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Religious landscape

Religious distribution

The principal religions practiced in Germany are Protestantism (Lutheran, Reformed, United) where the churches are grouped together under one federal body, the Evangelische Kirche in Deutschland (...)

The principal religions practiced in Germany are Protestantism (Lutheran, Reformed, United) where the churches are grouped together under one federal body, the Evangelische Kirche in Deutschland (EKD) and Roman Catholicism organized in the Deutsche Bischofskonferenz (DBK). The Catholic Church is made up of 7 archdioceses and 20 dioceses, while the EKD has 20 Churches. They represent together almost 63% of the population. About a third of the population, found mainly in East Germany, do not practice any religion.
The Jewish population, which was almost eradicated during the Nazi genocide, is very much in the minority even if it recently recorded increased numbers due to immigration from the former Soviet Union. There is also a sizeable Muslim population, resulting mainly from Turkish immigration, which has increased considerably. The religious landscape also displays other minority religions – the Baha’i Faith, Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism, etc, and religious associations like the Hare Krishnas, Church of Scientology, Jehovah Witnesses, etc.

Official data on religious membership in Germany is provided only for the Catholic Church, the EKD and some Jewish communities. Only estimations are available for the other religions

Official data on Churches in 2010 (Statistisches Bundesamt)

Absolute figures %
Roman Catholics (römisch-katholische Kirche) 24.651.000 30,2
Protestants (evangelische Kirche) 23.896.000 29,2
Jews (Zentralrat der Juden in Deutschland) 104.000 0,1
Others* 33.100.600 40,5
Total 81.751.600 100,0

Source: Statistisches Bundesamt (ed.), Statistisches Jahrbuch 2011: Für die Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Wiesbaden 2011; Sekretariat der Deutschen Bischofskonferenz (DBK), Katholische Kirche in Deutschland – Statistische Daten 2010, Bonn 2010; Evangelische Kirche in Deutschland (EKD), Statistik über die Äußerungen des kirchlichen Lebens in den Gliedkirchen der EKD im Jahr 2010, Nov. 2011.
* Others include those not affiliated with any religion.

Estimations on minority religious groups in 2005 (REMID)

Absolute figures
Old Catholics (Altkatholiken) 25.000
Free Evangelicals (evangelische Freikirchen) 1.482.000
Orthodox / Eastern Churches 895.000
Jews (in the Zentralrat and others) 189.000
Muslims 3.300.000
Others (Buddhists, Hindus etc.) 443.000
No religion 24.197.000

Source: Religionswissenschaftlicher Medien- und Informationsdienst (REMID), Religionen in Deutschland, 2005.

More recent information can be found on Statistisches Bundesamt.

D 26 July 2012    AMatthias Koenig ASabine Trittler

A bi-confessional country undergoing secularisation

Germany is a country marked by Catholic and Protestant bi-denominationalism. In 1987, West Germany comprised 42.9% Catholics and 41.6% Protestants. Several factors have modified the long-term (...)

Germany is a country marked by Catholic and Protestant bi-denominationalism. In 1987, West Germany comprised 42.9% Catholics and 41.6% Protestants. Several factors have modified the long-term religious landscape over recent decades: secularisation, individualisation and diversification of beliefs and religious practices or even the increasingly marked presence of Islam. It is also important to note the growing importance of those without confession, which accelerated under the effect of reunification. In 2012 in reunified Germany, there were 30.2% Catholics, 28.5% Protestants, 36.3% without confession and 3.9% Muslims. 2013 estimates indicate 29.6% Catholics, 28.2% Protestants, 36.6% without confession and 4.2% Muslims for a total population of 80.8 million inhabitants*. A significant decline in the proportion of Catholics and Protestants has been observed in recent years; this has particularly manifested itself in the significant numbers of those leaving the Churches.
As regards religious minorities, the Federal Republic of Germany comprises nearly 270,000 Buddhists, some 200,000 Jews, around 165,000 Jehovah’s Witnesses and 100,000 Hindus.

* See (Religionswissenschaftlicher Medien- und Informationsdienst REMID) or Forschungsgruppe Weltanschauungen in Deutschland - FOWID.

See also « L’Allemagne face au défi du pluralisme religieux et de la sécularisation» on ORELA.

D 13 February 2014    ASylvie Toscer-Angot

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