Fewer Norwegians go to church

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Church attendance has been declining in Norway for years, and new figures from state statistics bureau SSB indicate that even fewer are attending Sunday services now. Fewer children are being christened as well, while more atheists are registered today than there were 20 years ago.

Churches in Norway don't pull in the faithful like they used to. Here, the historic Tingelstad Church in Hadeland, north of Oslo. PHOTO: newsinenglish.no

Churches in Norway don’t pull in the faithful like they used to. Here, the historic Tingelstad Church in Hadeland, north of Oslo. PHOTO: newsinenglish.no

SSB (Statistisk sentralbyrå, Statistics Norway) reported that there’s been a clear trend towards secularization in Norway since the 1990s. Researchers point to migration from Norway’s traditional Lutheran state church to other faiths in line with Norway’s emergence as a multicultural society. Attendance at Catholic churches in Norway, for example, has boomed because of immigrants from Catholic countries like Poland, the Philippines and Spain.

Attendance at church services in Den norske kirke (the state church, which is still funded but not controlled by the state) was the lowest for many years, reported SSB in its periodical Samfunnssspeilet. Attendance throughout the year reached 6 million, compared to 7.5 million in 1995.

SSB’s latest survey on religion in Norway showed that 18 percent of those responding said they had no faith in any god, up from 10 percent in 1998. The survey also showed that 14 percent said they were not members of any religious organization, compared to 8 percent in 1994.

newsinenglish.no staff