English title: Church Attendance and Religious Change in Italy, 1968–2010: A Multilevel Analysis of Pooled Datasets

Author(s): Cristiano Vezzoni - Ferruccio Biolcati-Rinaldi -

Language: English

Type: Journal article

Year: 2015


The debate over religious change in Italy is far from having reached unanimous conclusions: some scholars point to an unbroken trend toward a decrease of religiosity, while others highlight the signs of a religious revival, especially in younger generations. Besides difficulties with definitions, different conclusions are also due to a lack of information over a sufficiently long period of time. This problem is tackled here by developing a pooled analysis of repeated cross-section surveys that span over four decades. Using six different studies, the article analyzes the secularization trend in Italy on the basis of church attendance that, despite well-founded criticism, continues to be a crucial indicator of this phenomenon. The results, estimated using multilevel models, show that the trend of attendance at Mass in Italy has decreased since the 1960s until today, despite a period of stability at the turn of the 1980s and 1990s. The overall trend looks like a “recumbent S” trend (decrease up to the 1970s, stability in the 1980s, decrease afterwards). Thus, the claims of a religious revival in Italy are not supported by our results.

Volume: 54

Issue: 1

From page no: 100

To page no: 118

Refereed: Yes

DOI: 10.1111/JSSR.12173

Journal: Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion