- Religious Freedom
- Religious Regulation
- Religious Support
- Public Opinion
Preferred Religion (2015)1: Western Christian
Majority Religion (2015)2: Catholic (36.4%)
Religious Adherents, (2015)2
|Christian (all denominations combined)||70.3%||62.9%||29.9%|
|Muslim (all denominations combined)||5.1%||6.1%||22.8%|
|< 0.1%||< 0.1%||0.3%|
|Buddhist (all denominations combined)||0.4%||0.6%||6.6%|
|Not Religious (incl. Atheist)||23.6%||27.4%||12%|
The country has an area of 15,942 square miles and a population of 7.5 million.
Three-quarters of the population nominally belong to either the Roman Catholic or the Protestant churches, and although actual church attendance rates are much lower, 80 percent say they are religious. Of this group, 22 percent acknowledged being "very religious," according to a July-August 2007 Religion Monitor survey sponsored by the Bertelsmann Foundation.
The arrival of immigrants has contributed to the noticeable growth of religious communities that had little presence in the country in the past. The 2000 census notes membership in religious denominations as follows: 41.8 percent Roman Catholic; 35.3 percent Protestant; 4.3 percent Muslim; 1.8 percent Christian Orthodox; and 11.1 percent professed no formal creed. Groups that constitute less than 1 percent of the population include: Old Catholic, other Christian groups, Buddhist, Hindu, and Jewish. Authorities had no indication of religious affiliation for 4.3 percent of residents.
The majority of Muslims originate from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, and Albania, followed by Turkey as well as Arab and North African countries. Muslim immigrants from the Balkans and Southeastern Europe typically settle in the German-speaking eastern and central regions, whereas those arriving from Arab and North African countries commonly relocate to the French-speaking western region. The majority are Sunni Muslims, while other groups include Shi'a, Alawites, and others. Approximately 10 to 15 percent of these are estimated to be practicing believers. The country has two large mosques, in Geneva and Zurich, and approximately 120 official prayer rooms. It is believed that another 100 prayer rooms exist, many of them belonging to Albanian, Turkish, or Arab communities.
Approximately 75 percent of Jewish households are located in Zurich, Geneva, Basel, and Bern.
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, the co-principal investigator of the World Religion Database, and co-author of the World Christian Encyclopedia series.
2. The Religious Characteristics of States Dataset Project: Demographics reports annual estimates of religious demographics, both country by country and region by region. It estimates populations and percentages of adherents of 100 religious denominations including second level subdivisions 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, the co-principal investigator of the World Religion Database, and co-author of the World Christian Encyclopedia series.
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.