Secular Hungary

Secular Hungary

Facts and Figures

The 2011 census shows a sharp decline in religious affiliation (for a detailed discussion and ealrier census data click here) as compared to 2001: 39% of the population identify as Catholic (Greek Catholics included), 11,6% as Calvinists, 2% as Lutherans, 0,11% as Jewish, 1,7% as other, and 18,2 have no affiliation (atheists included). 27,2% of the population decided it was none of the states business to ask about their religion and refused to answer.

In 2004, a research organisation, Median, carried out a research on the question of religion. As it turned out, 90% of the population do not follow the teachings of one given church. 13% are affiliated with one of the bigger Christian churches, and more than half of the population is religious in their own way, but does not feel close to any particular denomination. 25% do not consider themselves religious in any way. Religious affiliation was not linked to political preferences.
28% of the population think that churches are entitled to influence private issues. Regarding the issue most fiercely opposed by the churches, only 6% of the population would agree with a total abortion ban, and even less with a ban of contraception. 12% think that churches should influence politics, and 50% object to churches influencing both private life and politics. The majority thinks that churches should be financed by their adherents.

Another indicator for assessing the strength of religious affiliation is income tax data. Since 2001, taxpayers may decide on the use of 2 times 1% of their income tax. One 1% may be offered to any civil organisation, the second one only to a church. Until 2012, any registered religious community was eligible after a formal registration with the tax office (as of 2010, 187 religious communities were registered), but the church law of 2011 limits eligibility to organisations granted church status (14 as of 1 January 2012; for 2013, 31 denominations have received a tax number necessary to receive 1% donations).  In spite of the media campaigns by churches and NGOs, taxpayers are not very keen to decide on the use of their taxes: usually, about one half of taxpayers dedicate their taxes (see relevant blog posts for more detailed data). In 2012, the government amended the relevant legislation, and churches receive 90% of the 1%, no matter if the public dedicates their money to them or not.

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