What is the belief according to your religion

The social situation in Germany

More than every fourth person considers the existence of a god to be excluded or not proven. What is striking is the large proportion of non-believers in East Germany. Almost two thirds of the population in Germany assigned to a Christian religious community in 2018. The proportion of Muslims in Germany was a good six percent in 2018. All other religious communities each accounted for less than one percent of the population. In addition to the regional differences, it should be noted that membership in a religious community does not say anything about the depth of faith.

Facts

In a Eurobarometer survey in December 2018, around 29 percent of respondents in Germany described themselves as Catholics, 26 percent as Protestants, 2 percent as Orthodox Christians and 8 percent as other Christians - a total of 64.2 percent of those questioned assigned themselves to a Christian religious community . The second largest group with around 27 percent were atheists and agnostics, i.e. respondents for whom the existence of a god is excluded, has not been proven or cannot be proven. A good 3 percent described themselves as Muslims and just under one percent as Buddhists in the survey. For Jews, Hindus and Sikhs, the values ​​were below 0.2 percent. After all, 4.4 percent admitted to another religion or answered “don't know”.

In this context, the great differences between West and East Germany are remarkable: while in December 2018 in West Germany only 16.6 percent described themselves as non-believers, agnostics or atheists, in East Germany it was 68.3 percent of those surveyed. Accordingly, the proportion of respondents who described themselves as Christians was 74.0 percent in West Germany and 24.6 percent in East Germany.

The information given by all respondents in Germany as part of the Eurobarometer survey roughly coincides with the information provided by the Catholic and Protestant Churches on the number of their members: at the end of 2018, 27.7 percent of the total population in Germany were Catholics and 25 .5 percent of the Protestant Church - together 53.2 percent.

The atheists and agnostics do not have precise figures, as there is no institution to which this group would be bound by a majority due to its critical attitude towards belief. There are also no precise figures for Muslims, as there is no institution in Islam comparable to the Catholic or Protestant Church to which all believers belong. In addition, Muslims do not pay church tax, which could alternatively be used to record them. According to a projection by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF), there were between 4.4 and 4.7 million Muslims in Germany on December 31, 2015. This corresponded to a share between 5.4 and 5.7 percent of the total population. The research group Weltanschauungen in Germany (fowid) assumes that a good 5.3 million Muslims lived in Germany in 2018 (6.4 percent of the total population), of which a million were non-religious (Muslims who never attend religious events, but still call themselves Muslims).

The Religious Studies Media and Information Service e.V. - REMID puts the number of members of Orthodox, Oriental or United churches at 2.0 million in 2018 - which corresponds to the above-mentioned Eurobarometer survey. However, the number of Buddhists is given as only 270,000 (0.33 percent). After all, the number of members of the Jewish communities in Germany in 2018 was around 96,200 - 0.12 percent of the total population.

Regarding the information on religious affiliation, it should be borne in mind that membership in a religious community can have very different meanings for individual people. In extreme cases, belonging is life-determining for some, others are members of a church without even believing in a god or a spiritual force. In 2010, according to a Eurobarometer survey, 44 percent of citizens in Germany believed in a god. 25 percent believed in another spiritual force that guides life, 27 percent believed neither in a God nor in any other spiritual force, and 4 percent did not give any information.

In addition, for many citizens in Germany other values ​​are much more important than religion: In a Eurobarometer survey in November 2019 in which respondents were asked to select 3 out of 13 values ​​that are most important to them personally or that best represent the European Union , only 3 percent of respondents chose 'religion'. In the case of the personally most important values, there was no value that was mentioned less often. 'Peace' was mentioned most frequently for both questions (59 and 58 percent, respectively). This was followed, in different order, by 'human rights' (43 and 32 percent) and 'democracy' (40 and 43 percent).

Data Source

European Commission: Special Eurobarometer 484 (12/2018), Eurobarometer 92: Public Opinion in the European Union (11/2019), Special Eurobarometer 341 (02/2010); Secretariat of the German Bishops' Conference; Evangelical Church in Germany; Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF): How many Muslims live in Germany ?; Research group Weltanschauungen in Germany (fowid): Religious affiliations 2018; Religious Studies Media and Information Service e.V. - REMID: https://www.remid.de/; Central Welfare Office of Jews in Germany e.V., Central Council of Jews in Germany

Terms, methodological notes or reading aids

Information on Catholic and Protestant Church get here ...

Information on the subject Church by federal state get here ...

Information on Religion in Europe get here ...

The Eurobarometer is a public opinion poll in the countries of the European Union commissioned at regular intervals by the European Commission. A representative sample of the population is surveyed in all countries.