English title: Is Religious Attendance Bottoming Out? An Examination of Current Trends Across Europe

Author(s): Marion Burkimsher -

Language: English

Type: Journal article

Year: 2014


The purpose of this research note is to summarize the available data on trends in religious attendance across 24 European countries to determine whether a base level has been reached in some countries. We focus on the changes observed in the period 1990–2012. After critically assessing the data quality of the recent European Social Survey (ESS) and European Values Study (EVS), we present four different methods of assessing current trends. First, we assess intercohort differentials, an indicator previously used extensively. We then look at trends in young people’s rates of attendance, followed by trends of the postwar cohorts born in 1950–1981. We proceed to an appraisal of individual life-course variations by looking at attendance as a child and young adult. A compilation of these indicators shows that they often do not fully agree on whether there is growth, decline, or stability. To generalize, the high-attending Catholic countries are more likely to exhibit religious decline, whilst a few ex-communist countries are seeing sustained growth. The most secular countries seem to be generally stabilizing in the 5–20 percent range for attendance rates of the postwar generations.

Volume: 53

Issue: 2

From page no: 432

To page no: 445

Refereed: Yes

DOI: 10.1111/JSSR.12111

Journal: Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion

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