eurel     Sociological and legal data on religions in Europe and beyond
You are here : Home » Austria » Social and religious data » Religious participation » Religious practice » Attendance of religious services and praying

Attendance of religious services and praying

Data on the attendance of religious services is based on two different sources. First, it is covered in various social surveys, where respondents themselves indicate the frequency of attending religious services. Second, the Roman Catholic Church collects in their church statistics information on mass attendance by counting the number of churchgoers on two Sundays during the year.

With regard to Roman Catholics, these data sources yield somewhat different results. The last Austrian Values Study from 2010 indicated that 21% of Catholics attended church every Sunday. This represents a decline by about one half compared to the beginning of the 1970s. According to church statistics of the Bishop’s Conference of Austria, 11% of Catholics attended church on an average Sunday in 2014. Usually, this count is related to only 85% of Catholics since it is assumed that some of them are prevented to attend mass on a given Sunday. This reduction of the denominator implies that 13% of Catholics would attend church every Sunday; the corresponding value was 31% in 1970.

Across Austria, there is a clear regional difference between Vienna and the other federal states. Based on the International Social Survey 2010, less than 20% of Roman Catholics in Vienna attended church at least monthly, which compares to approximately 30% in the other federal states.

Data on attendance of religious services for other religions and denominations are less robust, mostly because of their small numbers in social surveys.

With regard to the frequency of praying, survey data show that, although a decline over time was noted, it was markedly less steep than for church attendance. In 2010, 23% of the Austrian population indicated to pray daily based on the Austrian Values Study while 20% never prayed. Again, there is a clear regional divide within Austria: 19% indicated to pray at least weekly in Vienna compared to 32% in the other federal states, according to the International Social Survey 2008.

Sources and further information:
 Polak, Regina / Schachinger, Christoph Schachinger, “Stabil in Veränderung: Konfessionsnahe Religiosität in Europa”, in Regina Polak (Hg.), Zukunft. Werte. Europa. Die Europäische Wertestudie 1990-2010: Österreich im Vergleich, Wien / Köln / Weimar, 2011, pp. 191-219.
 Potančoková, Michaela / Berghammer, Caroline , “Urban faith: religious change in Vienna and Austria, 1986-2013”, in Hans Gerald Hödl / Lukas Pokorny (eds.), Religion in Austria, Volume 2, Wien 2014, pp. 217-251.
 Zulehner, Paul M., Verbuntung. Kirchen im weltanschaulichen Pluralismus. Religion im Leben der Menschen 1970-2010, Ostfildern, 2011.

D 19 April 2016    ACaroline Berghammer

CNRS Unistra Dres Gsrl

Follow us:
© 2002-2024 eurel - Contact