The Swiss Times - Swiss News in English

Only one-third of Swiss say they do not belong to a religion

  • By The Swiss Times
  • 13 June 2023
More and more people in Switzerland do not belong to any specific religion or church, but that number is well below the average in Europe. Religion has long been a cornerstone of Swiss life.
Only one-third of Swiss say they do not belong to a religion
The outline of several church steeples in downtown Zurich (Keystone SDA).

(Keystone SDA) More and more people in Switzerland do not belong to any specific religion or church. In 2021, this proportion made up around one-third of the population. This makes this group the second largest in Switzerland after belonging to the Roman Catholic Church.

About 32% of the Swiss population say they belong to no specific religious faith, almost as large as the Roman Catholic group at 33%, according to a new report from the Federal Statistical Office (FSO) released on Tuesday. This was followed by the group of Evangelical Reformed with 21%.

At least 200,000 people ages 15 and older living in Switzerland were interviewed for the study. The proportion of people without a religion in Switzerland has risen steadily since the 1970s. In 2000, around 11% of the Swiss population said they had no religion. 

In a European comparison, however, that percentage is not very high. In France, for example, the proportion of non-religious people is more than half.

Only one-third of Swiss say they do not belong to a religion
People enjoying a spring day in Les Dents du Midi above Montreux, Switzerland (Keystone SDA).
Young and urban

According to the FSO, people without a religious affiliation in Switzerland tend to be young, educated and live in the city. They are also increasingly living in western Switzerland. In the cantons of Basel-Stadt and Neuchâtel, more than half said they were non-religious.

According to the FSO, some of these people have left their religious community, while others have never belonged to any religion at all. However, people without specific beliefs also engaged in spiritual or religious practices. Almost one-third of this group even stated that they were more or less spiritual or religious.

Practices aimed at self-awareness and personal development are particularly popular with Swiss people without a religion, according to the survey. 

This article was reprinted with permission from Keystone SDA.

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