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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 (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

CNRS Unistra Dres Gsrl

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