Church of Norway

Updated: 15 June 2021

Next update: 22 June 2022

Members in Church of Norway

Selected tables and figures from this statistics

About the statistics

The annual church statistics give a summary of the Church of Norway activity in parishes/municipalities. These statistics are published at a bishopric level. The statistics give information about church rituals such as baptisms, confirmations, weddings, burials and church service attendance.

The reporting unit is the parish. According to the Act on religious communities and life stance communities, the parish is the basic unit of the Church of Norway. In every parish there should be a parochial church council. In municipalities with more than one parish there should be a joint parish council. According to the Act on religious communities and life stance communities, a register should be provided over baptisms, confirmations, enrolments and resignations of Church membership, number of marriages and funerals performed by the Church of Norway. The number of baptized from 2016 and onward shows total number of baptized. The number cannot be compared to previous year’s numbers because they showed performed acts of baptize. Marriages only include ecclesiastical marriages performed in Norway. For a total number of marriages, look to Population statistics. Members in the Church of Norway include members as well as not baptized childeren (until 18 years old) of a parent who is a member. Automatic belongship was terminated with the Act on religious communities and life stance communities of 1 January 2021.

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Name: Church of Norway

Topic: Culture and recreation

22 June 2022

Division for Education and Culture Statistics

The figures are published on both national and regional level (municipality), as well as the level of dioceses.

KOSTRA Church key figures are published annually on the municipal level on the 15th March (unrevised figures) and 15th of June (revised figures). At the diosece level the statistics are published at the end of June.

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Microdata are stored in accordance with the instruction of The Data Inspectorate.

From 1998 up to and including the statistical year 2004 the annual statistics of the parishes were collected at paper forms by Norwegian Center for Research Data (NSD) and published in the Ecclesiastical Database. Older history and statistics can be found on the Church of Norway's website, statistics from 1950 "Kirken i tall" (no).

As of the year 2005 the collection of data is electronic and is reported through the web-portal of SSB. The purpose of this statistic is to give information about the activity in the parishes of the Church of Norway. The Church of Norway National Council finances the statistics.

Important users of the church statistics is the Ministry of Culture (KUD), Church of Norway National Council, dioceses, the joint parish councils, other ecclesiastical organisations related to Dnk, as well as for researchers and media. This statistics is also relevant in connection to other statistics in SSB. For instance, membership in Religious and life stance communities outside the Church of Norway, Church accounts statistics and Register-based Employment Statistics for the Church of Norway.

No external users have access to the statistics and analyses before they are published and accessible simultaneously for all users on ssb.no at 08 am. Prior to this, a minimum of three months' advance notice is given in the Statistics Release Calendar. This is one of Statistics Norway’s key principles for ensuring that all users are treated equally.

Church statistics are also relevant in connection with other statistics in Statistics Norway. Such as the statistics for Religious and life stance communities, Church account statistics for the joint parish councils and the Employment statistics.

Statistics Norway carries out this task on behalf of the Church Council with legal authority based on the regulation of church organization for Church of Norway § 12 last section with legal basis from the Act on religious communities and life stance communities (trossamfunnsloven) § 12 second section. Statistics Norway can make use of the collected data for official statistical purposes with legal basis in the Statistics Act (statistikkloven), Act of 21 June 2019 No. 32 relating to official statistics and Statistics Norway § 10.

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This statistics includes all geographical parishes in the Church of Norway, not included Svalbard. The statistics do not include church affairs aboard or at institutions as hosptital and prisons, the church for the deaf, army chaplains and others having their own registers. Every parochial church council in cooperation with the vicar is responsible for reporting the data. The reporting unit is the parishes. The annual statistics include information on the number of baptisms, confirmations, enrolments and resignations of Church membership, number of services, congregation numbers, communicant numbers, collection takings, activities for children and teenagers, diaconal and ecumenical work in the parishes, cultural work etc. The main point of the statistics is the activity that the vicars, the parochial church council and the employed are responsible to.

Data sources: KOSTRA Church uses data from several sources, among other from the municipality accounts, the membership register of the Church of Norway, several registers for employment figures and Statistics Norway population statistics. The annual statistics are collected via KOSTRA, form 28, "Annual statistics for the Church of Norway".

Sampling: Including the whole population (all parishes). The statistic includes the whole population of parishes registered in the relevant year. Every year there are fewer parishes due to merging of already existing parishes.

Data is collected electronically once every year from each parish, and the information should be available for Statistics Norway by 20th January. The electronic forms contain built-in consistency checks and logical tests. After arrival data are checked automatically and edited manually. The forms are also checked for doublets.

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At the time of a new way of reporting system in 2005, it was also worked out a new form with simplified questions compared to former forms. This change complicates comparisons with former years on municipality level, but at national level the continuity is good. The most important questions are continued pursued over the years.

The Church of Norway adopted a new digital tool to enroll and resign in 2016. This led to high figures for resigned in 2016.

Errors can occur when the form is filled out manually. Most errors are discoverd by revising controls and will be corrected. The possibility of errors by measuring in the parishes can also happen. Most of the information from the church book, the daily register etc. will be correct. Some errors may still occur.

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