Despite Norway experiencing a great decline in religiosity, religion remains an important cultural aspect to the country. Christianity is the predominant religion constituting about 84.70% of the population followed by Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, and other religions. Irreligion has continued to become a trend among Norwegians accounting for 10.10% of the population. The 1814 Constitution of Norway did not grant religious freedom clearly stating that Jesuits and Jews were not allowed to enter Norway. Church attendance and adhering to the Evangelical Lutheran Christianity was a must. However, in 1964 the Constitution in Norway was fully amended allowing for the freedom of religion except the Norwegian royal family whom the Constitution requires to be Lutherans.
Christianity In Norway
Christianity is the largest religion in Norway having a membership of 4,133,360 people practicing the religion which is 84.70% of the total population. Historically, Norway is has been known as a Christian country dating its conversion roots back to 1000 AD. By 2013, the vast majority of the population are members of the Church of Norway and the rest belonged to the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Norway. In history, the country sent the most missionaries compared to other nations, but as of the 1960s, this trend significantly changed. About 12% of the populating in Norway attended church services each month in 2004.
Unaffiliated Population Of Norway
In Norway, the citizens are granted the right to chose not to be affiliated with any religion or life stance. An estimated 10.10% of the population or 492,880 people in the country do not conform to any official religion or philosophical communities. However actual religious practices and beliefs are not necessarily reflected by an individual belonging to an official religion. According to a survey conducted in 2005 by Gallup International in 65 countries, it indicated that in Western Europe, Norway was the least religious country with 45% of the population not completely sure what they believe in, 29% believing in a deity or church and 26% being atheists.
Muslim Immigrants In Norway
Islam is the second largest religion in Norway after Christianity and its various denominations. Approximately 180,560 people in Norway practice Islam (which is equivalent to 3.70% of the population). According to 2013 government statistics the number if Muslims in Norway had increased from the previous year, and 55% of the Muslim population lived in the Akershus and Oslo counties. The majority of Muslims in the country are believed to have an immigrant background mostly of the Pakistani descent. Islam in Norway can be traced back to the 1260s which marked the late arrivals of embassies from the Muslim sultan of Tunis while their increase in numbers was as a result of immigration from Muslim countries into Norway.
Buddhism In Norway
Buddhism in Norway can trace its beginnings in the early 1970s after immigration from countries which had large numbers of Buddhist populations such as Vietnam. Two Buddhist groups established The Buddhist Federation in 1979 as a religious society in Norway to preserve the religion. At present 29,280 people an equivalent of 0.60% of the country's population practice Buddhism.
Hinduism In Norway
Most of the Hindus in Norway are of South Asian descent with about 75% of them being Tamil Hindus who hail from Sri Lanka. At present, the Hindu community in Norway account for 24,400 individuals equivalent to 0.50% of the total population.
Other religions in Norway include the Baha'i Faith, Judaism, Sikhism, Humanism, and life stances among others. Members belonging to the ‘other religions' category accounts for 0.20% of the country's total population which is equivalent to 9,760 individuals.