Culture and recreation;Immigration and immigrants

Religious communities and life stance communities1 January 2004


About the statistics


Name and topic

Name: Religious communities and life stance communities
Topic: Culture and recreation

Next release

Responsible division

Division for Education and Culture Statistics

Definitions of the main concepts and variables

Religious community: Approved religious community according to act of 13 June 1969.

Life stance community: Approved life stance community according to act of 12 June 1981.

Standard classifications

Classifications for this statistics are based on the application form from the communities. Statistics Norway has been responsible for the categorization of communities at the organizational level, partly based on the new application form as well as the old form. Numeric codes are made as a help to IT-work.


Administrative information

Regional level

National and county level

Frequency and timeliness

Yearly except for 2005

International reporting



All statistics on religious and life stance communities in Statistics Norway is stored in a responsible and standardized manner in consultation with Datatilsynet


Background and purpose

The main purpose of these statistics is to show how many people are members of religious and life stance communities outside the Church of Norway. Statistics on religious and life stance outside the Church of Norway are based on reports from county governors for communities applying for state subsidies. The statistics have been published in SSB since 1972. Before 1972 the statistics were based on data from the population consensus.

Users and applications

Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Government Administration, Reform and Church Affairs, other government services, research institutions, religious and life stance communities, media, students and others interested in the subject.


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 inthe Statistics Release Calendar. This is one of Statistics Norway’s key principles for ensuring that all users are treated equally.

Coherence with other statistics

These statistics can be seen in connection with statistics on Church of Norway.

Legal authority

This statistic encompasses religious communities and life stance communities by the Act on religious communities and life stance communities (trossamfunnsloven), in addition to the regulation on registration and grants for religious communities and life stance communities (trussamfunnsforskrifta). The data is collected with legal basis in the Statistics Act (statistikkloven), Act of 21 June 2019 No. 32 relating to official statistics and Statistics Norway § 10.

EEA reference




All religious and life stance communities that have been approved by the county governors and which receive state subsidies are represented in the statistics. The statistical unit is a community. According to the law all religious and life stance communities outside the Church of Norway have the same right to apply for state subsidy, but some communities do not make use of this right. The statistics do not include information on the number of congregations and do not distinguish between registered and unregistered communities. Communities not applying for subsidy one year are not represented in the statistics for that year.

In a registered community the applications has to contain certain information and the priest or the principal has tasks decreed by law. As concerns the unregistered communities less information is required and the priest cannot carry out tasks decreed by law.

Data sources and sampling

Data source for this statistics is electronic data from the Brønnøysund Register Centre (BRC). The data is based on applying scheme with assignment of the members. As of 2005 the assignments were sent to BRC for check. After the yearly check is carried out the data file is electronically exported Statistics Norway. The statistics includes all the communities applying for subsidies each year.


Collection of data, editing and estimations

The data file is sent electronically from Brønnøysund Register Centre to Statistics Norway when they have completed the necessary control of the member lists received from the county governors.

BRC is responsible for the control on behalf of the Ministry of Culture. The control of the member lists is mainly checking up on double membership (at the individual level) between all religious and life stance communities and the Church of Norway (Dnk) and the National register. BRC has executed the necessary controls of the business number and personal identification number, and thus eliminates duplicates. The data file that Statistics Norway receives contains information on the organizational level per municipality. Data is compared with data the year before. Figures that differ too much from previous year will be checked particularly.

Statistics on religious and life stance communities is a summary statistic. Apart from summary of reported figures, no special analysis is made.

Seasonal adjustment

Not relevant


The data can be defined as sensitive and figures will be replaced with dots if there are below three observations in a cell.

Comparability over time and space

Statistics Norway has produced official statistics on members of religious and life stance communities since 1971 based on questionnaires that county governors receive in connection with the awarding of state grants. Members are considered those who have affiliation with a church, i.e. children below 16 years, when they are not enrolled in the Church of Norway. The distribution by county is where congregations are registered, and do not always match county of residence to each member. Before 1970 SSB published tables on religion based on consensus data.

From 2005 the number of members is based on a new registration system. Comparison of tables with previous years must bee done with care. One should also be careful not to make comparisons between the 2005-2006-2007 when clearing work with duplicates had special focus those years. The distribution by county is from 2006 based on county of residence to members.


Accuracy and reliability

Sources of error and uncertainty

The statistics for the religious and life stance communities comprises only communities of members that has requested for and received state subsidies for each year. A source of error can be that some communities forget to apply or because of some other reasons are not represented in the statistics. In 2012 two relatively large communities was not represented in the statistics, but are represented in the statistics per 1.1.2013

As of 2005 SSB has received the electronic data from Brønnøysund Register Centre. SSB consider the quality to have been considerable improved after the duplicate check.



Not relevant