Church of Norway
Updated: 15 June 2023
Modified: 16 Jun 2023, 08:00:00
Next update: 15 March 2024
|Change last 3 years
|Members of the Church of Norway2
|3 500 438
|Members as a percentage of the population
|Baptized as a percentage of births
|Confirmed as a percentage of persons 15-years old
|Church burials as a percentage of all deaths
|Participitations in church services, total
|4 199 104
|-1 049 965
|Participants per church service
|1Baptized from 2016 and onward shows the total number of baptized. The number cannot be compared to previous year's numbers because they showed performed acts of baptize.
|2Up to and including 2020 the variable included members of the Church of Norway as well as not baptized child (until 18 year) of a parent who is a member. From 2021 the variable only includes members of the Church of Norway.
|The number of members of the Church of Norway and the number of baptized were corrected 16 June 2023.
About the statistics
The annual church statistics give a summary of the Church of Norway activity in parishes/municipalities. These statistics are published at by diocese and municipality. The statistics give information about church rituals such as baptisms, confirmations, weddings, burials and church service attendance.
Members and Affiliates
Until 2020, the variable included both members and affiliates of the Church of Norway. Starting from 2021 the variable only includes members of the Church of Norway.
Baptized includes both infant and adult baptisms. Baptism figures from 2016 onwards show the total number of baptisms. Therefore, the number cannot be compared with previous years' indicators, as they reflected performed baptismal acts.
Includes only church weddings performed by the Church of Norway.
Funerals are a general term for the process that takes place when the deceased is to be buried. A funeral can take place through cremation or coffin burial.
Name: Church of Norway
Topic: Culture and recreation
Division for Education and Culture Statistics
The lowest publishing level at Statistics Norway is municipality. Data is also published for counties, KOSTRA groups, and dioceses.
The statistics are published annually and apply to the previous year.
Publication at the municipality, county, and KOSTRA group levels in connection with KOSTRA publication occurs with preliminary figures on March 15 and final figures on June 15.
Publication at the diocese level takes place on June 15.
Collected and revised data are stored securely by Statistics Norway in compliance with applicable legislation on data processing.
Statistics Norway can grant access to the source data (de-identified or anonymised microdata) on which the statistics are based, for researchers and public authorities for the purposes of preparing statistical results and analyses. Access can be granted upon application and subject to conditions. Refer to the details about this at Access to data from Statistics Norway.
The purpose of the statistics is to provide information about the activities in the parishes of the Church of Norway. The Church of Norway National Council is the principal and finances the statistics.
From 1998 up to and including the statistical year 2004 the annual statistics were collected on paper forms by Norwegian Center for Research Data and published in the Ecclesiastical Database. Church statistics in the Church Database are published at the parish level.
Starting from the statistical year 2005, reporting of the Annual Statistics for the Church of Norway is done electronically using the KOSTRA form to Statistics Norway.
Important users of the church statistics is the Ministry of Culture, Church of Norway National Council, other organisations related to the Church of Norway, as well as for researchers and media.
Church statistics are also relevant in connection with other statistics in Statistics Norway. Such as the statistics for Religious communities and life stance communities, Church account statistics for the joint parish councils and the Employment statistics.
The statistics are developed, produced and disseminated pursuant to Act no. 32 of 21 June 2019 relating to official statistics and Statistics Norway (the Statistics Act).
The statistics are part of the national program for official statistics 2024–2027, main area Culture and Leisure, sub-area Religion and Beliefs.
Law of April 24, 2020, No. 31 on religious and belief communities (Religious Communities Act).
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.
The reporting unit for the statistics is the parishes. The observation unit is also the parishes. The analysis unit is the municipality, county, KOSTRA group, and diocese.
Data are primarily collected through the KOSTRA form 28, Annual Statistics for the Church of Norway. The statistics also utilize data from the Business and Enterprise Register, Municipal Accounts, Religious and Belief Communities outside the Church of Norway, and the membership register of the Church of Norway. Data from the Church of Norway's membership register are collected at the municipal level and do not contain personally sensitive information.
Complete count. The statistics are a census among all geographic parishes registered in the Business and Enterprise Register in the relevant reporting year.
In recent years, there has been a slight decrease in the number of units in the statistics. The reason for the reduction in units in the statistics is due to parish mergers, partly permanent mergers, and partly experimental arrangements. All parishes have reported in recent years.
Electronic forms are submitted to Statistics Norway from each parish. The reporting period begins in early January, and the reporting deadline is January 20 or the first working day after this date. Corrections to submitted data and any late submissions can occur until the publication of preliminary figures (March 15) and final figures (June 15).
Editing is defined here as checking, examining and amending data.
The electronic forms have several built-in checks during registration, including logical checks and checks against the previous year's reporting. After Statistics Norway receives the form, the information is verified and edited at Statistics Norway before compilation and publication.
The statistics on the Church of Norway are a summary complete count of the parishes under the Church of Norway. Beyond summarizing the reports and ensuring that all parishes are included in the calculations, no specific analyses are conducted.
Employees of Statistics Norway have a duty of confidentiality.
Statistics Norway does not publish figures if there is a risk of the respondent’s contribution being identified. This means that, as a general rule, figures are not published if fewer than three units form the basis of a cell in a table or if the contribution of one or two respondents constitutes a very large part of the cell total.
Statistics Norway can make exceptions to the general rule if deemed necessary to meet the requirements of the EEA agreement, if the respondent is a public authority, if the respondent has consented to this, or when the information disclosed is openly accessible to the public.
More information can be found on Statistics Norway’s website under Methods in official statistics, in the ‘Confidentiality’ section.
During the transition of reporting to Statistics Norway in 2005, a new form was developed. The new form includes developments and simplifications of question formulations, which may result in some differences compared to previously recorded statistics. For instance, in the new form, it is generally expected that religious ceremonies should be registered only in the parish where the ceremony took place. This may have some impact at the municipal level, but at the national level, there will be better continuity. Some information from the old form has been omitted, and new information has been added. The most important details in the form have been retained to ensure continuity from the previous statistics.
The Church of Norway adopted a new digital tool for membership registration and withdrawal in 2016. This led to high numbers of withdrawals in 2016.
The affiliation arrangement was discontinued with the introduction of the Law of April 24, 2020, No. 31 on religious and belief communities (Religious Communities Act). Therefore, affiliated individuals are not considered in the membership figures from the 2021 data onwards, which may affect the comparability of the statistics over time.
There is a low risk of over- or under-coverage. The Joint parish councils, accounts, and the Church of Norway National Council assist in creating and quality-checking the population under investigation.
Measurement and Processing Errors
There is some risk of measurement errors. Some questions in the form that parishes fill out may have ambiguities and can be interpreted differently between units. Continuous efforts are made to improve the form and reduce the likelihood of measurement errors. The form is developed in collaboration with the Church Council and the rest of the KOSTRA working group for churches and cemeteries (NO).
There is a low risk of processing errors because we receive the data electronically for each unit. Additionally, parishes can be contacted to verify the submitted data.
For data from the Church of Norway's membership register, the data is considered to be of good quality.
There is a risk of dropout errors as sometimes some parishes do not submit responses. Nevertheless, the dropout error is low, as units that have not submitted responses are contacted and asked to submit. There is very little partial dropout, as most questions in the form are mandatory to answer before the unit has the opportunity to submit. Dropout can be considered as a sampling error.
Because this is a complete count of all parishes under the Church of Norway, dropout errors can be considered as sampling errors.
A revision is a planned change to figures that have already been published, for example when releasing final figures as a follow-up to published preliminary figures. See also Statistics Norway’s principles for revisions.