National Profiles > Regions > Northern Europe > Sweden
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  Preferred Religion (2015)1: Protestant

  Majority Religion (2015)2: Protestant (incl. Anglican, Pentecostal) (57.8%)

Religious Adherents, (2015)2

Sweden Northern Europe World
Christian (all denominations combined) 61.5% 65.4% 29.9%
  • Protestant
  • 56.1% 23.2% 5.6%
  • Pentecostal
  • 1.7% 1.7% 2.8%
  • Catholic
  • 1.6% 12.4% 15%
  • Orthodox
  • 1.4% 1.7% 3%
  • Other and Unknown Christian
  • 0.8% 1.9% 2.3%
    Muslim (all denominations combined) 4.4% 4.1% 22.8%
  • Sunni Muslim
  • 2.7% 3.6% 19%
  • Shia Muslim
  • 1.6% 0.5% 3.4%
  • Other and Unknown Muslim
  • < 0.1% < 0.1% 0.3%
    Buddhist (all denominations combined) 0.4% 0.4% 6.6%
  • Theravada Buddhist
  • 0.2% --- 1.6%
  • Mahayana Buddhist
  • 0.1% 0.1% 4.3%
  • Other and Unknown Buddhist
  • 0.1% 0.3% 0.5%
    Jewish 0.2% 0.3% 0.2%
    Ethnoreligionist (incl. Animist, Shamanist) 0.2% --- 2.5%
    Hindu 0.1% 1% 14.5%
    Neoreligionist 0.1% --- 0.1%
    Other Religionist 0.2% 0.3% 0.2%
    Not Religious (incl. Atheist) 32.8% 25.8% 12%

    Religious Demography3

    The country has an area of 173,732 square miles and a population of 9.1 million.

    There are numerous religious groups. The Government does not register the religion of citizens--it relies on statistics submitted by religious organizations when these apply for state funds.

    Religious membership or affiliation is concentrated in a few major denominations. According to the Church of Sweden (Lutheran), an estimated 75 percent of citizens are members; other Protestant groups total approximately 4.4 percent (400,000 persons) of the population. Membership in the Church of Sweden has decreased steadily since it separated from the state in 2000. During 2006, 56,537 members left the Church, 0.8 percent of its registered membership. Studies led by the Church found that individuals left primarily for economic reasons: membership carries a tax of 0.98 percent on income. (Separated members can still attend services.) In 2006 the Church baptized 65.1 percent of all children born in the country, a figure that has steadily declined over the past two decades. Less than 36 percent of 15-year-olds were confirmed in 2006; 80 percent were in 1970. The Church married 48.7 percent of all couples, compared to 61.1 percent in 2000.

    Approximately 5 percent (450,000-500,000) of residents are Muslims (although the officially sanctioned Muslim Council of Sweden, for Swedish government funding purposes, only reported 100,000 active participants.

    Religious communities representing less than 5 percent of the population include the Pentecostal movement and the Missionary (or Missions) Church, Jehovah's Witnesses, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons).

    The number of Jews is estimated at 18,500 to 20,000. The Jewish community estimated there are 9,500 practicing members. There are Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform synagogues, found mostly in the cities. Large numbers of Jews attend High Holy Day services, but attendance at weekly services is low.

    Smaller communities are concentrated in larger cities and include Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs, the Church of Scientology, Zoroastrians, Hare Krishna, Word of Faith, and the Unification Church.

    It is against the law for the Government to register the faith of individuals, therefore there are no statistics on correlation between religious groups and socioeconomic status. However, large numbers of immigrants are found at the bottom of the socioeconomic scale.

    Religions are closely tied to immigration, including the large Finnish-speaking Lutheran denomination and the Orthodox Christian churches of Syrians, Serbs, Greeks, Romanians, and Macedonians. Nearly all Roman Catholics are first- or second-generation immigrants, from southern Europe, Latin America, and Poland. Within the Stockholm Catholic Diocese, the Armenian, Chaldean, Maronite, Melchite, and Syrian churches celebrate Mass in their respective languages, as do the Polish, Croatian, Spanish, Italian, Eritrean, Vietnamese, Korean, and Ukrainian communities.

    While services in Christian churches generally are poorly attended, many persons observe major church festivals and prefer religious ceremonies to mark turning points in life such as weddings and funerals.


    1.  The Religious Characteristics of States Dataset Project: Government Religious Preference (GRP) measures government-level favoritism toward, and disfavor against, 30 religious denominations. A series of ordered categorical variables index the state's institutional favoritism in 28 different ways. The variables are combined to form five composite indices for five broad components of state-religion: official status, religious education, financial support, regulatory burdens, and freedom of practice. The five components' composites in turn are further combined into a single composite score, the GRP score. The RCS Data Project would like to acknowledge, recognize, and express our deepest gratitude for the significant contributions of Todd M. Johnson the principal investigator of the World Christian Database and the co-principal investigator of the World Religion Database.

    2.  The Religious Characteristics of States Dataset Project: Demographics reports the estimates of religious demographics, both country by country and region by region. The RCS was created to fulfill the unmet need for a dataset on the religious dimensions of countries of the world, with the state-year as the unit of observation. It estimates populations and percentages of adherents of 100 religious denominations including second level subdivision within Christianity and Islam. The RCS Data Project would like to acknowledge, recognize, and express our deepest gratitude for the significant contributions of Todd M. Johnson the principal investigator of the World Christian Database and the co-principal investigator of the World Religion Database.

    3.  The U.S. State Department's International Religious Freedom Report is submitted to Congress annually by the Department of State in compliance with Section 102(b) of the International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA) of 1998. This report supplements the most recent Human Rights Reports by providing additional detailed information with respect to matters involving international religious freedom. It includes individual country chapters on the status of religious freedom worldwide. A dataset with these and the other international measures highlighted on the country pages can be downloaded from this website. These State Department reports are open source.

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