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Non-believers make up nearly 30% of Swiss population

Grossmünster Cathedral in Zurich on January 24, 2021: Because of the pandemic, church service congregations are limited to 50 people. © Keystone / Gaetan Bally

The number of residents without a religious faith has leapt over the past 20 years. In 2019, almost one-third (29.5%) of those over 15 did not belong to any religion, compared to 11.4% in 2000.

This content was published on January 26, 2021 - 16:04
Keystone-SDA/sm

The percentage of non-believers in Switzerland in 2019 rose by 1.6 percentage points more than the year before, according to figures released by the Federal Statistical Office on Tuesday.

Among foreign residents, 35.1% have no religious affiliation – 1.7 percentage points more than in 2018.

For Swiss nationals, the figure is slightly lower (27.6%), but rose by 1.5 percentage points in the space of a year. The proportion of people without any religious affiliation is particularly high among academics, where it stands at 43.7%, and in top management, where one in three has no religion.

Overall, 34.4% of adults living in Switzerland in 2019 said they were Roman Catholic; 22.5% were Protestant. Each religion had lost a fraction of a percentage point since 2018.

Fifty years ago, practically everyone in Switzerland belonged to one of the two national churches, with Protestants slightly outnumbering Catholics.

After a slight decline in 2018, the number of Muslims has increased slightly to 5.5% percent of the population, compared to 5.3% the year before. Jewish communities account for 0.2% of the population, less than half the size of the Hindu and Buddhist communities, which account for 0.6% and 0.5% respectively, unchanged from the previous year.

The general decline in religious affiliation is also reflected in practice: more than a third of adults living in Switzerland never attend religious services, and 45% had not prayed in the 12 months prior to the survey. At least a quarter say they have a daily conversation with God.


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