Muslim religious communities grow

Central Jamaat Ahle-Sunnat in Greenland in OsloCentral Jamaat Ahle-Sunnat in Greenland in Oslo.Photo: Gorm Kallestad / NTB scanpix

Today, 153,000 Muslims in Norway are registered as members of Islamic religious communities, an increase of 3.3% over last year.


Figures from Statistics Norway (SSB) released on Friday show that membership of Muslim mosques has increased by 26.6% in the past five years. Over the past ten years, membership has more than doubled, to 72,000 in 2006.
Islam is the second largest religion in Norway, measured by the number of registered members. Muslims today account for 2.9% of the population, up from 2.8% last year.

Fewer Christians

At the same time, Christian faith communities outside of the Norwegian Church
have lost members. At the turn of the year they had 340,000 members. That was a decline of approximately 10,000 people, 3%, from the previous year.

The fall is due in particular to the Svenska Margaretaförsamlingen, which decreased from approximately 22,000 to 10,000 members in one year, a decline of 56%.

This is due to the fact that the Ministry of Culture, as of January the 1st this year, demanded that the Nordic people’s churches (folkekirkene) should contact everybody they had in their membership registers and ask them if they wish to be members of the branches in Norway.

The consequence was that the Finnish church of Norway fell from 4,100 members in 2015 to 1,300 at the turn of the year. The Icelandic church had 6,800 members in 2015, but close to 1,100 at the turn of the year.
The number of members of the Human-Ethics League was 89,400 at the turn of the year. This was an increase of 2,500 members from the previous year.

Only 769 members of Jewish communities are registered in Norway today, shows SSB, which is one person less than last year.

More Catholics

In total, as of the 1st of January, 2017, 619,000 Norwegians belonged to religious communities outside of the Norwegian Church (DNK), representing 11.7% of the population. That is 3,000 fewer than last year.

Among the churches that grew, the Roman Catholic Church in Norway is in a special position, with 152,000 members, 7,000 more than the previous year.

There are around 17,300 registered Buddhists in Norway, almost 8% fewer than in 2016. The number of Hindus is approximately 9,000, which is the same as last year.

Beside the Catholics, the Orthodox Church has seen the greatest growth in membership figures in recent years. The membership is currently around 22,000, more than double that in 2012.

Fewer Muslims in Oslo

Christian communities and churches outside the Norwegian Church have tended not to keep up with population growth.


©  NTB Scanpix / Norway Today