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L’appartenance religieuse en Slovaquie

There is no standardised or unified terminology in terms of defining and measuring religious affiliation in Slovakia. The legislation concerning definitions of religious affiliation also relies on various concepts. On the one hand, acts on registration of churches and religious societies in Slovak republic refer to “church members”, that is people who are familiar with, and approve of, the teachings of their church or religious association. On the other hand, it refers to “believers”, mainly in relation to declaring affiliation of Slovak inhabitants to a church or religious association in censuses. Thus, the affiliation to a church is freely considered as the commitment to the religious content of personal faith.
Representative surveys do not measure membership, but affiliation, in a variety of ways.
The religious groups usually don’t provide the numbers of their members, and there are no publicly accessible databases of numbers of church members.
Nevertheless, it is possible to determine people affiliated to the dominant religious groups in Slovakia, particularly those registered by the state. In terms of small and unregistered churches, it is not possible to acquire precise data, and sometimes not even rough data.
The result of this disunity is that diverse data, from various sources, and with different types of measures are available. There is no clear knowledge either about the religious belonging of people who do not belong to any of the registered churches, or who are not citizens of the Slovak Republic and, therefore, do not appear in the censuses

The most detailed accessible data come from censuses, in which there are data on affiliation to some of the churches acknowledged by the state (registered) for all Slovak inhabitants (not only Slovak citizens, but all people with permanent residence in Slovakia) including children under 15 years of age. In their case, information is given by their parents.
However, throughout over 150 years of measuring in censuses, the wording and meaning of the question concerning religious affiliation has changed. The census measured affiliation to a church rather than belonging. Censuses serve as the basic source of information on religious confession. The question on religion in Slovakia dates back to 1869 and is accessible also in the latest census in 2011. Membership in the church into which the person was initiated, which means the register (of births and deaths), into which he/she was registered (e.g. at the occasion of a baptism) was measured until 1950. If an inhabitant did not want to affiliate to any church, he/she had to submit a document claiming church leaving. In 1961, 1971, 1981, religious confession was not measured in censuses. Since 1991, censuses survey confession as a subjective affiliation to a religion (in 2001, 2011).
The Statistical office of the Slovak Republic, which is responsible for preparing the Census 2021, is trying to come up with a new and more unambiguous wording for measuring religious belonging, while preserving the comparability of results from previous censuses.

D 31 janvier 2020    AMiroslav Tížik

CNRS Unistra Dres Gsrl

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