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Religious landscape

Overview of religious communities in Switzerland

July 2011 saw the publication of the final report arising from the survey conducted under National Research Programme 58: "Religions, the State and Society", which provides an overview of (...)

July 2011 saw the publication of the final report arising from the survey conducted under National Research Programme 58: "Religions, the State and Society", which provides an overview of religious communities in Switzerland (their characteristics, activities and development): Jörg Stolz, Mark Chaves, Christophe Monnot, Laurent Amiotte-Suchet, Die religiösen Gemeinschaften in der Schweiz: Eingenschaften, Aktivitäten, Entwicklung, Université de Lausanne, ISSRC, 2011.

This report provides the following figures :

Religion Figure %
Roman Catholics 1750 30.5 %
Free Evangelical Churches 1423 24.8%
Reformed 1094 19.1 %
Other Christian groups 399 7.0 %
Muslims 315 5.5 %
Hindus 189 3.3 %
Buddhists 142 2.5 %
Orthodoxs 58 1.0 %
Catholics 35 0.6 %
Jews 33 0.6 %
Other religious groups 296 5.2 %
Total 5734 100.0 %

Further information : Xavier Pilloud, Célia Francillon, La religiosité des chrétiens en Suisse et l’importance des Eglises dans la société actuelle, Report of the PNR 58, 2011.

D 8 October 2012   

The Swiss religious landscape

The Swiss researcher Claude Bovay has analised the data concerning religions resulting from the 2000 census; he has also taken into account the evolution between 1970 and 2000. The result is a (...)

The Swiss researcher Claude Bovay has analised the data concerning religions resulting from the 2000 census; he has also taken into account the evolution between 1970 and 2000. The result is a 130 pages report: "Le paysage religieux en Suisse" (the Swiss religious landscape), it includes many statistical tables.
A short presentation of the book can be read on the Religioscope website; the full text of the report is available in French on the Federal Statistics Office website.
In an article published in May 2016, Jörg Stolz et Anaïd Lindemann provide an analysis, based on the latest research on religious diversity, which traces its evolution and explains secularisation and pluralisation in the Swiss society (« La pluralisation, la sécularisation et le religieux dans les débats publics », Terra cognita 28, 2016).

See also OFS, "Evolution du paysage religieux" and "Appartenance religieuse 2013-2015", 2017.

D 9 May 2017    AAnaïd Lindemann

Religious landscape in Switzerland - 2015 Census

According to the results of the federal population census carried out from 2013 to 2015, 68.5% of people permanently living in Switzerland aged 15 years at least said they belonged to a Christian (...)

According to the results of the federal population census carried out from 2013 to 2015, 68.5% of people permanently living in Switzerland aged 15 years at least said they belonged to a Christian community, against 79.3% in 2000, distributed as follows:

- 37.7% Roman Catholic Church,
- 25.5% Reformed Evangelical Church,
- 2.7% Free Evangelical Churches and other Protestant communities,
- 2.3% Christian Orthodox Church,
- 0.9% other Christian Churches.

The nation’s two major Churches – Roman Catholic and Reformed – are therefore still the majority even though they are experiencing a drop in their number of followers (Roman Catholic Church : - 4.7% since 2000 / Reformed Church : - 9.1% since 2000). This fall can be explained by the fact that more and more people leave their original church because they no longer feel as though they belong. Indeed, during this very same census, 23,1% of the population living in Switzerland claimed it had “no religious affiliation”, against 11.1% in 2000 and 7.4% in 1990 and 1.1% in 1970. It should be noted in passing that the number of disaffiliations is much higher among Reformists than among Catholics. Only 1.3% of people did not reply to the question of religious belonging.

For the other religious traditions in Switzerland, the census depicts the following distribution:

- 0.2% Jewish communities,
- 5.1% Islamic communities,
- 0.5% Buddhist communities,
- 0.5% Hindu communities,
- 0.3% other religious movements.

These figures indicate a stable percentage for the Jewish communities, which was also 0.2% in 2000. A slightly higher percentage of Buddhist and Hindu communities, which were 0.3% and 0.4% respectively. As for Islam, an increase of 0.8% was recorded between 2000 and 2015. Finally, the number of people claiming other religious communities has increased 0.2% since 2000.

Sources of Data: Censuses of the Federal Statistics Office, Religious belonging, 2013-2015.
Further information:
- Pratiques et croyances religieuses et spirituelles en Suisse, 1ers résultats de l’Enquête sur la langue, la religion et la culture 2014, 2016.
- Jean-François Mayer, Recherches : ce que croient les Suisses aujourd’hui, Religioscope, 28 May 2016

updated by Anaïd Lindemann

D 20 June 2017    AJoëlle Sanchez AJörg Stolz

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