English title: The End of Secularization in Europe?: A Socio-Demographic Perspective

Author(s): Eric Kaufmann - Anne Goujon - Vegard Skirbekk -

Language: English

Type: Journal article

Year: 2012

Abstract

Much of the current debate over secularization in Europe focuses only on the direction of religious change and pays exclusive attention to social causes. Scholars have been less attentive to shifts in the rate of religious decline and to the role of demography—notably fertility and immigration. This article addresses both phenomena. It uses data from the European Values Surveys and European Social Survey for the period 1981–2008 to establish basic trends in religious attendance and belief across the 10 countries that have been consistently surveyed. These show that religious decline is mainly occurring in Catholic European countries and has effectively ceased among post-1945 birth cohorts in six Northwestern European societies where secularization began early. It also provides a cohort-component projection of religious affiliation for two European countries using fertility, migration, switching, and age and sex-structure parameters derived from census and immigration data. These suggest that Western Europe may be more religious at the end of our century than at its beginning.

Volume: 73

Issue: 1

From page no: 69

To page no: 91

Refereed: Yes

DOI: 10.1093/SOCREL/SRR033

Journal: Sociology of religion