eurel     Sociological and legal data on religions in Europe and beyond
You are here : Home » Hungary » Social and religious data » Religious groups and nonreligion

Religious groups and nonreligion

Judaism and Islam in Hungary

There are no exact data on religious affiliation. 27% did not provide an answer to religious affiliation in the 2011 census 20% of younger generations do not belong to any denomination. The estimated number of Jews could be ten times higher than the number of those expressing an adherence (10 thousand). The number of Muslims has risen to 5,579 (2,907 in 2001). 2,300 Muslims declared to be Arabs, 2,200 stated other ethnicities. As a multiple ethnic affiliation is possible, 4,000 Muslims also claimed to be ethnic Hungarians. Hungary is probably the only country in Europe where Jews outnumber Muslims, although Muslim communities often claim to have significantly more members than the figures stated by the census.

Since the Reformation, Hungarians have been divided between Catholicism and Protestantism (mainly Calvinism). Orthodox minorities and a Jewish community have been present in the country since early times. The proportion of the Jewish population has risen in the 19th century from 1% to 5% due to immigration, mainly from Galicia. 2/3rd of the Jewish community perished in the Holocaust, particularly in 1944. The remaining Jews are highly integrated and mostly secular. The collapse of the communist regime has also brought a religious revival for the Jewish community. Various religious communities (Orthodox and Reform besides the mainstream Conservative) were launched and a number of new institutions were set up.

The history of Hungary was determined from the 15th to the 17th century by the conflict with the Ottoman Empire – widely understood as a war between the Christian and the Muslim world. As the Turks were driven out from the country by the end of the 17th century, the presence of Muslims has practically seized until the very recent times. For the last century, Hungary has lost more population due to emigration than gained due to immigration. In fact a large part of immigrants are ethic Hungarians from the neighbouring countries who were cut off Hungary due to post World War I border arrangements. Since the collapse of the communist regime, the migration balance is slightly positive as about 5% of the population lives and works in other EU countries, and slightly more non-nationals have moved to the country. Their ethnic origin can be as various as Hungarian or Chinese. The percentage of resident aliens is about 2% of the population. The number of Muslims in the country has risen from a few hundred thirty years ago to a few thousand, that is still a relatively low figure. Occording to the census held in 2011, half of the Muslims stated a Hungarian identity alongside with Turkish, Arab, Iranian and other identities. The share of those having a higher education is relatively high. A still visible part of the Muslim community has arrived as students from Palestine, Egypt and other Soviet-oriented Arab countries in the 70s and 80s and have not returned to their home countries. Probably a larger number of Muslims are among the less integrated new immigrants who were left outside the scope of the census for various reasons.

D 19 March 2019    ABalázs Schanda

CNRS Unistra Dres Gsrl

Follow us:
© 2002-2023 eurel - Contact