From Iceland — Church Registration Drops

Church Registration Drops

Published October 13, 2009

Nearly one-fifth of Icelanders are not registered with the national church, according to the latest figures from Statistics Iceland.
In 1990, 92.6% of all Icelanders were registered with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Iceland, the national church. Today, that figure is at 79.1%. 18% are registered with other faiths, while 2.9% are not registered with any religion. As registration in the national church has dropped, the number of official religions in Iceland has climbed – in 1990, the country had 13 registered religious groups, whereas in 2000 that number increased to 24, and is at 31 today, with two new groups registering in the past month alone.
Hjalti Zóphaníasson, an official from the Ministry of Justice (which oversees church matters in Iceland), told Vísir that part of the trend was due to immigrants of other faiths moving into Iceland, as Icelanders have moved out of the country. At the same time, he also credited (or blamed) the atheist organization Vantrú with the trend, as they have offered, as a free service, to help others change their official church registration to another faith or no faith at all. Vésteinn Valgarðsson of Vantrú told reporters that the organization has helped 980 people change their official registration over the past four years.
By default, all Icelanders are registered with the national church. In order to change this, government paperwork must be filled out and filed with the Ministry of Justice.

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