The religiously unaffiliated represent the second-largest faith group in Denmark, an analysis from the Pew Research Center revealed on Monday.
The position of the group referred to as the “nones” in Denmark mirrors the same trend in most of Europe, the Americans and several countries in sub-Saharan Africa. The religiously unaffiliated “nones” consist of atheists and agnostics, as well as those who don’t identify with one particular faith.
“Religiously unaffiliated people – sometimes called the 'nones' – account for 16 percent of the world’s population, and they make up the largest 'religious group' in seven countries and territories. Perhaps more remarkably, they also are the second-largest group in roughly half (48 percent) of the world’s nations,” Pew demographer Conrad Hackett wrote.
Pew’s analysis was based on its ‘The Future of World Religions’ report from April, which projected the world’s religious make-up through to 2050. The report found that in 2010, the religiously-unaffiliated was far and away Denmark’s second largest faith group, with 650,000 Danes saying that they do not associate with a religion. The largest group was those identifying as Christians at 4.63 million and in a distant third place were Muslims, at 230,000 in 2010.
When those figures are projected through to 2050, however, Denmark sticks out from its neighbours in that the number of “nones” is actually expected to fall slightly, from 650,000 in 2010 to 640,000 in 2050. Sweden, by comparison, will see its religiously-unaffiliated numbers increase by 41 percent in the same time period while Norway’s will jump by a whopping 73 percent.
In fact, Denmark is nearly alone among Western European countries, where the “nones” are almost uniformly expected to grow in the next 35 years. Only Greece sees a similar dip.
The Pew findings mirror a global study from polling firm WIN/Gallup International in April that found that 42 percent of Danes identify themselves as “a religious person”, putting the country far below the global average of 63 percent but significantly above neighbouring Germany, where just 34 percent identify as religious, and Sweden, where only 19 percent say they are religious.
While Denmark’s Christians and “nones” are projected to dip by 2050, the country's Muslim population is expected to double over the same period, from 230,000 in 2010 to 500,000 in 2050. Even then however, Islam will remain a distant third to Christians and the unaffiliated. Muslims’ total representation among the Danish population, on the other hand, is projected to double from four percent in 2010 to 8.5 percent in 2050.