Orthodox Christianity is now the predominant religion in Estonia

According to the 2021 census, 58% of people residing in Estonia do not feel affiliated with any religion, and this figure has increased from 54% in 2011; An estimated 29% are affiliated with a religion and the most common religion in Estonia is Orthodox Christianity.

Information on religion was collected during the Population and Housing Census, which took place from late 2021 to early 2022. All persons aged 15 and over were asked about their religious affiliation.

Census results show that 29% of the Estonian population feel affiliated with a religion, while 58% do not and 13% are unwilling to answer this question.

“As a result, the proportion of people affiliated with a religion has remained stable, but the share of people with no religious affiliation has increased compared to previous censuses: from 54% in 2011 to 58% in 2021,” said Statistics Estonia, the country’s statistical agency. official statistics agency, said in a statement.

Orthodoxy and Lutheranism the most common denominations

“The increase is due to the fact that this time there were fewer people who did not want to answer the question about religion, so it can be assumed that they now had a more specific opinion,” said Terje Trasberg, leading analyst at Statistics Estonia. said.

The most common denominations are still Orthodoxy and Lutheranism. Orthodox Christians represent 16% and Lutherans 8% of the population. People with other religious affiliations make up 5% of the population.

Tõstamaa St Mary’s Lutheran Church.

While the proportion of people feeling affiliated with Orthodoxy has remained unchanged, the proportion of people with an affiliation with Lutheranism has seen a downward trend: in the 2000 census, 14% of people were affiliated with Lutheranism, whereas that in 2011 their share had fallen to 10%, and now it is only 8%, according to the census.

When it comes to different religions, Christianity is the most common in Estonia. Of those who feel affiliated with a religion, 93% are now Christians, up from 97% in 2011. An increase of 0.4 percentage points was recorded in the proportion of Muslims (0.1% in 2011 and 0.5 % in 2021).

Older people more religious than young people

Religious affiliation varies by gender, age, level of education and nationality, among other factors. Women are more likely than men to have a religious affiliation – 32% of women report having a particular religious affiliation and 55% are non-believers, while 25% of men are affiliated with a religion and 63% are non-believers.

While 43% of people aged 65 and over feel affiliated with a religion, only 14% of people aged 15-29 do.

In terms of level of education, the share of people with a religious affiliation is higher among those with higher education – 34%. Of those with a secondary education, 28% report being affiliated with a religion, and the corresponding figure for those with a basic education is 21%.

An Estonian Russian Old Believers village in Piirissaar. Old Believers have lived in Estonia on the coast of Lake Peipsi since the end of the 17th century. Photo by Ingvar Parnamäe.

Much more religious Slavs

Compared to other major ethnic groups living in this country, Estonians are the least religiously affiliated nationality – only 17% of them have a religious affiliation, while 71% are non-believers.

The percentage of religious affiliation is higher among Slavs – 65% of Belarusians, 56% of Ukrainians and 54% of Russians feel affiliated with a religion.

Half, or 50%, of people with Russian nationality feel affiliated with Orthodoxy, compared to 47% of Ukrainians and 58% of Belarusians.

The most common religion among Estonians, however, is Lutheranism – 11% feel affiliated with it, while 3% have an affiliation with Orthodoxy.

Read also: Estonians – the nation of neo-pagans?

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