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2001 Census data on religious denominations

The census was taken in May 2001, for the first time since the establishment of the independent Slovak Republic.
Census data on the religious denominations of the population were collected on a self-assessment method, separately from other demographic characteristics. Each person was allowed (but was not obliged) to declare freely their religious denomination. The religious denomination of children under 15 was entered by their parents.
Compared with the previous Census that was held on 3 March 1991, the most significant shifts can be seen in items characterising the whole population. The number of people professing an allegiance to a church or religious group increased from 72.8 % to 84.1 %, that is to say 11.3 %; in absolute terms the increase was from 3,840,949 to 4,521,549, an increase of 680,600 citizens. If 4.5 million of the total number of 5,379,445 inhabitants claim membership of a church or religious group, it must be said that not only is religion not losing its meaning, nor is it merely holding its own, but rather its meaning is increasing.
On the other hand, the number of those that did not claim membership of any church or religious community, that is to say are persons without confession, has increased. In 1991 it was 515,511 persons, representing 9.8 % of the resident population, while after the last Census it was 697,308 persons, representing 12.96%, in absolute numbers this means an increase of 181,797 persons, or 3.16 %.
The formation of religious views and of attitudes towards religion is occurring gradually, through a return to roots that were restrained or broken during the period before 1989. It can happen through personal decision: individuals joining a religious community on the basis of their individual life situation and or a definitive rift with a particular church or religious community in terms of personal commitment and declared in the Census.

Public discussion on the new model for financing the church, and the ensuing following campaigns - especially of left-wingers - that preceded the census, and portrayed state contributions to registered churches as misspent, played an undoubtedly significant role.
Given that in 1991, 917,835 of inhabitants did not declare their religious affiliation, there was an issue as to what the number would be in the next census. Today we can say that it has decreased to 757,238, that is to say that there are now only 160,598 inhabitants left refusing to declare a religious affiliation.
There was an increase in the number of those that professed to belong to an “other religious community or church” (other then registered). It is now 6,294 inhabitants compared with 3,625 in 1991. Newly established religious communities in Slovak society may be responsible for this increase.
The increase in people claiming membership of particular churches and religious communities is because a large number of inhabitants professed non-established confessions in the year 1991. It must be related to the pastoral work of particular churches and an information campaign organized by the churches before the Census itself, as well to a process of internal commitment or rejection by each inhabitant, recalling the confession of their ancestors, or changing their religious conviction.

Difference Number in 2001 Number in 1991
Roman Catholic Church + 520 737
+ 8,6 %
3 708 120,
68,9 %
3 187 383,
60,3 %
Greek Catholic Church + 41 098
+ 0,69 %
219 831,
4,1 %
178 733,
3,41 %
Protestant Church of Augsburg Confession + 46 461
+0,7 %
372 858,
6,9 %
326 397,
6,2 %
Reformed Christian Church + 27 190
+ 0,4 %
109 735,
2,0 %
82 545,
1,6 %
Orthodox Church + 15 987
+ 0,3 %
50 363,
0,9 %
34 376,
0,6 %
Protestant Methodist Church + 2 988 7 347 4 359
Religious community of Jehovah’s Witnesses 20 630
Brethren Unity of Baptists + 1 097 3 562 2 465
Brethren Church + 1 356 3 217 1 861
Church of Seventh Day
Adventists
+ 1 708 3 429 1 721
Apostolic Church + 2 789 3 905 1 116
Jewish religious communities + 1 398 2 310 912
Old Catholic Church + 851 1 733 882
Christian congregations + 5 819 6 519 700
Czechoslovak Hussite Church + 1 071 1 696 625
Without confession +181 797,
+3,16 %
697 308,
12, 96 %
515 511,
9,8 %
Affiliating to churches and religious communities +680 600,
+ 11,3 %
4 521 549, 84,1 % 3 840 949, 72,8 %
Affiliating to other churches and religious communities + 2 669 6 294 3 625
Not ascertained -757 237 -14,42 % 160 598 2,98 % 917 835 17,4 %

D 3 October 2012    AMichaela Moravcikova

CNRS Unistra Dres Gsrl

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