National Church Registration Could Dip Below 50% in a Few Years Skip to content

National Church Registration Could Dip Below 50% in a Few Years

By Andie Sophia Fontaine

Hallgrímskirkja lutheran church in Iceland
Photo: Photo: Golli. Hallgrímskirkja church in Reykjavík .

According to a new report from the National Registry, registration in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Iceland–also known as the National Church–has been on a steady decline for years. Should the trend continue, members of the church could be in the minority in just a few years’ time.

Many faiths

In 2019, 65.2% of all Icelanders on the Registry were registered in the National Church. Today, those numbers are at 55.9%. Should this trend continue at the same rate, within as little as five years registration in the national church will be in the minority.

That said, there are 61 legally recognised religious and philosophical organisations in Iceland. Outside of the national church, the largest numbers can be found amongst members of Fríkirkjan (17,712), which is an independent Lutheran church; Catholics (15,391), whose numbers have been steadily increasing; Ásatrúarfélagið (6,096), whose participants practice Norse neo-paganism; and Siðmennt (5,929), the humanist society, whose numbers have also been steadily increasing.

The rise of “undefined”

Naturally, not everyone in Iceland is registered in a legally recoginised faith or philosophical organisation. 21.8% of all those in the Registry are classified as “undefined”, up from 13% in 2019.

This being the case, the “undefined” are increasing at almost the same rate registrations in the National Church are decreasing. While it is unlikely that “undefined” will ever hold a majority position, their increasing numbers–as well as the increasing number of Catholics and registrations in Siðmennt–do appear to be having a significant effect on National Church registrations.

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