Culture and recreation;Public sector

Church of Norway2018


About the statistics


Name and topic

Name: Church of Norway
Topic: Culture and recreation

Responsible division

Division for Education and Culture Statistics

Definitions of the main concepts and variables

The reporting unit is the parish. According to the Church of Norway Act the parish is the basic unit. 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 this Act a register should be provided over baptisms, confirmations, enrolments and resignations of Church membership, number of marriages and funerals performed by a vicar in the Church of Norway. Humbers 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 year) of a parent who is a member.


Standard classifications

Not relevant.

Administrative information

Regional level

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

Frequency and timeliness

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 in the beginning of May.

International reporting

Not relevant.


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



Background and purpose

As far as the statistical year 2004 the annual statistics of the parishes were collected at paper schemes by NSD - Norwegian Center for Research Data and published in the Ecclesiastical Database. As of the year 2005 the collection of data is electronic and is reported through the web-portal of SSB. The purpose of this statics is to give information about the activity in the parishes of the Church of Norway. The Church of Norway National Council  finance the statistics.

Users and applications

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.

Equal treatment of users

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.

Coherence with other statistics

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 theEmployment statistics for the Church.


Legal authority

Statistics Norway carries out this task on behalf of the Church Council with legal authority in the Act on the Church (kirkeloven) §9, the last section. Statistics Norway can make use of the collected data for official statistical purposes with legal basis in the Statistics Act.

EEA reference

Not relevant.



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 and sampling

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, scheme 28, "Annual statistics for the Church of Norway". Including the whole population (parish).

Collection of data, editing and estimations

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.

Seasonal adjustment

Not relevant.


Not relevant.

Comparability over time and space

At the time of a new way of reporting system in 2005, it was also worked out a new scheme with simplified questions compared to former schemes. 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.

Accuracy and reliability

Sources of error and uncertainty

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.

All the registered units are included in the statistics every year. The last years the number has been declining due to merging of the unitis. 


Not relevant