importance during the last three decades.

Growth rate of non Catholic population

Religion 1981 1991 2001 2011 Variation of population by religious group 1981/2011* Growth rate of population by religious group 1981/2011 (%)*
Orthodox 2 564 11 319 17 443 56 550 + 53 986 210,5
Protestants 39 212 36 932 48 301 75 571 + 36 359 92,7
Other Christian 59 995 79 441 122 745 163 338 + 103 343 172,3
Jew 5 493 3 519 1 773 3 061 - 2 432 - 44,3
Muslim 4 335 9 134 12 014 20 640 + 16 305 376,1
Other non Christian 3 895 9 455 13 882 28 596 + 24 701 634,2
Total 115 494 149 850 216 158 319 161 + 203 667 176,3

Source: Vilaça (2006, p. 166) based on Instituto Nacional de Estatística (INE).
*Data for 2011, our calculations based on Instituto Nacional de Estatística (INE).

D 31 May 2013    AHelena Vilaça AMaria João Oliveira

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 (...)

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.

Sources:
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

A majority of Catholics

The great majority of Portuguese (about 84% of the total population, according the census of 2001), partake of a Roman Catholic tradition. The dominical practice of Catholicism, according to a (...)

The great majority of Portuguese (about 84% of the total population, according the census of 2001), partake of a Roman Catholic tradition. The dominical practice of Catholicism, according to a study undertaken by the Roman Catholic Church (also in 2001) is shared by 1.933.677 practicing Catholics (18.7% of the total population), and the number of people taking holy communion is 1.065.036 (10.3% of the total population). About half of the marriages that take place in Portugal are Roman Catholic marriages that automatically produce civil effects. Divorce is allowed as stipulated in the Civil Code, by mutual consent or by having one of the consorts initiating a process in Court, even though the Canonical Matrimonial Code does not contemplate such figure.

D 21 February 2015    AJosé Carlos Calazans ALuís Seabra Melancia APaulo Jorge Soares Mendes Pinto

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