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In Germany One in Four Belongs to the Protestant Church

Chart of the Month – October 2017

Approximately 22 million people in Germany belong to the Protestant Church. This corresponds to about 27% of the total population. This makes the Protestant Church about as large as the Catholic Church with slightly more than 23 million members (28%), so that the Christian churches unite more than half of the people in Germany.

Nevertheless, their total number of members has been falling in the last decades. One reason for this is the demographic change: “Among older people, the share of church members is very high, whereas the younger cohorts are quantitatively smaller and less commonly belong to a church”, explains Dr. Christian Fiedler of the BiB. Thus, the number of people without a denomination as well as the members of other religions have gradually increased.

Within Germany, the members of the Protestant Church are distributed differently. Their share is particularly high in Schleswig-Holstein and Lower Saxony. In the districts of Aurich and Wittmund in Lower Saxony, for example, more than 70% of the population belong to the Protestant Church. The share is also above average in parts of Hesse and Rhineland-Palatinate as well as in a region ranging from northern Bavaria towards Baden. On the other hand, the Protestant Church has the lowest distribution in large parts of Bavaria. In the administrative district of Freyung-Grafenau, for example, only one in every 25 citizens belongs to it. Likewise, the far west and the east of Germany show a comparatively small share of people belonging to the Protestant Church.

The picture shows a map which illustrates the Membership of the Protestant Church in relation to the total population Membership of the Protestant Church in relation to the total population

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© Federal Institute for Population Research - 2017