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Germany - Major World Religions2

Germany - Largest Religious Groups2

  Preferred Religion (2015)1: Western Christian

  Majority Religion (2015)2: Protestant (incl. Anglican, Pentecostal) (31.3%)

Religious Adherents, (2015)2

Germany Western Europe World
Christian 64.29% 63.01% 29.88%
  • Protestant
  • 31.33% 16.86% 9.58%
  • Catholic
  • 30.22% 43.37% 14.95%
  • Orthodox
  • 1.71% 1.38% 3.05%
    Not Religious 26.6% 27.36% 12.1%
  • Unspecified Not Religious
  • 23.99% 24.22% 10.11%
  • Atheist
  • 2.61% 3.15% 1.97%
    Muslim 5.02% 6.14% 22.98%
  • Sunni
  • 4.42% 5.73% 19.28%
  • Shiite
  • 0.59% 0.41% 3.44%
    Jewish 0.16% 0.36% 0.19%
    Hindu 0.14% 0.17% 14.55%
    Buddhist 0.11% 0.57% 6.65%
    New Age/Neo-Religionists 0.06% 0.09% 0.15%
    Sikh 0.03% 0.04% 0.36%
    Bahai 0.01% 0.02% 0.11%
    East Asian Complex 0.01% 0.14% 4.85%

    Religious Demography3

    The country has an area of 137,847 square miles and a population of 82 million. There are no official statistics on religious groups; however, unofficial estimates and figures provided by religious organizations give an approximate breakdown of the membership of the country's denominations. The data below are compiled from various sources and are for 2006, which is the latest available data, unless otherwise noted.

    The Roman Catholic Church has a membership of 25.7 million. The Evangelical Church, a confederation of the Lutheran, Uniate, and Reformed Protestant Churches, has 25.3 million members. Together, these two churches account for nearly two-thirds of the population.

    Protestant Christian denominations include: New Apostolic Church, 371,305; Ethnic German Baptists from the former Soviet Union (FSU), 85,000; and Baptist, 75,000. Muslims number 3.5 million, including Sunnis, 2.5 million; Alevis, 410,000; and Shi'a, 225,000. Until 2004 the annual number of conversions to Islam was 300, largely Christian women native citizens marrying Muslim men; however, since 2004 the annual numbers of conversions have jumped into the thousands. There are approximately 2,600 Islamic places of worship, including an estimated 150 traditional architecture mosques, with 100 more mosques being planned. One million Muslims are citizens. Orthodox Christians number 1.4 million, including Greek Orthodox/Constantinople Patriarchate, 450,000; Serbian Orthodox, 250,000; Romanian Orthodox, 300,000; and Russian Orthodox/Moscow Patriarchate, 150,000. Buddhists number 245,000, Jehovah's Witnesses 165,000, and Hindus 97,500. The Church of Scientology operates 18 churches and missions, and according to press reports, it has 30,000 members. However, according to the Offices for the Protection of the Constitution (OPC) in Brandenburg and Hamburg, the Church of Scientology has 5,000-6,000 members.

    According to estimates, Jews number more than 200,000, of which 107,330 are registered members of the Jewish community. Of these registered community members, 100,967 are immigrants and 6,363 are originally from the country. From 1990 to 2006, approximately 202,000 Jews and non-Jewish dependents from the countries of the FSU arrived, joining 25,000 to 30,000 Jews already in the country. As a result of a more restrictive immigration policy regarding Jews from the FSU, the number of Jewish immigrants decreased to 1,296 in 2007 from 1,971 in 2006 and 3,124 in 2005. The new policy was designed in cooperation with Jewish organizations in order to better manage the integration of individuals into the Jewish community.

    An estimated 21 million persons (one-quarter of the population) either have no religious affiliation or belong to unrecorded religious organizations.

    On December 18, 2007, the Bertelsmann Foundation published a survey on religious convictions and practice in the country, which failed to confirm the commonly held belief that the country was becoming more secular. Fully 70 percent of adult respondents said they were religious, and of those, 18 percent said they were "deeply religious" and regularly attend worship services, up from 15 percent in earlier studies. In the 18-29 age group, 41 percent expressed a belief in eternal life and a divine being, more than in any other age bracket. Roman Catholics report that 15 percent of nominal Catholics regularly attend Sunday Mass. Seventeen years after reunification, the country's eastern part remains far more secular than the west. The Bertelsmann Foundation found former easterners self-identified as 36 percent religious and 8 percent deeply religious, in contrast with 78 percent and 21 percent, respectively, for those from the west. Only 5 to 10 percent of eastern citizens belong to a religious organization, but numbers are increasing among non-Lutheran Protestants in the east.


    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.

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