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Religious diversity Is Switzerland a Christian nation?

Religious procession in Lugano

A Candlemas procession in Lugano, canton Ticino, in February

(© Ti-press)

Although Christianity dominates the Swiss religious landscape, there is a lot of diversity within the faith and the Alpine country is home to a variety of other religions and sects.  

Two-thirds of the Swiss population are either Roman Catholic or Protestant. Most Swiss cantons recognise these two as official religions. This means that those who register as adherents are required to pay a church tax. The amount can vary from place to place. For example, in the canton of Zug it is an additional 15% of the basic cantonal tax if you are a Roman Catholic and 10% if a Protestant. In some places even businesses have to pay. The NZZ newspaper estimatesexternal link that the two churches received around CHF440 million in 2016 from church tax on individuals and corporate taxes on companies. 

graphic of religious breakdown

Outside Christianity, Islam is the largest non-official religion at 5.2% of the population followed by Hinduism, Buddhism and Judaism (all less than 1%). A quarter of Swiss residents do not identify with any religion. However, the official statistics do not reflect the country’s real religious diversity. This is because splinter groups within Christianity, eastern religions, esoteric groups and sects have too few adherents to occupy a significant slice of the religious pie chart. For example, Switzerland has around 150 evangelical churches catering to 9,500 believers and according to some estimates almost 1,000 so-called sects. attempts to capture some of this diversity. 

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smaller religions

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